BANGOR, Maine — In a unanimous vote on November 23, the United Way of Eastern Maine Board of Directors named Shirar Wilder Patterson as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer and President. Patterson will take the helm starting on January 1, 2017 following the retirement of longtime president and CEO, John Kuropchak who will retire on December 31, 2016 after a 35-year career in health and human services. Patterson has served United Way as the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since August 2015. Before becoming COO, Patterson was the Vice President of Community Impact at United Way and has been either a staff member or volunteer for eleven of the past 13 years.
Patterson is the first female to hold the top job at United Way of Eastern Maine and has a lengthy history of accomplishment since joining United Way first in 2003 and then again in 2012. She started first as a Community Impact Associate, then later sat on the Board of Directors, as well as the campaign cabinet, and returned as the Vice President of Community Impact. She was then promoted to Senior VP and COO in 2015.
“Shirar has been a rock for the staff and the Board for the past few years. She is deeply engaged with our member agencies and familiar with the community” says United Way Board Chair Joe Pratt, President, Bar Harbor Trust Services. “We conducted a nationwide search for a new CEO and we were thrilled that Shirar rose to the top. Her passion for the UW mission and our community will serve us well for years to come.”
“I was extremely pleased to learn from our board chair, Joe Pratt, that Shirar Patterson has been chosen as the next President and CEO of the United Way of Eastern Maine,” says retiring President and CEO John Kuropchak. “I have worked closely with Shirar for the past five years in her capacity as Vice President of Community Impact and later as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. During that time, she impressed me with her intelligence, good judgement and interpersonal skills. I know that the she will do a great job in her new role and carry on the work of the United Way in our region.”
“I am honored to have been selected as the next President and CEO of United Way of Eastern Maine. I see United Way as a key leader in making Eastern Maine a great place for everyone to live, work and raise our families,” says Patterson. “I look forward to continuing our great work with community partners, volunteers, and staff while expanding our role as a critical community convener, mobilizing partners to expand opportunities for people to succeed. I am committed to boldly leading United Way as we increase our capacity to help the community, provide a greater return for every dollar and volunteer hour invested and collaborate with new and existing partners to identify long term goals and solutions that address the root causes of our community’s most pressing issues.”
Patterson brings an extensive background of corporate, nonprofit and community involvement to her role. On top of her work with United Way of Eastern Maine both as a volunteer, board and staff member, she has a long history of bringing people and communities together. She has worked as a community coordinator at the University of Maine, a program director at the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce and a business and economic development officer/downtown coordinator for the City of Bangor.
A committed community advocate, Patterson has served in leadership roles for numerous organizations in Maine throughout her career. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at the Maine Association of Nonprofits, a statewide organization committed to being the voice of Maine’s nonprofit sector and the state’s comprehensive resource for the tools, knowledge and connections nonprofits need to be effective and well-run. She has also served on the board of directors for the Bangor Humane Society, University of Maine Alumni Association, United Way of Eastern Maine and the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau. She has been a member of the steering committees of Fusion: Bangor and the Bangor Region Leadership Institute and has volunteered with United Way as a member of the campaign cabinet and co-chair of the Leaders’ Circle committee.
Patterson is a graduate of the University of Maine earning a Bachelor’s degree in Public Management and a Master’s degree in Public Administration. She was a member of the Bangor Region Leadership Institute’s Class of 2006, is a Service Enterprise Certified Trainer and recently participated in United Way Worldwide’s Advance Leader’s Program as one of 12 United Way leaders selected nationally to participate in a 10-month intensive training program. Patterson has also been named by Maine Today Media to the 40 under Forty list and was president of All Maine Women, Pi Sigma Alpha and Pi Alpha Alpha during her time at the University of Maine.
Since 1937, the United Way of Eastern Maine (UWEM) has been mobilizing the caring power of people and communities throughout Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo and Washington counties to provide essential services and identify solutions, aimed at the root causes of the community’s most pressing needs, to create lasting change. UWEM is focused on improving Education, Income and Health for all; helping tens of thousands of people access to basic services in times of crisis while engaging hundreds of individuals and organizations to improve our communities and make them stronger.
In 2014-2015, UWEM and its partners provided direct support to over 50,000 individuals, collected over 105,000 pounds of food and provided free tax preparation to 4,700 individuals generating over $4.4 million in tax returns to the local economy. United Way of Eastern Maine is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization based in Bangor, ME. For more information on UWEM and our work visit www.unitewayem.org or call us at (207) 941-2800.