Pilon School of Business
Degree: Business Certificate
Year of graduation: 2003
One Thursday morning not long after she started as the CEO United Way of Milton, Kate Williamson helped unload a truck of fresh food for the Halton charity, Food for Life. Many of her fellow volunteers were recipients of the donated food provided by the United Way-supported program. “It was a pivotal moment for me. I looked just like everyone else. That’s when it struck home once again that the need in our community knows no boundaries.”
It is this broad reach – a hallmark of the United Way - that helps fuel her motivation, says Kate. The agency supports programs that provide not only basic needs like food and shelter, but other community-building services. “What we do affects the average, everyday family, including mine. As a new mother looking to connect with other new parents, I used the services of the Milton Community Resource Centre, which the United Way also supports.”
In fact, Kate spent five years as a Community Advisor for the Resource Centre earlier in her career. She soon realized the advantage of a business background and enrolled at Sheridan, attending during the evening. (Kate also holds a BA in Social Development Studies from the University of Waterloo). After a three-year stint as Campaign Manager for the Oakville United Way, Kate took on her current role in 2011.
Most of Kate’s time at the Milton United Way has been spent building relationships and telling stories, she says. “Sharing life stories about United Way’s end users is the best way to make our voice heard among the many demands for our donor dollars.”
Connecting with a younger demographic is also a priority for the United Way, adds Kate, particularly in fast-growing Milton where the average age of residents is 34. “It’s not about how much you give. You can give your time. Volunteering helps you decide what career direction you want to take and can lead to professional opportunities.”
Sheridan’s annual United Way Campaign is an ideal way for young people to give back, and a welcome component of the charity’s efforts in the Halton and Peel regions.