New Presidents Forum


The United Way New Presidents Forum, January 9-11, 2018, is an annual event designed specifically for all new United Way executives. A core component of the onboarding process, the New Presidents Forum serves as a welcome to new United Way CEOs and Executive Directors and a strategic overview of our priorities and direction.. The Forum is an opportunity to network with peers, to gain a better understanding of the United Way business model and to learn how to execute on it. CEOs will spend the time meeting United Way Worldwide leaders, learning from prominent network leaders and sharing best practices, with specific insight into the latest resources and opportunities available. In addition, our new leaders will gain a deeper understanding of the network-wide strategy and our horizontal partnership model. Additionally, CEOs will learn about key leadership competencies required for success in the United Way organization.

After the Forum, all new Presidents, CEOs and Executive Directors will understand:

  • United Way’s strategic direction
  • How to execute on the United Way Business Model, with a focus on Community Impact, Resource Development and Marketing
  • Elements of leadership needed to drive and change results, including the Board resources available

The United Way New Presidents Forum is open to all new United Way CEOs hired in 2017 – and those in 2016 that were unable to attend previously. While the content is designed specifically for new United Way CEOs, we welcome your Board members.


The detailed program will be available this fall. The general schedule below is meant to assist with your travel planning. Times and activities are subject to change.


  • 7:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: VISIT TO CAPITOL HILL
  • 12:00 - 12:50 p.m.: LUNCH
  • 1:00 - 5:15 p.m.: LEARNING SESSIONS


  • 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.: LEARNING SESSIONS
  • 12:30 - 1:15 p.m.: LUNCH
  • 1:15 - 5:15 p.m.: LEARNING SESSIONS
  • 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.: WELCOME DINNER


  • 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.: LEARNING SESSIONS
  • 12:00 - 12:45 p.m.: LUNCH
  • 12:45 - 3:00 p.m.: LEARNING SESSIONS

NOTE: Plan to schedule arrivals for Monday, January 8 and departures for Thursday, January 11 after 3:00 p.m. ET.


As new CEOs (or as new Board members), your 2016 flex credits may be used towards the forum.

The registration fee for the United Way New Presidents Forum is:

Metro 1-4: $595.00 before December 8, 2017 OR $695.00 after December 16, 2017

Metro 5-11: $395.00 before December 8, 2017 OR $495.00 after December 16, 2017

State Organizations: $395.00 before December 8, 2017 OR $495.00 after December 16, 2017

International Network: $395.00 before December 8, 2017 OR $495.00 after December 16, 2017

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Click here to register.

TROUBLE REGISTERING? Try using a different web browser.


The participant list will be available this fall.


The United Way New Presidents Forum will be held at United Way Worldwide’s Mary M. Gates Learning Center located at 701 N. Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314.

Click here to view a list of local restaurants.


Tuesday, January 9 will kick-off with a half day trip to Capitol Hill. Attendees will have the chance to speak with their community's Representative and talk about the local issues affecting their region. This is a unique opportunity to lend your voice and advocate with your local Representative on your community's most pressing concerns. Click here for Capitol Hill Day resources.

CAPITOL HILL DAY EXPERIENCE (WEBINAR) POWERPOINT: Check back for more information on preparing for Capitol Hill Day.


We are thrilled to announce George H. Bell, President and CEO of Capital Area United Way (Baton Rouge), and Shawn Shanahan, Executive Director of Fremont Area United Way as our co-hosts for the 2018 program.

George H. Bell
President and CEO of Capital Area United Way (Baton Rouge)
George Bell is the current President & CEO of Capital Area United Way. He is a recently retired health care executive with 30 years of progressive management experience in physician practice management, business development, and hospital administration. He has worked for Baton Rouge General from 1999 until December 2015, where he served in a number of executive level positions, most recently as Administrator, Baton Rouge General – Mid City. Prior to that, he served as Sr. Vice-President, Physician and Community Relations, including BRG’s Arts in Medicine Program; Vice-President of Physician Relations; and President of Baton Rouge General Physicians, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of General Health System which he grew from 14 physicians to 85+ physicians over 12 years. A native of Thibodaux, LA, George is a 1981 Hall of Fame graduate of Nicholls State University with a B.A. degree in Political Science. He also attended The Ohio State University, where he studied graduate level courses in Public Policy and Management, and Wharton School of Business, Health Care CEO Talent Development Course. He recently became a Certified Green Belt in Lean Six Sigma in December 2015.

George has been active in the Baton Rouge community, having been presented the Camelot College Community Award of Excellence in 2015, and the 2016 Medical Professional of the Year Award by Mu Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority. He currently serves or has served on a variety of boards, including: Salvation Army Board of Advisors; Mid City Redevelopment Alliance; Center for Planning Excellence (CPEX); Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge; BR Transit Coalition; Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra; Urban Congress; Mid City Merchants; and Kid’s Orchestra. In addition to his professional calling, George maintains his lifelong passion for music, playing the trumpet regularly as a member of the music ministry at his church and occasionally performs and volunteers in local schools to promote and support music education. He has also produced and performed over 12 concerts at the Manship Theatre with his George Bell and Friends ensemble.

Shawn Shanahan
Executive Director, Fremont Area United Way
Shawn Shanahan has a compassion and desire to help others. Her role as Executive Director at Fremont Area United Way has allowed her to do just that. Shawn has always worked in the human service field and has extensive leadership experience as CEO of Fremont Area United Way, State Child Welfare Director, Norther Services Area Director, and Child Welfare Director for Heartland Family Services and CEO of Pathfinder Support Services.

Shawn is a native of Fremont, attending college at Kearney State College now known as Kearney University. Shawn was a participant and graduate of United Way World Wide Executive Leadership which included participation in the Harvard Non Profit Leadership Program in 2015. Shawn and Fremont Area United Way are being recognized at the Federal and state level for addressing social change at a community level of care. Shawn is proud to live, work and support the Fremont community.

Shawn enjoys her role at Fremont Area United Way and is proud of six years of improving outcomes, addressing community initiatives, building collaboration, lowering operation cost, removing barriers for families, developing a central intake and developing a huge growth in grant funds. In addition to all the great things happening at United Way, Shawn has also taken the lead in seeking additional funds to support community initiatives, her team has built a community collaboration that is working on School Readiness, Social and Emotional Wellbeing, Mental Health and Prevention efforts (focused to address the root cause for families in need). The community collaboration and partnerships has allowed United Way to lead social change in partnership with other community partners. The coalition, being led by Fremont Area United Way, is seeing great results and together is accomplishing things none can achieve alone.


Previous attendees continue to share their praise for this unique opportunity.

I can truly say that New Presidents Forum is a fantastic learning experience that is absolutely designed with new CEOs in mind....Attending the forum gave me the opportunity to meet with my representative, Congresswoman Dina Titus, during the initial Capitol Hill Day visit...[which] provided the platform for me to introduce myself and share with her a few of the issues our communities face here in Southern Nevada. If you have yet to meet your representative, attending the Forum is an easy way to get time on their schedules and have that first meeting. The UWW staff was helpful in handling all of the logistics and walking us through possible speaking points prior to our visit.
Bob Morgan, President & CEO, United Way Southern Nevada
For me, the Forum was energizing. It was is a 3-day convening of United Way leaders from all over the network, discussing our business model, impact strategy, and how can we make it all come to life. The discussion was engaging with many fellow CEOs sharing their own successes and failures during their short tenure as a United Way leader. Being able to meet our colleagues from the network and United Way Worldwide has been most valuable. United Ways thrive on building relationships – and our relationships with each other are no different. You truly see the power of the network when you’re in physically in a space asking questions and sharing ideas together.
Nicky Osbourne, Executive Director, United Way Marion County
There is no other conference or learning experience that will provide you with an orientation as a new United Way CEO the way New Presidents Forum will.
Paula Gilberto, President & CEO, United Way of Central and Northeastern Connecticut

Click here to read testimonials from United Way Presidents & CEOs who have attended previous forums.


A room block has been reserved at the Sheraton Suites Old Town Alexandria at a special UWW rate for the forum. Click here to book your hotel room.

The room rate is $139.00 plus taxes per night and includes complimentary parking, internet and a hot breakfast.

Sheraton Suites Old Town Alexandria:
801 N. St. Asaph Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314


For information on travelling to the Mary M. Gates Learning Center and United Way Worldwide offices, please click here.


As new CEOs (or as new Board members), your 2017 flex credits may be used towards the forum if you complete this request form

Flex credits are available to use for the United Way New Presidents Forum for the following items:

  • Registration fees (volunteers qualify if a United Way staff person is attending the same learning opportunity or conference)
  • Some travel costs such as airfare, rental car, or mileage (only one form of travel reimbursement, rental car, mileage, or airfare is allowed with a maximum of $500 per trip)
  • Daily per diem – a combination of the hotel room rate, plus taxes and any meal not included during a learning opportunity

Please click here to access your United Way flexible credit balance. If you choose to use Flex Credits to pay for this event, when you get to the payment screen while registering, choose “Flex Credits” from the drop-down payment box. You will need to enter your organization number in the box provided if you choose the flex credit payment option.

All travel reimbursement from flex credits is submitted and processed after the event is over. Each registrant will receive an online travel reimbursement form within 5 business days of the program completion. Once this form is sent, it must be completed within 10 business days, after which further reimbursements cannot be processed. You do not need to keep your receipts to fill out this form, though we do encourage you to keep them for your records.

Learn more about UWW's flexible credit policy. If you have any questions about flexible credits, please contact


For questions, please email the Talent Management Department at