Our Team

Karen Young, President & Chief Executive Officer

Karen Young

President & CEO

Karen Young joined United Way of Calgary and Area as vice president and chief operating officer in 2014. On April 26, 2016, United Way’s Board appointed Karen as president and chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2017.

Karen came to United Way from The City of Calgary where she served for 26 years as an award-winning leader. As the director of Community and Neighbourhood Services at The City, Karen led change management, strategic planning and policy, partnership management, funding and grant programs, financial administration, community relations, and program development initiatives. She was instrumental in securing $480 million to build four new recreation facilities in Calgary and led the Emergency Social Services efforts during the flood of 2013.

Karen is a visionary leader who believes that positive change begins at the community level and values partnerships and collaborations in achieving a common goal. Driven by her belief that all Calgarians have the right to a good quality of life, Karen is a catalyst for social change and has been serving our communities since the 1980’s, including on the Calgary Housing Company Board of Directors, Calgary TELUS Convention Centre Board of Directors, Trustee of the Burns Memorial Fund, and the Calgary Economic Development Advisory Group.

Prior to joining the executive team, Karen worked closely with United Way over the years on many projects including the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative, Calgary AfterSchool, and the Calgary Local Immigration Partnership.

Karen holds a master’s certificate in municipal leadership and a Bachelor of General Studies in Leisure, Recreation, and Tourism.

Beth Gignac, Vice President & COO

Beth Gignac

Vice President & COO

Beth Gignac joined United Way of Calgary and Area as chief operating officer in 2016. With over 20 years of leadership experience working across government organizations in Alberta and Ontario, Beth is a high-energy, collaborative leader dedicated to building resilient communities.

Beth’s passion for collaboration and strategic visioning has made her an exceptional facilitator of change and catalyst for action. Her mission-based, emotionally-intelligent approach to leadership combined with an entrepreneurial approach to strategic planning and service development make her a great asset to United Way.

Rhonda Roth, Vice President, Individual Giving & Investor Relations

Rhonda Roth

Chief Development Officer

Rhonda Roth first joined United Way of Calgary and Area in 2010 as Director of Individual Giving. Now as Chief Development Officer, she is dedicated to building meaningful and trusted relationships with our donors, partner workplaces and foundations, and ensuring United Way has the resources to drive sustainable solutions to complex social issues. Working closely with all departments, Rhonda is responsible for developing and implementing integrated fundraising and giving plans for the initiatives, collaborations, and programs United Way funds.

Prior to joining United Way, Rhonda brought over a decade of fundraising experience serving at the University of British Columbia as an Associate Director in the Development program. Rhonda holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the British Columbia Institute of Technology, a Bachelor of Commerce, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Calgary.

Dan Nielsen, Chief Technology Officer

Dan Nielsen

Chief Technology Officer

Dan Nielsen started as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for United Way Calgary and Area and United Way Lower Mainland in 2019. The joint CTO role is new for United Way and is focused on maximizing technology efficiency and developing a shared IT vision for both organizations. Before taking on this position, Dan was the Vice President of Business Transformation at United Way Canada and Vice President of Technology at United Way of Calgary and Area. He is also the chair of the United Way Technology and Services Network Committee.

Dan has 20 years of IT experience primarily from the retail sector, specializing in e-commerce. He holds an MBA from Royal Road University.

soakleyOur Team