Our Leadership Team

Karen Young, President & Chief Executive Officer

Karen Young

President & CEO

Karen Young (she/her) is President and CEO of United Way of Calgary and Area (UWCA), a visionary leader who knows the power of partnership and collaboration to achieve a common purpose. Karen joined UWCA as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in 2014, before becoming President and Chief Executive Officer in 2017. Under her leadership, UWCA has raised more than $312 million for the local Calgary community, delivering a profound impact to people in all walks of life.

Prior to joining United Way, Karen worked with The City of Calgary for 26 years as an award-winning leader. As director of Community and Neighbourhood Services, she was instrumental in securing $480M to build four new recreation facilities in Calgary and led the Emergency Social Services efforts during the historic 2013 Alberta Floods. 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.

She has been serving on Calgary community boards since the 1990s, including on the Calgary Homeless Foundation Board of Directors. She is currently a Chapter Executive for the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) – Calgary. In March 2020, Karen was awarded the inaugural Calgary Influential Women in Business Award in the Social Enterprise category.

She earned a master’s certificate in Municipal Leadership from York University, and holds a Bachelor of General Studies in Leisure, Recreation, and Tourism from the University of Calgary.

A catalyst for social change who has been building momentum in communities since the 1990s, Karen is driven by her belief that all Calgarians have the right to a good quality of life.

Rhonda Roth, Vice President, Individual Giving & Investor Relations

Rhonda Roth

Chief Impact Officer

Rhonda Roth (she/her) is the Chief Impact Officer at United Way of Calgary and Area (UWCA). A collaborative and strategic leader, Rhonda catalyzes community change and builds awareness and support of UWCA to improve local lives. As Chief Impact Officer, Rhonda leads the organization’s Community Impact and Partnership, Marketing and Communications, and Resource Development teams to drive sustainable solutions for complex social issues. Rhonda has a track record of motivating high-performing teams and more than two decades of leadership experience in the not-for-profit sector, with specialization in health care and the social sector. Rhonda believes that everyone can make a difference and is passionate about creating a community where everyone thrives.

Virginia Baescu, Vice President, Finance

Virginia Baescu

Vice President, Finance

As vice president of finance, Virginia leads a team of 12 people and is responsible for the stewardship, development, implementation, and management of financial strategies at United Way of Calgary and Area.

Virginia is a chartered professional accountant with over 20 years of experience in the charitable sector. Before joining United Way in 2007 as the manager of financial reporting and analysis, Virginia worked at the Heritage Park Historical Village and Hull Child and Family Services.

Virginia holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance and has extensive leadership and training experience. A dedicated volunteer and motivational speaker, Virginia is passionate about mentoring the next generation of finance professionals.

United Way of Calgary and AreaOur Team