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The United Way of Southeast Alaska fell short of its 2003 fund-raising goal by $200,000. Agency officials are hoping their new executive director, Jodi Kilcup, will prevent that from happening this year.
Kilcup will begin her job May 14. She'll head the nonprofit organization that represents 30 social service agencies in Juneau. Former executive director Dawn Miller resigned in January.
Kilcup was executive director of university communications at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, until 2003. She resigned to complete her doctorate at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. She received it in educational leadership April 15.
"She's a real good communicator," said United Way Board of Directors President Chuck Collins.
At Weber State, Kilcup solicited gifts for the school's development office. Previously she managed alumni relations and raised funds for Chaminade University in Hawaii.
Kilcup, now living in Odgen, found the United Way job on the Internet. She talked to her family about what kind of life they envisioned and found Juneau a good fit.
"We wanted to live in a beautiful place," she said. "That was high on my list."
As Kilcup flew in for her job interview, she liked the aerial view of the Gastineau Channel and mountains, she said.
"To see that landscape and set foot back in Alaska was a wonderful experience," she said. "I'm pretty excited about that."
Kilcup first came to Alaska in 1990 after her husband, Rodney, accepted a job as provost at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage. During that time, she completed a master's degree in English at University of Alaska Anchorage and taught English there.
Although she's lived in Alaska previously, the United Way position will mark her first experience in Juneau.
Kilcup said she plans to begin work for the campaign right away, although it doesn't kick off until later in the year. She said she'll meet with member agencies to find out where they need help and how they've been successful.
Kilcup's experience will allow United Way to run a smoother campaign, Collins said. Last year's campaign got started late and missed out on key contributors because of communication problems.
"Jodi brings a level of expertise that helps the member agencies deal with day-to-day problems," Collins said.
Tara Sidor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.