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Debra Young Receives United Way Leadership Award

Debra Young sees her leadership during the search for the United Way of Pierce County’s new CEO, as well as her tireless work on behalf of the nonprofit, as her biggest accomplishments during her yearlong tenure as Board Chair.

This week, the local United Way recognized Young – the City of Lakewood’s Human Resources Director for 18 years – with its Leadership Award, which recognizes those accomplishments and her leadership.

Young, who recently completed her year as Board Chair, was recognized at the nonprofit’s Annual Community Celebration in Tacoma, an event that drew some 500 people.

“I am extremely honored,” Young said in her Lakewood City Hall office this week. “I thoroughly enjoyed my year representing the Board for United Way. I’m very honored to have played a role in helping United Way with its mission.”

The United Way’s biggest endeavor during Young’s tenure was the six-month national search and eventual selection of CEO Dona Ponepinto in late 2013. The new CEO replaced former United Way CEO Dr. Rick Allen, who retired after 25 years.

The search drew dozens of local and national candidates, which didn’t make the selection easy for Young, the Board and the United Way. In the end, they chose Ponepinto, who came from the Detroit area with some 26 years with the United Way.

Today, Young still serves on the United Way of Pierce County Board, but the new Chair is James McCormick of Messina Bulzomi Christensen in Tacoma.

“We’re passing off the torch to a great, new Board Chair, and I think the new CEO will do extremely well. It’s an exciting time for the United Way.”

Young’s leadership is a big reason why. #IamLakewood