Current gig Senior Vice President, Resource Development and Engagement
Previous gig Vice President of Workplace Relations and Engagement
Favorite quote “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” – Frederick Buechner
United Way of the Greater Triangle: What excites you about this United Way?
Allison Warren-Barbour: There is great vision and leadership to move more nimbly. Mack’s (CEO of UWGT) leadership has led to an environment where creativity is embraced and where we are quick to implement changes that can lead to more effective ways of working. I believe that this United Way can be a conduit for great change. Our community impact model is the right model. We are in a unique position because of our change-making ability and because we have relationships that span broadly. Long-term change requires participation and action from many stakeholders, across sectors.
What is your new role and how do you hope to shape it?
My new role is Senior Vice President, Resource Development and Engagement. For years United Way has been operating around a singular axis of campaign. No question,financial support is critical to achieving UWGT’s Community Impact Plan, however we really want to shift the focus to a more holistic, year-round engagement model where a person can give of many aspects of themselves through United Way as we work on important community-level issues together. I feel passionately about the work of UWGT and want to help create an environment and platform where community members who share our passion around early education, 3rd grade literacy, access to healthcare, and the financial stability of families can find their place and voice in the Triangle community through UWGT. I want to shape this role by carrying out the Frederick Buechner quote above. I really view my job as an opportunity to connect people’s deepest gladness with the Triangle’s deepest hunger.
Tell us about your team at UWGT.
I love the people here. Everyone is supportive and my team is full of intelligent, hardworking people. I’m building a dream team of people who are passionate about our community and who harness this in order to generate more resources to develop more supportive systems. This team will inspire others to get excited about their role in community transformation. Ultimately, if we accomplish our goals we’ll have generated the relationships necessary to ensure that kids in our community are fed and have equal access to quality education and families are housed and stable, among other huge transformations. These changes will have a ripple effect.
One of the first things you did in your new role was creating an open work space for your team by breaking down the cubicle walls. What was that change about?
Having an open community is important. I wanted us to mirror internally what we want to see externally. The idea of access and collaboration is important. I wanted to remove the barriers to conversation. Even our Community Impact Fellows have their workspace in the middle of our open space, and are surrounded by their co-workers and community. By creating the open space, we are inviting our team to be in conversation with one another, to seek solutions together, creatively and deftly.
What does your ideal Triangle community look like?
My ideal Triangle looks like a connected, diverse, polyvocal community where all individuals have equal access to resources and the opportunity to thrive.
When you look back in 5 years what impact do you want to have made?
I see this position as one that will allow me to create the right environment for innovation and change-making. I want to bring more people into the conversation of transforming our community and making meaningful connections. I care about people and see this role as one that will enable me to help create a more just environment. Success will be when we have connected as many people as possible with the mission of UWGT, because then we can affect the direction of our community.
A bit more background
Allison Warren-Barbour began her career with Accenture after graduating from Miami University in Ohio with a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Behavior. Allison went on to receive a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological seminary and worked in sales management for two years before moving to Atlanta where she started her nonprofit career. She started as a new business development officer with a Financial Literacy nonprofit, Operation HOPE, and then joined United Way of Greater Atlanta in 2009. She was responsible for leading a team of 11 development officers charged with raising over $36 million of an $80 million campaign. She moved to the Triangle two years ago where she joined United Way of the Greater Triangle as their Vice President of Resource Development & Engagement. Allison now heads up the Resource Development team; developing innovative strategies for engaging cross-sector partners in UWGT work. She is a graduate of Leadership Triangle and Raleigh Chamber’s Emerging Leaders program. Allison lives in Cary, with her husband, Kevin and two daughters, Anya & Isla.