The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 17, 2012

Local United Way picks new leader

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma will be under new leadership in 2013 as Pamela Ballard takes the reins as executive director.

Ballard replaces Sean Byrne, who is leaving to become executive director at PreventionWorkz. Ballard will start her position Jan. 2. She formerly was executive director of the Camp Fire Council of Oklahoma City, but recently resigned from that position.

Janet Byrum, chairwoman of the United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma search committee, said Ballard knows what she is doing.

“She has years of experience,” Byrum said. “She was raised by a minister and raised with a passion for helping people and helping them get ready to help themselves.”

Ballard said she was honored to be chosen for the job, which she found out about through the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits. She has been involved with the United Way for about 20 years, serving in a number of voluntary capacities. She started out handing out donation packets, and her involvement grew to being a division chair. In every organization she has worked for, she has been the campaign chair for United Way. She also has been an agency executive director and served on the allocation committees.

“I’m a huge believer in the United Way and what it stands for and the good it does,” Ballard said. “I believe it’s the best way to help the community.”

Most people think of United Way as a resource for giving to people in need, Ballard said, and is an excellent organization for that because it has great oversight and spends other people’s money the way they would spend their own.

“They have a great track record for doing that,” she said. “They return $4 for every $1 given.

“For two decades or more, I’ve been involved. I’ve seen it be the first interest for people who want involvement in the community with local fundraising activities. It is their first glimpse of the needs of the community.”

Ballard most recently was executive director of Camp Fire USA Heart of Oklahoma Council. She was responsible for daily management of the organization, including all fundraising, special events, donor relations, grant writing, project development, youth, family and community initiatives, and other tasks.

Prior to that, she was financial administrator for North Church Inc. and assistant vice president/relationship manager/public sector advisory services for Spirit Bank. She also was assistant vice president and branch manager for Arvest Bank in Tulsa.

Ballard has a master’s degree in human relations and a bachelor of arts in administrative leadership, both from the University of Oklahoma. She originally is from Sapulpa.

The search committee had more than 50 resumes, Byrum said. She said the board was looking for someone who wants to make a community impact rather than just distribute funds.

“We were very impressed with Pam,” Byrum said. “I had the privilege of reading everyone’s resume and narrowing them down to 12, then working with the search committee. We worked them down to four and interviewed them. Then, we offered the job to Pam.”

Byrne announced several months ago he would be leaving as executive director, but would stay on through the transition. Byrum said the executive committee assembled quickly and formed a search committee. They put out the word on the United Way network and other nonprofit sources, and immediately began to receive resumes.

Ballard said United Way of Enid and Northwest Oklahoma does not take people’s money lightly, but takes it seriously.

“We help those who need it most, because there is great need,” Ballard said. “We want to benefit health, education and provide financial stability, not just for today. It is about taking a look at what programs are about and making those outcomes happen.”