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United Way's chief promoter

New executive director to use marketing background

New executive director to use marketing background

October 15, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - The new executive director of the United Way of Franklin County, Pa., says she will put her background in marketing to work to broaden the base of community support for the 27 human service organizations the United Way serves.

"I'm going to be looking into the community for places we've missed to try and help people feel connected and reach deeper to help us," Amy Hicks said last week. "There's a lot of growth in the area and I want to look into that growth and see where there are new resources."

The 33-year-old mother of two grew up in Hagerstown and worked as a marketing coordinator for the Washington County Health Care System for six years before being hired by the United Way two weeks ago. She and her husband, Mike, have lived in Mercersburg, Pa., for about 10 years, she said.

Hicks, who has a bachelor's degree in communications from Shepherd University and is pursuing a master's degree in business administration at Frostburg State University, brings to her new position a decade of experience in areas such as marketing, public relations, event planning and strategic planning.

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Hicks succeeds Cynthia Hawbaker, who served as executive director for 11 years before stepping down in May.

"Amy fit well into our strategic plan," said Amy Murray, the United Way's campaign chairwoman for 2006.

Hicks' experience in marketing and promotions was one reason the board of directors selected her from a field of about two dozen candidates, Murray said.

"This is something we want people to think of year-round ... not just during the campaign," Murray said.

The United Way kicked off its 2006 campaign last month with a goal of raising $715,000 by the time it ends in February, Hicks said.

Murray said at the time of the kick-off luncheon that the annual goal has remained fairly stagnant over the past decade and that the United Way wants to be more aggressive in future campaigns.

Hicks' experience in graphic design is also a good fit as she is working to design the organization's first Web site, Murray said.

"I also want to strengthen the relationships that are already there and get to know the people that have been with us in the past," said Hicks.

Recruiting more volunteers and finding how best to utilize their talents is another goal, she said.

One task Hicks has been undertaking is familiarizing herself with some of the 27 human service agencies the United Way serves. Last Thursday, Hicks visited the Franklin County Therapeutic Riding Center, a volunteer horse riding program for the disabled.

"The interaction they have with the horses helps their hand-eye coordination and their self-confidence," she said.

From the American Red Cross and Boy Scouts to the Waynesboro Area Human Services Council and Women In Need, United Way of Franklin County raises and allocates funds for organizations, clinics and agencies serving the disabled, youths and families in the county.

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