The United Way of Washington County raises money annually to fund programs in about 20 community organizations.
"(Gayman) is the most passionate and caring individual for the people in our community that I have ever known," Shoop said. "She is very smart and believes strongly in the mission of The United Way, and does whatever it takes to help the volunteers succeed in the campaign and the fundraising."
Gayman, 31, learned of her new position Wednesday while vacationing in South Carolina.
"I was incredibly excited," she said. "This is an amazing opportunity for me personally and for the organization."
Gayman, who lives in Waynesboro, Pa., said she was working in the private sector before joining The United Way.
"I made an intentional decision to give back," she said. "I think that's the only way to make that decision. At the end of the day we have a responsibility to the people of this community to make a difference."
Shortly after earning a degree in public administration from Shippensburg (Pa.) University, Gayman took the job at The United Way.
She said it was her passion for the organization and the community that led her to apply for the executive director position.
"I've been there on the front lines looking into the eyes of the people who get the services that our partners provide, and that's where my passion comes from," Gayman said.
There were about 60 applicants, said Shoop, who was part of the six-person committee charged with finding a new executive director.
"The United Way has such a powerful reach into the community," Gayman said. "The volunteers do an amazing job getting to the community's most pressing issues. I wanted to be part of that."
Alter said The United Way, under Gayman's leadership will have an ambitious but attainable goal. Gayman said the nonprofit has set the goal of raising $2 million through its annual fundraising campaign.
The most recent goal of $1.9 million was surpassed by about $40,000, she said.