Local nonprofit leader emerges as head of United Way of Yavapai County
PRESCOTT – From her earliest childhood memories growing up in Washington, Annette Olson was committed to helping other in her community.
“I guess it must have been from my upbringing,” Olson said of a family that was “hardworking and humanitarian.” “I was always drawn to things that had a cause and were mission-related.”
Throughout a 25-year career in nonprofit service and executive leadership, Olson has gleaned a need to have a “strong purpose with my work.”
A Prescott resident for the last three years, Olson was hired June 13 to be the new executive director for the United Way of Yavapai County. She was selected from a field of four finalists to replace interim director Yvonne Bartlett, who replaced Darla DeVille.
Olson’s career has ranged from HIV/AIDS case management and hospice care to social service, health and education leadership. Her undergraduate degree is in psychology with a master’s degree in management. She is now earning a doctoral degree in executive leadership and organizational development. Prior to her selection, Olson worked in executive leadership for U.S. VETS Initiative and at Yavapai County Community Health Services.
This position appealed to Olson as it will allow her to broaden her impact.
Rather than concentrating efforts on the needs of one nonprofit organization, Olson said she embraces the chance to reach all of the county’s agencies intent on serving the greater good. One of her major endeavors will be to launch a center for nonprofit excellence, a place where nonprofit leaders can learn how to improve operations through workshops and one-on-one tutorials related to everything from strategic planning to fundraising and volunteer management.
“The sky is the limit on the workshops we can offer, and it’s part of our mission to offer whatever we find the needs to be,” Olson said of the organization that does not provide direct services but serves as a fundraising arm for those targeting its mission areas: health, financial stability and education.
From her experience in Prescott, Olson said she has found that there many people “interested in giving in some way or another.”
“I just want to bring those people together,” she said.
“I am very, very pleased with what she’s been doing in the short amount of time we’ve had her,” said Board President Mary Ann Suttles.