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United Way Announces New President & CEO

At its Board of Directors meeting on March 12, the United Way of Southeastern Connecticut’s Board approved Dina Sears-Graves as its new President and CEO. Previously, Sears-Graves has served as United Way’s Vice President of Community Impact since 2008. In that role she was responsible for the community building work of United Way including: the annual community fund distribution process, partner agency relations, community problem-solving efforts and management of the Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Center.

“It is an honor to be appointed as the next President and CEO of United Way of Southeastern Connecticut. As I transition from my current role at United Way," said Sears-Graves, "I look forward to working with the dedicated team of staff, volunteers, partner agencies, board of directors, and its many supporters in my new capacity. Equally important is establishing new relationships and creating new partnerships so that we can enhance our work in the community in order to achieve our mission of having a united, thriving community.”

A native of Norwich, Sears-Graves has worked in leadership positions in the nonprofit industry since 1991 including the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Connecticut, Our Piece of the Pie, UPLIFT New London Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, and Hartford Neighborhood Centers.

Sears-Graves’ areas of expertise include: leading organizations and departments through periods of substantial growth and transition; developing and implementing innovative programs and services; working with constituent groups including boards, committees, donors, volunteers, and external audiences; building and retaining exceptional staff and creating excellent work environments; and overseeing and coordinating all aspects of budgeting and financial management.

Among her accolades and training, Sears-Graves was one of twelve national United Way Leaders selected to participate in the Advanced Leadership Program at United Way Worldwide in 2016, had extensive training in Collective Impact through FSG, Tamarack Institute and United Way Worldwide and has presented at international conferences on the subject, and graduated from the Harwood Public Innovators Lab. In 2007 she received the New London County Bar Association Liberty Bell Award.

Sears-Graves earned her BS in Human Development and Family Relations from the University of Connecticut and her MS in Business Management from Albertus Magnus College. Sears-Graves resides in the Norwich area with family.