Sandoval to leave United Way post in March 2013




Consuelo Sandoval, Finney County United Way executive director, announced Thursday that she will step down from that position effective March 2013 due to some personal family reasons.

"I love this job. It's a great job," Sandoval said. "I love the agencies, the board and the donors. There's a personal family reason that I must step down."

Sandoval, who has been executive director since June 2010, has been a United Way volunteer for 21 years. Most of her career before becoming director was in social services, including jobs as a school district paraprofessional and with Harvest America and United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries.

Sandoval first became involved with United Way while working at Harvest America. Former United Way director Trish Keller asked Sandoval to translate for her at the former ConAgra plant, even though Harvest America wasn't a United Way agency. Sandoval said she also learned a lot from previous director Margaret Anderson, who served in that position 14 years.

"She was just fantastic. I learned everything from her," Sandoval said. "They were big shoes to fill, but I think I filled them in a different way, and I think we were very successful during my time here. I believe strongly in the United Way."

Sandoval said she is staying in Garden City but declined to talk specifically about any future work plans other than to say it will be a different type of work than she has done previously.

Liz Scheopner, United Way board member and chairwoman of this year's fundraising campaign, said she will miss Sandoval.

"Sway did a tremendous job. Absolutely tremendous. She made my job as drive chairman incredibly easy," Scheopner said. "We understand and respect her need to make a change due to a change in her family dynamics."

Scheopner said that three years ago, the board thought it would never be able to find someone to replace Anderson, but they found a good replacement in Sandoval.

"I'm confident that though it will be difficult, we'll find someone to replace Sway and be as strong as ever," she said.

According to a press release, the board of directors accepted Sandoval's resignation on Tuesday and will meet in the next week to talk about the process for recruiting and selecting the next executive director.

Board president Grant Elpers said in the release that the organization has a few months to make a smooth transition, though it will be a difficult task to replace Sandoval.

"Consuelo has been a tremendous asset to the United Way, and the board wishes her well in her future pursuits," Elpers said. "Both Consuelo and Margaret Anderson before her have maintained a high standard for this organization, and unwavering commitment to the partner agencies. We will expect Consuelo's replacement to be well qualified and maintain the standards of excellence."

Larilee Josserand will remain on staff as bookkeeper and Marjie Clarke will remain as the assistant director.

Sandoval said she will miss the people she met every day as part of her job, and also the tremendous energy associated with the United Way fundraising campaigns.

"We did over 100 presentations this year. We spent a week out at Tyson from 5 in the morning to 8 at night, with the help of the agencies assisting, and I'll really miss that," she said.

Sandoval said being director has been rewarding, but she was surprised about just how rewarding.

"You really have to be a people person — and a genuine people person. People can sense it right away when you're not genuine," she said. "I'll miss the diverse people I met in the community."

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