Bobbi Watt Geer Named President and CEO of United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania


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Bobbi Watt Geer Named New President and CEO of United Way of Southwestern PA
First Female to Lead Regional United Way in its 92-Year History  

Pittsburgh, PA (June 18, 2019) – United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Board of Directors
has unanimously selected Bobbi Watt Geer as President and CEO, effective July 1,
2019. Currently Senior Vice President of Administration at United Way, Watt Geer was selected
following a seven-month national search to replace retiring President and CEO Bob Nelkin, who in
December 2018 announced his retirement effective June 30, 2019, after 12 years at the helm of the

A highly regarded leader in delivering impactful human services, strategic nonprofit management and
effective fundraising across Southwestern Pennsylvania, Watt Geer joined United Way in 2007. She
was President and CEO of United Way of Westmoreland County, and spearheaded its successful mergers
with United Ways in Allegheny County in 2015 and Butler County in 2018, creating the current
region-wide organization now serving the needs of Allegheny, Butler, Fayette, Westmoreland and
Southern Armstrong counties.

“United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania is vibrant, strong and well-prepared to continue serving
nearly a half-million people throughout our region, from preventing hunger and homelessness to
preparing families, children, veterans, seniors and people with disabilities to live their lives to
the fullest potential,” said Rich Harshman, United Way Board Chair, Search Committee Co-Chair, and
Retired Chairman, President and CEO of Allegheny Technologies Incorporated. “Bobbi is extremely
knowledgeable, innovative and well-prepared to lead the organization into the future. The Board
looks forward to working with Bobbi to continue the mission.”

“Bobbi is an exceptional choice to move our regional United Way forward,” said Search Committee
Chair Karen Larrimer, Head of Retail Banking & Chief Customer Officer at PNC Financial Services
Group. “She has a deep understanding of the region’s needs and the
organization, as well as insights into the innovation that will drive United Way’s growth. On
behalf of the Search Committee, I am grateful to the leadership of our community who stepped
up, once again, to ensure that the future of our United Way is guided by a forward-thinking

leader. I am confident that under Bobbi’s leadership our United Way will continue to play a
critical, leading role in the health and well-being of our region.”

A 10-member Search Committee, comprised of members of the United Way Board, worked with consultant
Isaacson, Miller, Inc. on the search. Thirty candidates were screened from a diverse pool of nearly
70 highly qualified applicants. In addition to a series of interviews conducted by the Search
Committee, the top three finalists were interviewed by United Way’s President’s Council, consisting
of former Board Chairs and executive members of the organization’s Board.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead the organization I believe in so deeply,” said Watt
Geer. “I am so proud of the work we do to make a difference in the lives of people in our region,
and I’m grateful for the nearly 55,000 donors and more than 17,000 volunteers who are all committed
to our mission. I look forward to quickly engaging and seamlessly working with our stakeholders
across the region – our corporate, foundation and agency partners, our donors and volunteers, and
our community leaders – to identify areas of opportunity and partnership that can make an even
greater impact in our region and improve the quality of life for people and
families that need our help.”

“On behalf of the United Way Board, we thank Bob Nelkin for his outstanding leadership of our
United Way for the last 12 years,” Rich Harshman added. “His commitment, dedication, and passion
for helping those in need throughout our region has been inspiring to many, and is
appreciated by all whose lives he touched.”

Watt Geer holds a Ph.D. In Public Administration/Public Policy from the University of Pittsburgh’s
Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, as well as an MS in Nonprofit Management from
Robert Morris University and a BA from the University of Pittsburgh. Prior to her positions of
increasing responsibility at United Way, she served as President of The Community Foundation of
Westmoreland County and held positions at St. Anne Home, Greensburg, and the American Heart
Association in Pittsburgh, Greensburg and Johnstown.

In addition to Watt Geer’s deep commitment to United Way’s work, the Southwestern Pennsylvania
native also served the community as the immediate past chair of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit
Partnership, immediate past president of the Franklin Regional Panther Foundation, chair of
Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organization’s Standards for Excellence Committee and has
taught courses in nonprofit management and fundraising at Robert Morris University and Saint
Vincent College.

About United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania – United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, serving
Allegheny, Butler, Westmoreland, Fayette, and Southern Armstrong counties, leads and mobilizes the
caring power of individuals, the business community and organizations to help local people in need
measurably improve their lives. United Way creates long-lasting change for the betterment of our

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