Enjoying what’s NEXT
By Kerri Strauss
UW Next Member
Hi, I’m Kerri Strauss, and I’m all about what’s NEXT! Be it professional or personal journeys, I’m always curious and excited for the next opportunity. I look at my life as a series of chapters in a book. I turn each page with curiosity. I conclude each chapter with excitement to see what will happen in the next chapter.
I live life to the fullest and don’t look back. My life’s not perfect, no one’s is. But I have always had a deep appreciation for trying to recognize what is good in life, and what is important - my family, my friends, my values. I’ve always looked for opportunities to contribute to my community in ways that are very meaningful and impactful.
I retired early, from a traditional full-time job, to embark on my next endeavor, which ended up being consulting and freelance writing - and - joining UW Next and Third Sector Company’s Interim Executives Academy… which then brought me to my next stage of life, serving as an interim director of various nonprofits.
Why I joined UW NEXT:
I am a proud member of UW Next! I have always been drawn to community impact work, starting at a young age as a Girl Scout brownie. I enjoy making a difference where I live. Joining service clubs in high school and college, volunteering at various nonprofits, I found United Way at a young age. While working on my Master of Social Work degree, I requested an internship placement in my local UW’s Community Impact Division. This led to a decade of UW employment.
I am a proud UW alumni, having served as the Volunteer Center Program Manager for three years at United Way of Berks County in Reading Pennsylvania, and the Executive Director of United Way of Bradford County in Towanda Pennsylvania for 10 years. After starting my own consulting business, (kerristraussconsulting.com) I joined UW Next to keep connected to my UW Family. The United Way network is one that I have always found positive connections.
Shortly after joining UW Next, I learned about the Third Sector Company’s Interim Executives Academy. I enrolled in the Fall of 2022 and quickly developed a new passion - for helping nonprofit organizations during their time of transition. I served as the Interim President and CEO of United Way of Greater Union County in Elizabeth NJ in 2022 and am now serving as the Interim Executive Director of the Editorial Freelancers Association based out of NYC but working remotely. The connections I have made through UW Next have greatly benefited my consulting business and have led to connections such as the Interims Academy and much more!
I continue to work full time, as an Interim, do my consulting business on the side, and continue writing any and every chance I get.
What has been bringing value to you as a member?
The main value I find through UW Next is the members. It’s always the people right! People make all the difference. It’s the personal relationships we develop in life that matter most - our family, friends, colleagues, retirees, volunteers, at all stages of life. I’ve found professional connections, colleagues who have enhanced my career, and even colleagues who have become friends. Having a strong network to rely on – personally and professionally – has greatly enhanced this next stage of my life.
How am I getting involved?
I’m serving as a mentor for a new Executive Director of a UW in Louisiana. I also serve on the Engage and Exchange Work Group of UW Next, and the newly formed Podcast sub-committee, along with monthly member meet up’s. UW Next has provided me with ways to contribute meaningfully to the broader UW Network. I enjoy staying connected to such an instrumental piece of community impact. I find deep meaning in the volunteer work I do with UW Next. Join me!
UW Next has been a tremendous resource for me as I continue the path of community enrichment. I truly feel that together we find value and purpose. Join me in your NEXT endeavor!