United Way’s Senior Management Team
Drew Langloh is President and CEO and has dedicated his career to the mission of serving the underserved through the United Way movement.
With his degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina, at Greensboro, Drew joined the United Way movement in 1988 in Greensboro, NC. In 1991, he moved to Birmingham as VP Resource Development for United Way of Central Alabama and completed his MBA at Samford University. He left Birmingham for Baltimore in 1999 to become the Senior Vice President, Resource Development and Marketing for United Way of Central Maryland and in 2004, became President and Chief Professional Officer, United Way of Delaware.
He returned to Birmingham in 2008 as President and CEO, with a vision to elevate UWCA to a top model for making lasting changes to complex problems. To solve today’s problems, he believes it will take non profit agencies, municipalities, corporations, foundations, academic and faith communities working together with a common focus.
Kelly Carlton is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for United Way of Central Alabama and has over 30 years of extensive experience in financial accounting and administration which includes 23 years of nonprofit experience. She oversees the organizational processes and infrastructure of United Way.
She holds a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Samford University located in Birmingham, Alabama. For 10 years prior to joining United Way, Kelly worked in public accounting with national and regional firms as a Certified Public Accountant.
Kelly’s professional affiliations include American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Alabama Women’s Association of Certified Public Accountants as a Board Member, Birmingham Chapter of Alabama Institute of Certified Public Accountants as Treasurer, National Accountants Association, and Alabama Society of Certified Public Accountants. In addition she serves as Vice President of 3 United Way of Central Alabama subsidiaries (Community Partnership of Alabama, Hands on Birmingham, and Priority Veteran). Kelly was recognized in 2010 by the Birmingham Business Journal in the Chief Financial Officer Awards.
Chip Graham is the Sr. Vice President of Marketing and Communications at United Way of Central Alabama. He is responsible for all marketing and communications including planning, strategy and tactical implementation.
Chip holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Birmingham Southern College. Prior to assuming his current role at United Way, he worked for eighteen years at EBSCO Industries, Inc. in various roles ranging from traditional marketing to digital marketing and e-commerce.
Chip is also a head soccer coach at the Birmingham United Soccer Association (BUSA), where he enjoys investing some of his time towards the development of youth boys’ soccer within Birmingham, Alabama.
Karla Lawrence serves as the Senior Vice President of Community Initiatives for United Way of Central Alabama. She leads United Way’s initiatives and direct programs providing services statewide in the areas of Health, Education, Financial Stability and Access to Services/Crisis Response.
She earned her Master of Science in Counseling and Psychology and Bachelor of Science from Troy University in Troy, Alabama. She was elected to Chi Sigma Iota’s Counseling Academic and Professional Honor Society.
She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and has spent the majority of her career working for non-profit, social service agencies focusing on child and family advocacy. She has over 15 years of non-profit management experience. During her career, she assisted United Way with long-term recovery efforts in Central Alabama providing case management to tornado victims. In addition, she was employed at two United Way partner agencies prior to starting her employment with United Way in 2015.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for two of United Way of Central Alabama’s subsidiaries (Community Partnership of Alabama and Priority Veteran). Prior to assuming her current role, she worked as the Vice President of Community Initiatives at United Way.
She has been married for 18 years to JD Lawrence, an attorney at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP in Birmingham, AL and is mother to Emma Kate, age 13 and John Karter, age 6.
As Senior Vice President of Resource Development at United Way of Central Alabama, John oversees fundraising efforts to support the work of United Way and 80 partner agencies in Central Alabama. John and his team fully embrace the power of volunteer, peer-to-peer fundraising, mobilizing hundreds of cabinet members, hands-on volunteers and loaned executives to reach their annual goals.
An Atlanta native, John moved to Birmingham after graduation from Auburn University with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. He divided his time between the U.S. and Mexico, working for Constructores Para Cristo as Director of Construction and later Assistant Executive Director. John then joined United Way in 2012, first serving as Vice President of Annual Campaign through 2018 before transitioning to his current role. John maintains his passion for helping others by providing meaningful experiences to donors and volunteers in his community.
John serves on the board of the Birmingham Sunrise Rotary Club. He is also a co-founder and past president of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Birmingham. Outside of work, John enjoys spending time in his garden. He and his wife, Allyson, have one son, Jackson. They love living in Birmingham and are proud to call it home.
Samuetta Nesbitt is Senior VP Public Relations and Community Affairs for United Way of Central Alabama and has over 16 years nonprofit experience. She is in charge of United Way’s corporate brand and communications.
She holds a B.A. from The University of Alabama in Communications and an M.S. from The University of Alabama at Birmingham in Education Leadership. Samuetta worked as a broadcast journalist in the mid ’70’s and in Public Relations for Compass Bank and Birmingham Public Schools.
Samuetta is the recipient of several honors and awards including The Cahaba Girl Scout Councils Woman of Distinction Award and The Birmingham Business Journal’s Top Business Women of 2003. Her professional memberships include The Women’s Network, The Kiwanis Club of Birmingham; The Public Relations Society of Alabama; Leadership Birmingham (1992) and Leadership Shelby County (2014).
Sara Newell is the Senior VP of Community Impact. She came to Birmingham to attend college and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Samford University and a Masters of Public Administration from The University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Prior to assuming her current role at United Way, she worked for five years as a fundraiser for United Cerebral Palsy in Los Angeles and New York City. She returned to Birmingham to join United Way in December, 2006 to run United Way’s agency relations and campaign allocations.
In 2009 she was promoted to the role of Senior Vice President, overseeing the distribution of approximately $24MM each year. She is also UWCA’s lead organizer for the Bold Goals Coalition of Central Alabama, a community-wide collaborative effort aimed at creating positive, measurable and community-level change in Health and Education.
Sara was recognized in 2018 as “Top Influencer Under 40” by Birmingham magazine and in 2019 she was recognized in the “Who’s Next? The Future Generation of Local Women Leading the Way” segment of About Town. She has served on the Boards of Directors for the Alabama Association of Nonprofits, United Way Hands On and currently serves on the board of Birmingham Promise. Sara is a graduate of Leadership Birmingham. She is married to Van Newell and they have two sons, ages ten and four.
Chris Smith joined United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) in 2021 as Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President. He oversees the Finance Department and accounting functions of the organization. Chris has more than 20 years of experience providing accounting and advisory services to governmental and non-profit organizations throughout the region. In addition, he has extensive experience with federal and state grant compliance requirements, employee benefit plans and audits of manufacturing and healthcare organizations.
Before joining UWCA, Chris was an audit partner at Warren Averett, LLC, where he worked for 17 years and was a leader within the firm’s public sector practice group. Chris has earned MBA and BS degrees from Jacksonville State University and has been a Certified Public Accountant in Alabama since 2002.
Chris lives in Hoover with his wife Christie.