Pacesetter Passion: Company Leaders Set the Pace (and the Example) with Their Enthusiasm

This year has been remarkably challenging in so many ways, but United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA)’s 2020 Pacesetter Campaign was still a resounding success.

The Pacesetter Campaign traditionally marks the beginning of UWCA’s fundraising season. A variety of local companies that wholeheartedly share our commitment to the community launch their internal campaigns early, helping UWCA get the ball rolling on donations. Although our community is still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Pacesetter Campaign still managed to raise more than $7,395,000.

UWCA Loaned Executive (LE) Stacia Fagan attributes that success to the hope of brighter days ahead.

“I think we all feel very isolated right now, and that can really do a number on your outlook and motivation,” said Fagan. “I think helping your community can ease that feeling even in the best of times — it’s just needed more right now.”

Fagan, who works as an Incentive Analyst at Regions Bank, has served as a Loaned Executive twice before. Because of her experience, she was asked to return for the unprecedented 2020 Pacesetter campaign. She noted that, while this year had a unique set of challenges, the passion of the leadership at the companies she worked with made all the difference.

“The key to success was making sure the leadership was engaged and participating,” said Fagan. “Of course, that’s always important, but it was a bigger deal this year, because without their support, a virtual environment just isn’t going to work.”

Fagan was joined in the LE program by Sara Lynn Been, a Relationship Manager at UWCA. Been, a newcomer to Birmingham, found the whole experience incredibly eye-opening. “I walked away with a deeper understanding of the needs and how our community is meeting those needs, whether it’s United Way or one of our many agencies,” said Been. “It really put a fire under me to get involved.”

Specification Rubber Products put their warehouse space (and creativity!) to good use for a safe, in-person meeting.

Been was inspired by both the commitment and the creativity of the companies she worked with.

“Specification Rubber Products felt really strongly about having an in-person meeting, if possible, so their innovative, dedicated campaign coordinators put their warehouse space to good use,” she said. “Their CEO, Steven Smith, is so generous and really has a heart for UWCA.”

Thanks to this determination, Specification Rubber’s annual gift increased. And they weren’t alone, as several other companies also increased their contributions.

To Been, that’s the power of United Way.

“We’re not backing down,” she said, “and neither is our community.”

Hope happens when all kinds of people come together to help those in need and move our community forward. Hope happens when we LIVE UNITED. To support United Way of Central Alabama, please click here.