DIXON – The United Way of Lee County's new leader aims to build upon the organization's reach in the community.
The United Way board named Keri Olson as its new executive director Wednesday, and she's slated to take the reins Feb. 12.
Olson, former branch operations director for the Sterling-Rock Falls Family YMCA for 3 years, will replace Executive Director Jenny Koch, who gave her notice last month that she would be stepping down to pursue other avenues and start her own business.
Koch became director in 2014, has been involved with the organization for nearly 2 decades and plans to stay on as a volunteer.
Board President Julie Helfrich said they had eight applicants, and Olson was the top choice because of her level of experience with membership, marketing, special events and fund development.
"We are very happy to have Keri join us," Helfrich said. "She stood out as the candidate with experience in the key areas of fundraising, marketing, finances and leadership."
Olson oversaw the YMCA's fundraising campaign and collected more than $200,000 last year. She joined the YMCA staff in 2011 as director of membership and marketing and was a marketing consultant for Halo Branded Solutions for 4 years prior to that.
She was also regional director of Big Brothers Big Sisters from 2003 to 2006.
“Together, I’m confident we can continue to build a stronger United Way that works to address health, education and financial stability of every Lee County resident,” Olson said.
She sits on the boards for the Sauk Valley Community College Leadership Program and Woodlawn Arts Academy.
Olson, of Sterling, and her husband, Jeff, who has worked at Raynor Garage Doors for more than 20 years, have two sons, Joshua, 14, and Corey, 13.
She earned her bachelor's at Western Illinois University and master's at St. Xavier University in Chicago.
Donations can be made online at unitedwayofleecounty.org or mailed to United Way of Lee County, P.O. Box 382, Dixon, 61021. Call 815-284-3339, go to the website or find the organization on Facebook for more information.