Sharon Sobol Jordan will lead United Way of Greater Cleveland


Sharon Sobol Jordan, a veteran local nonprofit and social services leader, will serve as the next president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cleveland, following her board’s approval on Monday, June 27.

Jordan will start on September 30, taking over from Augie Napoli, who is retiring after leading the organization since 2016.

“United Way of Greater Cleveland’s core belief that social and economic change cannot be achieved without racial justice, as well as its goal to permanently disrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty, resonates deeply with me,” Jordan said. in a statement provided. “I’ve shared that same commitment and passion in my own work for the past 35 years, and joining the United Way team is completely in line with my values ​​and purpose.”

Paul Dolan, chairman of the United Way board, called Jordan a “consensus builder” and said its ability to form community partnerships fits well with the organization’s current model, which has been honed under the leadership of the United Way. direction of Naples.

The organization focuses on eradicating the cycle of poverty through a two-pronged approach: addressing its symptoms (such as homelessness and hunger) through its community center for basic needs while reversing its root causes (such as racism and access to stable housing) through its Impact Institute.

“I think what stood out to Sharon, however, when she came before the search committee was her personal passion for the mission of alleviating poverty in our community and achieving economic and racial justice,” said Dolan, president and CEO of Cleveland. Guardians. “You look at his 35-year career, and a lot of it has been dedicated to this cause. But you’ve seen his personal investment in this space.”

When Napoli announced their retirement last fall, the United Way board launched a nationwide search through a 13-member search committee, led by board member Brian Richardson, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Covia, based in Independence. Selected from a diverse pool of nearly 50 candidates, Jordan will be the organization’s first female CEO in the organization’s 122-year history, according to a press release.

Napoli officially retire on June 30 but will stay until September to ensure a smooth transition.

“I’m really, really proud to hand the keys to the car to the next person because they’re going to find an organization in really good shape, with so much potential and momentum behind it,” Napoli said.

Jordan comes to United Way with extensive leadership experience in a varied career. His resume includes utility, non-profit and for-profit organizations in various sectors.

“She really has a unique resume that’s a perfect fit with United Way because she’s spent her career working in both the private and public sectors,” Dolan said. “She’s been with traditional organizations, she’s been with innovative organizations, and I think that aligns very well with what United Way is today.”

She is the founder and CEO of OpenSpace Solutions LLC, which advises executives and organizations including Cleveland-based nonprofit tech startup Digital C, where she currently serves as interim CEO. Prior to OpenSpace, Jordan was president and board member of Unify Labs, a nonprofit tech innovation hub established in 2017 to drive inclusive prosperity.

She served as Cuyahoga County Chief of Staff. Prior to that, she worked as Chief Legal Officer for the City of Cleveland and Special Advisor to former Mayor Michael R. White.

As President and CEO of Centers for Families and Children, Jordan led the merger and integration of three social service agencies and grew the combined organization.

A native of Cleveland, she began her career as an associate and then associate at the Cleveland law firm Schneider Smeltz Speith Bell.

Jordan, who sits on numerous boards, earned a law degree and a master’s degree in business administration from The Ohio State University and a bachelor of science degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at the University of Indiana.


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