by Drew Martinez
Leadership Giving Director

Chelle Gordon pictureWhy do you give to United Way of Salt Lake?

Like most people, I have a finite amount of personal funds. I can’t give to everyone or every organization that asks. Also, I want the money that I donate to be put to good use in the community that I live and work in. I have been giving to United Way of Salt Lake for years because I believe in, and see the positive effect, that United Way has on our community.

Why did you join Leadership Circle?

I have been a member of the Young Leaders and recently the Women’s Leadership Council. When Leadership Circle was created, I thought it would be a good opportunity to participate and have a place where I can donate my time as well as money. I also like the focus on education. There are children in my life that I care about dearly and want to be sure that all children have the opportunity to have someone believe in them and let them know they can learn.

When I was in grade school, due to some unfortunate circumstances that some might have deemed “failures of the school system,” I started 3rd grade on a 2nd grade reading level. At the time, I felt that school wasn’t fun, at least the reading and math part (art, music, and recess were my favorites). Because of the determination of three people (my mom, my 3rd/4th grade teacher, and eventually myself), I caught up to grade level and was slightly ahead by the time I entered the 5th grade. I went on to graduate from college and have since gone back to get an MBA. I have often thought about the other kids that were in my 1st and 2nd grade classes and wondered if they had similar determined people helping them.

The only true “failure” of any system (school or otherwise) is when we give up. I want to let kids know that people care, that myself and our community have not given up on them.  While this can seem a daunting task and too large at times, I believe it is important to start somewhere. United Way of Salt Lake changed its approach a number of years ago, to create a laser-like focus where we all can see results and improve our efforts. Once honed and proven, this work can spread to help more people in our community. And it isn’t just talk! Changing the odds for kids and families has started. This is why I participate in United Way of Salt Lake’s Leadership Circle with both my money and my time.

What community issues are you concerned with?

Giving people the tools they need to have a better life. I’m passionate about education (I even wanted to be a teacher like my wonderful 3rd/4th grade teacher). I love the United Way of Salt Lake’s cradle to career approach because education and learning set a foundation for a better community.

What industry do you work in, and what do you do for your company?

I work at Zions Bank. I am the Channel Strategy Manager and with my team we define the strategy for ATM, Online, Mobile, Branch Automation, and the Contact Center for Zions Bank.

As a Leadership Circle member, what are you excited to participate in? (Social events, networking, volunteering, leadership development, etc.)

Another aspect that I like about donating time with United Way of Salt Lake, is that I get to meet people who are also philanthropic; people who care about others around them.  I have met some wonderful people and strengthened friendships. While I am most excited about volunteer opportunities, I have really enjoyed the leadership development, social events, and networking that I have attended with Young Leaders and I am excited to participate with the Leadership circle.

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To find out more about Leadership Circle and how you can get involved, please visit our website or contact Drew at