Marshfield Area United Way has new director; Jero eyes retirement
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield Area United Way has a new director. Former communications director, Ashley Winch, will now serve as the organization’s executive director, as Paula Jero retires.
“I will be retiring May 22 is my last day at United Way,” Jero said. “It’s a combination of things – primarily, we had an opportunity that my husband, in his different position, to be co-located between two different communities. So, we just decided that this was kind of the time. He will be retiring in a few years, so we are starting to make that transition. Sometimes, you know when it is time.”
Jero said that she has noticed great change over the nearly one dozen years she has served with the United Way, with increasing hands-on activities, business involvement, and a larger number of volunteers.
“There have been a number of changes,” Jero said. “When I came, we had about 200 volunteers that were involved in United Way. These couple of past years, we’ve had over 1,000. So, I think a lot more people have become engaged in United Way, and really supporting our work that way.
“I like to think of every volunteer as kind of a ripple in a pond. They tell people about their involvement, and so I think it just continues to have a greater impact in the community.”
Jero said that Nutrition on Weekends (NOW) was probably the most labor intensive, but impactful introduction to the program.
“That’s the first time that we took on something that was weekly; it was a huge commitment for a very small staff,” she said.
Jero said that she will take time to enjoy her horse, hobbies, and grandchildren in her retirement.
“I have no doubt that I will be volunteering again very soon,” she added. “I am not one to sit and do nothing.”
As Jero departs, Winch take over the position of director; she officially filled the role as of May 1. Krystal Bohman steps into Winch’s former role as communications director, and Cassie Zopfi has been introduced as the resource and office manager.
“This is a really great opportunity for some personal growth for me,” Winch explained. “I didn’t always plan on saying ‘yes’ to taking on this executive director role, so I am really looking forward to the opportunity to grow as a person and to still be able to work in the community that I’ve lived in most of my life.”
Winch is a 1998 graduate of Marshfield High School and a 2004 UW-La Crosse graduate. She joined the United Way in 2011.
“The plan right now is to get everybody situated in their new role. There is a lot of change happening and it has been happening now for a couple of years,” she said. “It will be nice that we are promoting from within and hiring, because now we are at least trained in versatile roles.
“It has been a pleasure to work with Paula the past seven and a half years; (I’ve) learned so much. She has been a great mentor and role model.”
“When you leave an organization that you put a lot of time and energy into,” Jero responded,” there is no better feeling then knowing that it is in great hands.”