It was a bittersweet night back in August as the River Region celebrated the retirement of longtime United Way CEO and president, LaVerne Gold. She was a key part of the nonprofit since 1978, giving resources to several agencies, helping save programs, and also infusing new ones.
Jennie: LaVerne, thank you, and look at you. All rested and relaxed, she’s just been on a well deserved vacation!
LaVerne: I did, and just to wake up and not to have an agenda, just to do whatever comes to your mind and, just to reflect, and just not have an intense schedule all day every day. So it was really nice, different, but very very nice.
Jennie: What were some of the challenges, maybe, that you faced as a woman executive?
LaVerne: Oh wow, well, sometimes, the community may not take you seriously because you’re a female and you’re heading an organization that has a multimillion dollar base. But I think, for me, and what I am very proud of, is that I’m an Augusta native and I come from this community it wasn’t like I came from the outside. I’d say, be serious about the work that you want to do, and then I’d also say, build a network of people, good people with integrity around you. That includes staff, and that include board members as well. And have a mentor. I’ve been able to call on a lot of people in the community to help me, so building a base as you go.
Jennie: What’s next?
LaVerne: Well, I tell ya, I’ve had a couple of vacations, as we just mentioned. So that’s been very very exciting for me. My mom thinks now that I’m retired, so we’re gonna spend all day every day together. She’s 91, and so I’m spending more time with family and friends. And, joined the Y, so Monday was my first day. So I’m going today after I leave here, ’cause I didn’t go this morning. So I’m trying to get there two, three days a week. And then I’m going to just kinda settle back in right now. I’ve had some commitments that I need to follow through through the end of the year, and I’m gonna probably get through all those. And then the beginning of next year, I can decide what the next chapter will look like.