Ready to Create Change
In her ascendancy to a historic leadership role, Ali Haigh ’14 has an important message to share.
“Women can do anything that they put their mind to,” says Haigh, the first female president and chief executive of the United Way of Racine County in the nonprofit’s 97-year history.
Haigh has been practicing what she preaches ever since she came to Alverno at age 30, taking on a full load of 18 credits per semester while working full time and raising three kids.
“I wanted my daughters to see that if you put your heart, mind and effort into things, you can achieve it,” she says. “I wanted my son to see that he has a mom who is strong and capable.”
Haigh chose Alverno because her sister and her best friend, both alumnae, promised her that her an Alverno education would change her life. They were right.
“Alverno taught me self-confidence, self-worth and how to be a leader,” she says. “I came to understand my own capabilities and what I could bring to the table.”
At Alverno, Haigh practiced the 8 Abilities and how to apply them in a variety of situations. She learned how to work with people from diverse backgrounds, and she developed her communication and social skills on a professional level. Alverno’s supportive faculty and assessment model pushed her to try new things.
“Once you are able to see that you can achieve the challenge they put in front of you, it makes you want to try harder and achieve more,” she says.
In Haigh’s case, she not only earned her degree, but she did so with honors. She proved, to herself, her ability to succeed. She also proved it to her colleagues at United Way, where she had been working in the investor relations team.
“I was promoted to vice president a month after I graduated from Alverno,” she says. “The education I received set me up for success.”
As vice president of investor relations, Haigh oversaw fundraising and marketing initiatives. Under her leadership, the fundraising team began to build deeper relationships with donors and community members. As a result, the United Way of Racine County has experienced record fundraising campaigns and significantly expanded the organization’s volunteer base.
In her new role as president and chief executive, she is in charge of raising approximately $5 million annually — funds that are put to work building an educated work force. Born and raised in Racine County, Haigh is personally and professionally invested in achieving success.
“My family and friends are here, so to be able to go to work every day and focus on creating opportunity for a community that I love and care about so deeply is, hands down, what I’m most excited about,” she says.
The work takes a village. United Way’s positive impact is the result of collaboration and partnership with the very community it serves.
“Together, we have the opportunity to create change and hopefully have a systemic impact,” she says.