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United Way names Edens exec Fawcett president and CEO

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Edens executive Sara Seitz Fawcett has been named the next president and CEO of the United Way of the Midlands. Fawcett, presently vice president for human resources at Edens, will assume her new role in early June, succeeding Mac Bennett, who has held the position for 12 years.

FawcettFawcett was selected after a national search that drew more than 270 applicants, according to a press release. An ad hoc search committee of current and former board members worked with search firm Capital Development Services to narrow the field and recommended Fawcett for the position.

Fawcett, whose appointment was approved Tuesday by United Way directors, is the first female to hold the president and CEO position in the organization’s 92-year history. 

“We look forward to a bright future with Sara leading the charge for improving the health, education and financial stability of everyone in the Midlands,” Holt Chetwood, chairman of the United Way board and Midlands market president at Wells Fargo, said in a statement. “She has the skills and experience to make the Midlands a better place to live for everyone.”

At Columbia-based Edens, Fawcett provides executive human resources leadership to one of the largest privately held commercial real estate development companies in the United States, reporting directly to the CEO. She supports 265 employees in 10 offices nationally. Fawcett worked at Wachovia Bank in various roles from 1990 until joining Edens in 2004. 

As a volunteer with the United Way, Fawcett served as campaign co-chair alongside Mike Brenan, state president for BB&T, from 2015-2017, raising more than $21 million. She has also served as a member of the board since 2012, chair of the Community Impact Committee from 2013-2015, and chair of the Financial Stability Council in 2012-2013. She is a member of United Way’s Palmetto Society and Women in Philanthropy.

“United Way of the Midlands has a longstanding tradition of bringing together the people, expertise and resources needed to tackle the biggest problems facing our community, and I am honored to continue those efforts by working with our tremendous staff, volunteers and donors,” Fawcett said in a statement.

Under Bennett’s leadership, United Way relocated to its new headquarters at 1818 Blanding St. and a record-breaking $11 million campaign this past year.

“Serving as president and CEO of United Way has been a privilege that I will always cherish,” Bennett said in a statement. “Sara’s experience in the corporate world as well as her volunteer work with United Way have uniquely prepared her to meet the challenges we face. I know that she will work hard to unite our donors, volunteers and supporters to meet the needs of the community.”

There will be some overlap between Fawcett’s arrival at United Way and Bennett’s departure. Fawcett will start at United Way in early June, and Bennett’s last day at United Way will be June 30.

“During his time at United Way, Mac has had a tremendous impact on the community and the organization,” Chetwood said.

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