Top leadership team appointed at newly-amalgamated United Way Halton & Hamilton

HALTON & HAMILTON, ON – June 12, 2017 – Two months after the amalgamation of four United Ways across south central Ontario, the new organization – United Way Halton & Hamilton (UWHH) – has now appointed its top leadership team.

  • Anne Bermingham, president 2WA Consulting, is the new Board chair.
  • Jeff Vallentin, former president & CEO of United Way Burlington & Greater Hamilton, is the new president and CEO.
  • Ken Smithard, president Cogeco Connexion, is the campaign cabinet chair for this year’s inaugural, UWHH campaign.

“We were lucky to be able to draw upon a strong pool of very committed and talented leaders from the four former boards,” said Bermingham. “We have been able to bring together an experienced and diverse team that has a broad compliment of skills and perspectives.”

Board chairs from the founding United Ways in Burlington & Greater Hamilton, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville recruited the new board and appointed the president & CEO. The complete list of UWHH’s board of directors can be viewed here and UWHH’s staff team can be viewed here

This historic amalgamation came as a result of an extensive, two-year process of discussion and study throughout the region aimed at discovering new ways for United Way to strengthen its ability to serve each local community.

“Ultimately, the choice to come together was driven by a strong consensus among volunteers and leaderships from our founding organizations that we must look for innovative ways to create meaningful, measurable change,” said Bermingham. “Together, the new United Way Halton & Hamilton promises to provide a more cohesive approach to supporting social service programming across the region and in each local community.”

With the guiding principle of “what’s raised local, stays local”, the new organization promises all dollars raised in local communities will continue to be invested in high quality programs focused on people in those communities. Through the generosity and partnership of thousands of donors and hundreds of workplaces, the new United Way Halton & Hamilton proudly serves a region with a combined population of more than 1 million people.

United Way Halton & Hamilton kicks off its first combined campaign starting in September 2017 led by newly appointed Campaign Cabinet Chair and President of Cogeco, Ken Smithard.

“Ken brings tremendous business and financial acumen to the role of cabinet chair. He also cares deeply about the communities in our region and is dedicated to United Way’s mission of improving lives by raising and investing money locally” said United Way Halton & Hamilton President & CEO Jeff Vallentin.

United Way emphasizes that donations are accepted all year long and the staff team is available to work with any partner to raise much-needed resources at any time of the year.

Anne Bermingham, has a long and distinguished record of service to the community. An organizational development consultant by profession, she is the former Board chair of United Way Burlington & Greater Hamilton. Prior to her work on the board, Anne was the 2009 campaign chair and served as cochair of the leaders campaign for United Way Burlington & Greater Hamilton for 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011. She is past board chair of the YMCA of Hamilton & Burlington, and past president of the Rotary Club of Hamilton and the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction. In 2002, Anne received Hamilton’s Athena Award for professional excellence, community service, and for actively mentoring women.

“Anne is a remarkable community leader and we are grateful for her continuing commitment to
United Way. With her background in facilitating organizational change, she’s the ideal person to
lead the Board during this time of transition.” ~ Jeff Vallentin

Jeff served as interim president & CEO of UWHH since January and his appointment was made permanent by the board in April. Prior to joining United Way in 2014, Jeff served as vice president, communications, stakeholder relations and corporate services for Hamilton Health Sciences, one of Canada’s largest academic hospital networks. Throughout his career, Jeff has focused consistently on fostering organizational cultures that value and practice openness and accountability. He is a champion of change and has played a leading role in successfully accomplishing a number of precedent-setting integrations and practice improvements, including this United Way amalgamation.

“Since joining United Way, Jeff has demonstrated extraordinary leadership and vision. He has served tirelessly, guiding the process to achieve our amalgamation. Now our board turns to him with great confidence as we work to successfully bring to life the new consolidated organization.” ~ Anne Bermingham

KEN SMITHARD, 2017-18 UWHH Campaign Cabinet Chair
Ken Smithard joined Cogeco in 1999 and rose steadily through the ranks before being named President of Cogeco Connexion in 2016. Cogeco Connexion is the second largest cable operator in Ontario and Québec providing residential and small business customers with video, Internet and telephone services. Previous to Cogeco, Ken held various senior level management positions at Canadian Tire Financial Services. In addition to volunteering to lead this year’s United Way campaign, Ken sits on the Boards of Directors of Cable 14 in Hamilton, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, and the Burlington Performing Arts Centre.

“Ken brings tremendous business and financial acumen to the role of cabinet chair. He also cares deeply about the communities in our region and is dedicated to United Way’s mission of improving lives by raising and investing money locally.” ~ Jeff Vallentin


About United Way Halton & Hamilton: United Way Halton & Hamilton is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of people in the local communities of Burlington, Halton Hills, Hamilton, Milton and Oakville. Through focused effort, strategic collaboration and matching generosity with needs that are great, United Way will bring meaningful, measurable change. We are strong advocates for people and families in our communities who need and deserve opportunities to grow and thrive.

Bobbie Oates
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications
United Way Halton & Hamilton
Mobile 905.541.8104