Shawna Forsberg is President and CEO of United Way of the Midlands (UWM.) She joined UWM as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications in April 2013, and built its brand and reputation with key stakeholders and engaged the next generation of donors. In 2014, she assumed the role as President and CEO.
Prior to joining UWM, Shawna was the Director of Marketing and Public Relations at The Durham Museum from 2007-2013. During her time at the museum she was instrumental in developing marketing and public relations strategies that led to growth in revenue, memberships, attendance and the organization’s reputation and brand. From 2000-2007, she served in marketing and communication roles at Conagra Brands where she led the corporate marketing department and was responsible for three functional teams, event marketing, social media, creative services and strategy and execution for brand and business leadership.
At UWM, Shawna’s work focuses on providing critical funding to help our neighbors meet their most basic needs including access to healthy food, physical and mental health services, safe and affordable housing and academic supports, with the ultimate goal of helping families achieve long-term financial stability. With a focus on maximizing donor investments, during her tenure, UWM achieved a ranking of 17th in the network out of 1,400 United Ways for operational performance in the U.S.
She led the development and rollout of a new “open grant” funding strategy, ensuring impact will be measured and donors’ dollars are invested wisely. Under Shawna’s leadership, great progress has been made and shows that we are well on our way to achieve our 2025 community impact goals.
The organization launched a Book Trust Program that addresses grade level reading, the Opportunity Youth Hub that engages 16-24 year-olds in education and essential work skills to obtain meaningful employment and an Attendance Coalition to build awareness about chronic absenteeism.
Shawna earned a Masters of Business Administration from Sam Houston State University. She received a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she majored in marketing and international business and studied abroad at Senshu University, Tokyo Japan and Mansfield College at Oxford University. In 2016, she completed the United Way’s Executive Leadership Development Program which included coursework at the Center for Creative Leadership, Harvard University and Deloitte University.
She currently serves on the Omaha Chamber Board of Directors and Omaha Community Partnership. She is a trustee of the Business Ethics Alliance. In 2016, Shawna was selected for a three year term on the National Professional Council which is made up of an astute group of chief executive officers from across the country that focuses on identifying common challenges and solutions for the local United Way chapters.
Her career has been defined by extensive strategic vision in not-for-profit and for-profit organizations. One of her most cherished roles is wife and mother. She and her husband, Grant, have three children, Seth, London and Devon. Shawna is a native Nebraskan and loves calling this Omaha-Council Bluffs community “home.”