Our Mission & Priorities

To improve lives and build communities by leveraging collective resources and mobilizing collective action to achieve the greatest impact.

Everyone in Simcoe Muskoka deserves a chance to lead a good life. This conviction drives thousands of dedicated donors, volunteers and community partners to come together through United Way Simcoe Muskoka to generate the caring power to advance measurable, lasting change in our region
– for today’s residents and for generations to come.

When we work together on important community issues, the results are game-changing.

We’re creating pathways to prosperity.

Poverty touches most aspects of a person’s life from food, shelter and employment, to mental and physical well-being. This complex issue has a social and economic impact that affects entire communities and everyone who lives there.

It’s not somebody else’s problem. Community challenges belong to all of us. Together, we need to take action and address local poverty head-on.

How can we create a lasting difference in our region? By unleashing our local love – one generous act at a time. Your donation powers UWSM’s crucial work, allowing us to target funds and mobilize on-the-ground efforts to tackle persistent social issues where they start.

That’s how we change lives, today and for years to come.
UWSM Strategic Plan. 2018/2019 – 2022/2023
Volunteer Now. Your generosity can make an Impact

Staff team

Embracing different abilities, perspectives and experiences, we are jointly motivated by a strong commitment to service – to our donors, our neighbours and our region. Our achievements are defined by the collective success of the communities we serve. Devoted to excellence and innovation, we strive to go beyond expectations, always seeking new and better ways to achieve our shared goals.

Dale Biddell
Chief Executive Officer

“People provide me with the motivation, inspiration and desire to leave my campsite better than I found it.” With an M.A. in Philanthropy and 25+ years in business and community leadership, Dale has established four charitable foundations and served on 10 boards. Recently, the change maker, coach and collaborator has transformed United Way Simcoe Muskoka into a leading-edge social-change agency. She values UWSM’s unique role in understanding the most pressing challenges facing local communities, partnering to find solutions, and engaging donors to build the communities we all want to live in.

Lynne Trotechaud
Women’s Leadership Council Associate/Board Liaison

Although born in Orillia, Lynne lived abroad before recently returning to Simcoe Muskoka. Now she is enjoying re-acquainting herself with local communities and learning about the work that’s being done to make them stronger. At UWSM, she supports the Board of Directors and the growth of Women’s Leadership Council, a philanthropic network addressing the issues affecting women and girls. Lynne, who studied Community and Justice Services, spent several years at a non-profit in Mexico with the same focus. Our countries and communities may look very different, she observes, but core needs are very similar.

Mary Thomas
Director, Strategic Development

UWSM’s mission and Mary’s are one in the same: the desire to make a difference in the community. After early success in the technology sector, she decided to follow her heart and employ her sales and management skills to improve life for our most vulnerable populations. Now, with more than a decade of volunteering and experience at some of Ontario’s largest public and non-profit organizations, Mary is dedicated to building the strategies and gathering the resources to ensure every resident of Simcoe Muskoka has the tools to craft successful lives.

Paulina Robertson
Senior Relationship Manager

Paulina joined UWSM after leading fundraising portfolios at two other United Ways. She speaks from experience as she develops further collaborations between UWSM and the local labour movement. Many years ago, she received help from a community program and realized the importance of such easily accessible and strong support systems. An opportunity to join United Way turned into a 23-year career (so far!) and she hasn’t looked back. She thinks the best part of her job is working with like-minded individuals who see the need and are willing to support UWSM.

Lori-Ann Seward
Relationship Manager

An active volunteer throughout her adult life and a current leader of the local Francophone community, Lori-Ann has passion for non-profit initiatives that create a lasting community impact. She contributes to UWSM by fostering mutually beneficial relationships with the donors who make this impact happen. Having complemented her Business Administration Degree with a post-graduate Fundraising and Resource Development Certificate, Lori-Ann appreciates the ongoing mentorship she receives from the leaders at UWSM, who she recognizes as “pioneers of social innovation.”

Suzanne Prosser
Relationship Manager (Muskoka, Orillia & North Simcoe)

With a self-admitted need to help people, Suzanne loves to share information about the resources available in local communities – and how UWSM funding makes a difference in the lives of our neighbours by making those resources stronger and more accessible. Her 20 years in the charitable sector has taught her the value of listening – to the challenges of front-line staff who deliver programming; to residents who are affected in so many different ways to the pressures of today’s world, and to the donors who each have a vision of a better tomorrow.

Laara Losier
Relationship Manager

Laara sees herself as a community connector, matching people interested in making a donation to the right giving opportunity. She realizes she was fortunate to have grown up in a community and a family that surrounded her with support and gave her a great start. Now she wants to build on her education (a B.A. in English and a Volunteer Management Certificate) and give back. Laara believes there is something truly satisfying in bringing individuals together, connecting them to a common goal, and building a better, brighter community because of it.

Rosslyn Junke
Director, Community Impact

After six years assisting regional employees with their UWSM fundraising, Roz moved to the community impact and investment side of the house where she oversees the deployment of donor dollars with the help of passionate and skilled volunteers. A B.A. in Canadian Studies and post-graduate certificate in Resource Development provide an ideal foundation for the multi-layered challenges Roz faces while addressing high-priority social issues and local service gaps. She feels fortunate to live, work and volunteer in a community where there is such strong cross-sector collaboration tackling these big problems.

Jenna Thorkildsen
Programs Coordinator, Community Impact

Jenna, a recent graduate from the Georgian College Social Service Worker Program with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Guelph, has always been interested in helping others any way that she can. She grew up in a very small town two hours north of Barrie, so has been enjoying getting to know the Simcoe Muskoka area. She feels that by working in the Community Impact department and helping to administer the Homelessness Partnering Strategy program, she has started her career off in the perfect place.

Dan Shepherdson,
B.MATH, CPA, CMA, CIA, FCIS, CRMA, P.ADM, PRO.DIR.
Director, Corporate Services

Dan brings over 40 years of financial and corporate experience gained from a wide array of industry sectors. In addition to a Bachelor of Mathematics, he holds multiple professional accreditations, and is also a Professional Director. Dan’s career has included extensive experience in the areas of public accounting, internal audit, corporate management, entrepreneurial ventures, and academia, and for over 25 years, he held the position of Managing Director and Professional Counsel in a successful private financial practice, specializing in financial reporting, taxation, systems development, and general business, legal, and corporate consulting. Dan has held many senior executive appointments, including Director of Internal Audit, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Corporate Secretary, and Chief Compliance Officer, for both private, and publicly listed companies, and he is active on various Boards of Directors.  His experience and “outside the box” thinking is a key component that will help to ensure that the service offerings provided to our communities in Simcoe Muskoka are effective and efficient, and that we remain fully accountable to all our stakeholders.

Andrew McCullough
System Administrator

With a Master’s degree in History and graduate certificate in research, Andrew’s commitment to learning new things and applying that education is well documented. UWSM staff and volunteers rely on his ability to develop technology-based solutions that streamline processes, increase internal capacity, and produce valuable data that drives funding decisions. Andrew credits his research background for his ability to visualize and present innovative solutions. His thirst for knowledge and efficacy is quenched on a daily basis as he confronts new and varied challenges that are important for his community’s wellbeing.