Betty-Joan began her career with United Way MV in 2014, with previous experience as a practice manager for a multi-county healthcare practice, and a Master’s in Public Administration. She’s an experienced trainer and facilitator with 40 years in health and human services under her belt. Betty-Joan is a very passionate advocate and ally for equity of all people. Today, she is the Director of Community Impact and 211 Mid-York, overseeing various United Way initiatives. Betty-Joan has helped bring the 211 service to life in the Mohawk Valley, as a free, confidential, health and human service hot-line, powered by United Way of the Mohawk Valley, that can be dialed 24/7 to connect callers to existing local services quickly and easily.
United Way is a leading problem solver, innovator, and connector in the Mohawk Valley. Betty-Joan is a proven innovator on the United Way team, as she is constantly thinking of new ways to help people in the community. One of many examples of Betty-Joan’s innovations is her development of the 211 texting feature that encouraged community members effected by the October 31, 2019 flood to report their needs to Herkimer-Oneida Organizations Active in Disaster (HOOAD) by texting 898-211. This made gathering information a much quicker process, which allowed HOOAD and United Way MV to respond to the needs of the community more efficiently. Today, you can text MVJUSTICE to 898-211 to take our survey on racial justice in the Mohawk Valley Community.
When asked why she likes to work for United Way, Betty-Joan says “United Way's network provides a unique, forward looking perspective on how to best rethink our approach to improving outcomes. It’s fun to find a creative approach to a problem and help to make it happen here in the Mohawk Valley.”
2020 has been a trying year for many, especially agencies in need. A positive note for Betty-Joan this year was being able to facilitate the application process for COVID assistance, which allowed the MV COVID-19 Response Fund, a partnership between United Way MV and the Community Foundation, to quickly allocate over $1,000,000 to agencies in need. If you couldn’t already tell, her favorite part of her job is the pure satisfaction of helping to create change and a more supportive and just world for others.
Some fun facts about Betty-Joan are:
- She was born in Canada, and grew up in the North Country (St. Lawrence County), and has lived in the Utica area since the 1980s.
- Betty-Joan’s mentor/hero is her mother.
- Her favorite local pizza is garlic with red peppers from O’Scugnizzo’s, but if she’s cooking at home her current favorite thing to make is spanakopita.
- Betty-Joan’s favorite local spot to visit is the Munson-Williams Proctor Art Museum.
- Her best memories of the area include family dinners on Sunday afternoon.
- Betty-Joan’s hobbies include sewing, indoor gardening & refinishing furniture. Last year she completed her first glass mosaic art piece at the Oneida Square Public Art studio, which she loved to do!
- Her favorite musicians are her two oldest children Adam and Matthew Lomeo, who both play professionally. She loves Matt's voice on soulful stuff and loves to listen to Adam play classical or jazz guitar solos.
- If Betty Joan won the lottery, she would fund an additional housing shelter solution in the area.
Would She Rather?
We asked Betty-Joan some “Would you rather” questions, and here’s how she answered:
She would rather time travel than freeze time.
She would rather have the ability to fly than be invisible.
She’d prefer to live on a beach than a cabin the woods.
She’d rather be a famous director than an actor.
She’d want to be able to see into her own future than into the future of anyone else.
She’d rather have a golden voice than a silver tongue.