‘The United way lady’ bids farewell to organization

by Angie Riebe, Mesabi Tribune, October 28, 2020

Although the daughter of a mining engineer, “the United Way Lady,” as she was then known, had never actually stepped foot on a mining property until she began working at a local nonprofit agency nearly 30 years ago.

Shelley Valentini, however — whose nickname still sometimes surfaces — was rather quickly acquainted with agglomerators, concentrators, and crushers after taking a job with the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota, where for a long time she was its one and only employee.

“My father passed away a few months before I started working for United Way, never knowing how much time I would spend at mining properties in my life,” Valentini said recently, reflecting on 29 years with the charitable organization, 25 of which she served as executive director.

Her dad, who worked for Erie Mining Co., “would have been so tickled.”

Valentini retired in July, after overseeing many changes at UWNEMN. She is currently working from home as an executive advisor through February, assisting with the transition as 16-year employee Erin Shay steps into the role as executive director.

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