Shelley Valentini
Executive Director

Shelley has been with the United Way of NEMN for 24 years, with 20 years as the Executive Director. She has three adult sons, but as a stay at home mom she volunteered and organized events for years around the activities her sons were involved in. "Being a volunteer was a natural lead in for the position I'm in. I understand the passion and time that volunteers are being asked to commit to when serving the United Way organization. I've stayed with the United Way for all these years because I love the job I am doing! It is never boring, ever-changing, often exciting and the thousands of caring people I've met over the years are fantastic! I've seen the impact that people can make through participating in United Way in some way and it awe-inspiring the way it connects all of us." Away from work Shelley loves to be active, biking, skiing, walking, swimming, etc. Besides her sons, she has two daughter-in-laws, four-grandchildren, two grand-dogs and a great husband. She also travels with a group of girlfriends that she has pulled into volunteering for United Way.

Erin Shay
Community Impact & Engagement Director
After completing her Bachelor's Degree at the College of St. Scholastica, Erin opted to move back to her "home on the Range" where she came to find her position with the United Way in October of 2004. She has been able to fulfill her passion for working with people whether it is meeting with area employees to talk about the good things United Way does, planning a United Way event or working on the ever growing list of community impact initiatives the United Way coordinates. "It's amazing to me the amount of people I've been able to meet through United Way. I love going out and being able to tell them the unbelievable impact their donation is making on families and individuals right here in our communities." When Erin isn't at work her favorite place to be is at home with her husband, two little girls and their 70lb Labradoodle Maddie. Together, they keep busy playing, cooking, gardening, and spending time with their family and friends. In addition Erin enjoys anything outdoors that keeps her active and recently took up the sport of deer hunting.

Elizabeth Kelly
Development & Communications Manager
Elizabeth joined the United Way of NE MN team in February of 2012. Elizabeth is an Iron Range native, growing up in Chisholm. She spent 13 years in the Twin Cities, earning a Bachelor's Degree from the University of St. Thomas, a Master's Degree from Hamline University and working as development and event director for an educational nonprofit. Elizabeth always planned on moving back to the Iron Range and the opportunity at the United Way allowed her to return home. "It has always been my career goal to work for an organization on the Iron Range that allows me to help people and utilize my skills and experience. I am thrilled to be able to fulfill this goal right here at home with the United Way. I am proud to work for an organization that creates positive change, provides support to thousands and makes such a tremendous impact on our community." The true joy of Elizabeth's life is her son Ethan; she loves watching him learn, grow and play. In addition, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with family and friends, pontooning on Side Lake, reading, watching movies and walking her Maltese, Cooper.

Char Conger
Community Resource Manager

Char joined the United Way of NE MN team in August of 2014. After graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Montana-Missoula, Char returned home to Minnesota to be close to family and friends. After 11 years working in retail management, Char decided to pursue her passion for working with people and volunteering and joined United Way. “I have always felt more invested in my community and personally fulfilled when volunteering my time and engaging with the people in my community. Now I have to opportunity to do this on a daily basis, working for United Way and I truly feel blessed.” Char spends her free time traveling, camping, fishing, rollerblading, kayaking and archery and duck hunting with her husband and red lab Dozer. 

Gail Rice

Gail joined the United Way of NE MN team in February of 2012. She has been working as a bookkeeper for 15 years. "I love bookkeeping and working with numbers. I love to see things balance and enjoy the challenge of finding out why when they don't. I have worked in a variety of industries over the years but never for a non-profit organization. I am so impressed by the variety of programs and outreach the United Way of NE MN provides to the community." Gail and her husband Scott have been married for 35 years and have three grown children and five grandchildren. She currently resides in Hibbing but she grew up on Dewey Lake, north of Chisholm. Her grandchildren and her work with children at her church keep her free time busy.