Today, we are officially welcoming Michelle Van Dyke as the new President/CEO of Heart of West Michigan United Way!
Michelle worked for Fifth Third Bank and its predecessor, Old Kent Bank, for more than 30 years in a variety of executive and leadership positions, including as regional president and head of the bank’s mortgage company. During that time, she served on several boards of nonprofit organizations in our community and found her passion in supporting United Way. We asked Michelle a few questions to learn more about her background, the issues closest to her heart, and her plans for her first few months at United Way.
How long have you lived in West Michigan and what makes our community special to you?
My husband Mike and I both graduated from Calvin College in 1985, and other than two short stints in Chicago, we have lived in Grand Rapids for 31 years. We love living in West Michigan because of the family-centered culture and the variety of activities to be involved in. Most of our extended family is in the area now too, so that makes it extra special!
What brings you to United Way?
I have been an avid supporter and advocate of United Way for the past 30 years. It is a wonderful fit for me. I am passionate about improving lives, and I am ready to make my second career making a difference in the community that we all love.
United Way strives to be authentic, collaborative, transparent, inclusive, and trustworthy to sustain a productive and welcoming culture. Which of these core values is most important to you?
Collaboration is most important to me because my work has always been centered on the team -- listening, sharing ideas, and working together to ensure the best outcomes. When we collaborate, truly collaborate, we can be assured that we will be authentic, transparent, inclusive, and build trust.
What causes/issues are closest to your heart?
Closest to my heart are issues surrounding education and programming that gives children a better hope for the future. A strong foundation of learning is essential to building skills that will provide income, housing, and security.
What are your plans for your first 100 days at United Way?
I will be a sponge, eager to learn. I will ask questions and listen attentively to the answers. Building partnerships with agencies, funders, donors, and employees is key. We still have a couple of months to complete our current year's fundraising campaign too, and I know I will be able to add value there as well.