United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley Strengthens Leadership with Five New Members on Board of Directors

United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley welcomes Carol D. Birks, Ed.D. of Allentown School District, Scott Blair of B. Braun Medical Inc., Pete Ruggiero of Crayola, Tyrone Russell of Faces International Marketing and Development and Jill Wheeler of City Center Investment Corporation to the organization’s Board of Directors.
“Each new member brings years of experience and expertise to United Way. We look forward to working together to advance the health, safety and education of every person in the Greater Lehigh Valley,” said United Way Board Chair Dorota Gasienica-Kozak, partner in King, Spry, Herman, Freund & Faul, LLC law firm.
Carol D. Birks, Ed.D. is the Superintendent for the Allentown School District. She is a catalytic and transformational educational thought leader with extensive experience in organizational leadership, community engagement and empowerment, executive coaching and change management. The leadership practices she implements are designed to enhance the systems, structures and practices within organizations to accelerate academic progress and promote systems thinking. Dr. Birks began her career as a teacher, quickly growing her administrative capacity by serving as a school, district and state leader. These roles include Teacher, Assistant Principal and Principal for Bridgeport Public Schools, Assistant Superintendent and Chief of Staff for Hartford Public Schools and Superintendent of Schools for New Haven Public Schools and Chester Upland School District.
Scott Blair of B. Braun Medical Inc. is an accomplished educator, mentor/coach and diversity, equity and inclusion thought leader and practitioner. Blair joined B. Braun in April 2022 as its inaugural DEI leader in the role of Senior Director for DE&I. Blair is responsible for building upon and implementing strategies that will encourage and build an inclusive and diverse workforce throughout the company. He also has the privilege of leading B. Braun’s dynamic Employee Resource Group community and supporting the Company’s health equity, sustainability and supplier diversity work. Blair brings close to 20 years of experience in Higher Education, having served in a variety of inaugural DEI leadership positions committed to advancing DEI including professional development facilitation faculty/staff recruitment and strategic planning efforts focused on Inclusive Excellence.
Pete Ruggiero is the Chief Operating Officer for Crayola LLC, the global leading consumer products brand in the children’s creative expression category. Under his leadership, Crayola automated U.S. manufacturing, integrated LEAN and Six Sigma into operating processes, executed numerous environmental sustainability initiatives, and expanded global market share during the pandemic. In his current role, Ruggiero is responsible for Crayola’s global supply chain, global product integrity, global consumer insights, U.S. sales, and International commercial business units.
Tyrone Russell is the Chief Executive Officer of Faces International Marketing and Development, LLC. He is an entrepreneur, community advocate, brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated and an award-winning higher education professional. Formerly serving as the Coordinator of Racial and Ethnic Justice with the Community Action Agency of the Lehigh Valley, and as the Director of Multicultural Affairs at Lehigh University, Tyrone executes cultural realization sessions and diversity trainings throughout the region for corporations, non-profits, municipalities and school districts. He assists organizations in creating strategic frameworks to increase inclusion while enhancing tools and experiences that decrease institutional and personal biases that impact culture and day-to-day operations.
Jill Wheeler is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for City Center Investment Corporation. In her role, she applies more than 25 years of experience to developing and implementing corporate strategy for sales, marketing and communications. Wheeler joined City Center Investment Corporation in 2017 and has since helped lead leasing activity, including securing ADP as the anchor tenant of Five City Center and launching the Downtown Allentown Market. She has also overseen the expansion of integrated marketing for City Center’s office, retail, hotel and residential properties, as well as the programming of the development’s public spaces. Wheeler is currently a board member of the Lehigh Valley Commercial & Industrial Real Estate Foundation and sits on the Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital Ambassador Council.
“We’re focused on building a community where every person belongs and every person thrives. We’re fortunate to benefit from the leadership and vision that each of our new members brings to our Board of Directors,” remarked United Way President David Lewis.
With total revenue exceeding $26 million, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley raises funds and invests in lasting solutions in the areas of education, healthy aging, and community stability.
Birks, Blair, Ruggiero, Russell and Wheeler will serve three-year terms effective July 1, 2023.