Metro United Way Employee Spotlight: Mia Cooper
Manager, Excellence Academy
Describe what you do at Metro United Way (MUW):
I am the manager of Early Care and Education with my primary responsibility being the program manager of our Excellence Academy early learning centers. My role at Metro United Way is to be the eyes and ears of all things early childhood to ensure the children and families in our community have access to quality nurturing learning environments for life long success. I work closely with our partnering agencies, foundations and business leaders to address childcare challenges and open up new opportunities to meet the needs of child care educators, directors and staff.
What makes Metro United Way stand out as an employer?
Because Metro United Way is directly focused on the community's most pressing needs, their mission and vision is demonstrated every day through the great work they do. As an employer they not only Give and Advocate for the community, they do the same for their staff. Metro United Way has the massive breadth to touch the lives of everyone in the community in some way. Their impact is far reaching and all encompassing.
What are some of the highlights working for Metro United Way?
First and foremost, Metro United Way is a family first employer. They understand the challenges and real life experiences families face. Because of this understanding, they encourage staff to put family first and take time for self care. Working remotely and/or utilizing the flexible work schedule options are a huge plus for working parents or staff who are caregivers and need that ability. They also embrace diversity in the organizational culture by challenging staff to think differently and be a representation of the community we serve.
What has been your biggest accomplishment during your time so far at Metro United Way?
While working at Metro United Way, I have experienced many significant accomplishments as the manager of the Excellence Academy. If I were to rate them, it would be the building of the first nationally certified natural playground in Jefferson County in partnership with GE Appliances and Keystone Learning Academy. Before becoming the manager of the Excellence Academy I had never heard of a natural playground, the play through nature movement, or an outdoor classroom. To see a concept and vision come to life by hundreds of volunteers and be built in one day was an amazing accomplishment. The hard work building up to, the emotion displayed by all the day of, and the sense of pride embodied by the community there after, is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
How do you view your role in our community?
Before coming to Metro United Way I didn't know what my role was in the community. However after being here I now see myself as a change leader and resource to the community. As a change leader, I look for ways to continuously evolve by using my time, talent and expertise whenever and wherever I can. I love working with people, learning from others, and being a trusted resource to anyone looking for assistance. I believe it takes all of us to build a strong foundation for the future.