Director, Community Partnerships & Investment, United Way London & Middlesex

Honours BA Recreation & Leisure Studies Co-op, Business & Parks (1997), University of Waterloo

Picture of Sara Middleton As a member of the senior management team, Sara is responsible for planning and implementing the organization's Community Impact Agenda and ensuring the responsible investment of approximately $6 million in social services and programs annually.

In addition, she has served as chair of the Alberta Camping Association, as a board member with the Canadian Camping Association, and as a volunteer with YWCA Canada. Sara is currently a member of the London Youth Advisory Council Advisors group, a board member with London Training Centre and a member of a number of community planning collaboratives. An avid runner, Sara is a member of Team nuun.

Sara’s previous roles include Manager of a large year-round outdoor education centre with YWCA Edmonton, Program Director at YMCA Kitchener-Waterloo and coordinator of recreation programs for a small, rural municipality. In addition, she has done independent contract work in the areas of fund development, program evaluation and planning.

For Sara, studying recreation at Waterloo meant considering a wide variety of employment options after graduation. She believes that the depth and variety in the program meant she graduated with knowledge that crossed a number of sectors and she continues to apply that knowledge in her day-to-day, including program development and evaluation, customer service, business communications, and volunteer management. Pairing the program with co-op meant she graduated with more work experience than many of her peers and fast-tracked her job search. In addition, the Recreation Department allowed close access to professors and PhD students as well as first-hand knowledge off their research as it was developing.

Sara’s advice for students looking to enter the workforce is:
Do the work for the person reviewing your application! Tell us how your experience can benefit our organization. Show me how your skills and experience will translate in our environment and how you can add to our team. Don't discount your experience -- you are likely bringing transferable skills to the position even if it is in a different sector or is unpaid or volunteer. While in school - hone your abilities as a writer, a skill that is always valued!

Affiliation: 
University of Waterloo