We are kicking off a new blog series to show appreciation for some of the people who have been instrumental in our fight for the basic needs, education and financial stability of our neighbors for the past century. Over the course of 2021, we will feature 100 of these heroes. We hope you will continue to tune in as we highlight some truly amazing people who have made a huge difference in our community. To learn more about how we are continuing to serve the Bluegrass in 2021, click here.
Today we are interviewing Paul Rooke, the former CEO of Lexmark, as well as the immediate past chair and current member of our Board of Directors.
What is your role within UWBG?
Right now, I’m a member of the UWBG Board of Directors. I was the chairman of the Board for the last 3 years, but we transitioned to a new chairman this year.
What does this role include? What would a normal day look like for you?
My activity is largely related to the Board’s activities in providing advice and counsel to the CEO, Timothy Johnson, and his senior management team about their strategies and plans for the future. I also have ongoing conversations with Timothy as a mentor where he can bring up ideas or I can give advice about issues that he may be dealing with.
As the former CEO of Lexmark, one of UWBG’s top supporters, can you tell us about that partnership?
Lexmark and UWBG have a longstanding relationship. I don’t recall when it started, but United Way and IBM were strong partners and I think that just continued when Lexmark took over. When I was leading Lexmark, we were big supporters of United Way and the employees there were big advocates for United Way and all of their constituents.
What do you think is the most special thing about UWBG?
The biggest thing is that UWBG serves the underserved. The power of United Way is that it brings various parties together to solve problems, whether it’s providing financial education, basic needs or just helping people get back on their feet. There are other wonderful organizations that are targeted toward specific needs, but United Way is a little more holistic in that they can bring a number of parties together to solve a collection of needs that folks in this community are looking for.
In your opinion, what positive change has UWBG made in the Bluegrass over the past 100 years?
UWBG has been a voice for the underserved and has brought resources together to help that effort. It’s evolved over the years from simply a funding organization to one that’s more integrated with the community, listening and forming solutions with the constituents to solve big problems.
What’s your favorite place in the Bluegrass?
Any place with my grandkids.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Bluegrass?
I think the countryside and rolling hills are really beautiful. Anytime I’m outside of the city, I always take in the peacefulness of the country.
“I’m encouraged and excited about the WayPoint centers that Timothy and his team are spearheading. I think they will be very effective in reaching the needs of the underserved. I’m excited about the future and the next hundred years. Hopefully we can get a lot more folks excited about what UWBG can bring!” - Paul Rooke
Thank you for being such a strong part of UWBG, Paul! We appreciate you and all that you do.
Do you know someone who has worked alongside United Way of the Bluegrass in the past century who should be considered for our 100 Heroes series? Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your nomination!