Michael Naaman, Gwen Neal

Former United Way of Leflore County President Michael Naaman, left, stands next to the current president, Gwen Neal.

United Way of Leflore County brought in a new president along with the new year.

Gwen Neal has been selected to serve as the charitable organization’s president this year.

“We are excited to welcome Gwen Neal as our 2020 president and look forward to another great year for United Way under her leadership,” Courtney Kimmel, executive director, said in a press release.

Neal is the director of service excellence at Greenwood Leflore Hospital and a certified patient experience professional.

The 54-year-old resides in Tupelo on weekends and in Greenwood during the week. She has had a condo in Greenwood for nearly a decade and has lived in Mississippi for twice that. Originally from Chicago, Neal got her bachelor’s degree in business at Mississippi State University. She has two children, two grandchildren and a fiancé.

Neal’s desire to help people is what landed her in the health care industry.

“When I lived in Chicago, I worked in the financial industry, and when I relocated to Mississippi, I wanted a job where I could help people.  Tupelo hospital hired me, and that is how my over 20 years in the health-care career began,” she said.

Neal spends a chunk of her free time lending a helping hand in the community, and she said she meets most of her connections through the hospital.

“I deal a lot, in my own spare time, with our homeless population — helping to get them back on their feet, finding a place to stay, signing up for benefits, food, clothing, assisting with finding a job or getting registered for school,” Neal said.

Neal has been on the United Way board for four years now, but she says that not much will change with the new position.

“Nothing other than the title has changed. The role I play will continue to be to serve our community in the best way possible,” she said.

She also shared a few emails from those she’s helped in the past who sang nothing but praise for the work she did for them.

Neal is involved in many of the projects at the hospital and knows that her work with those will continue. “As a hospital, our mission is to help others,” she said.

Contact Kerrigan Herret at 581-7233 or kherret@gwcommonwealth.com.

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