United Way KFL&A announce John DiPaolo as new President and CEO

John DiPaolo, incoming President and CEO for the United Way KFL&A. Photo via United Way.

The United Way KFL&A Board of Directors has announced that John DiPaolo, the agency’s Vice President of Corporate Services, will replace outgoing President and CEO Bhavana Varma when she steps down on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023.

According to a release from the United Way, the selection was announced today, Tuesday, May 9, 2023, following a two-month search by the board.

“We are delighted that John will succeed Bhavana,” said Mary Rae, chair of the United Way Board. “He has worked with United Way for many years, and we look forward to continuing its vital and critical work with John in the top leadership job.”

A native of Kingston, DiPaolo joined the United Way in 2010 and has been Vice President of Corporate Services for the past 11 years, working closely with the President and CEO on the day-to-day operations, including financial management, human resources, and IT services. Before joining the United Way, he worked for eight years with regional and local economic development agencies, including five years with ELORIN (Eastern Lake Ontario Regional Innovation Network), a regional innovation network bio-business company. The United Way stated that he has a deep understanding of this region and its people.

“It is an incredible honour that the board has selected me,” DiPaolo said. “I look forward to building on the dynamic foundation developed under Bhavana’s leadership to position the United Way to help make lasting positive changes in the lives of our most vulnerable community members.”

During his time with the agency, DiPaolo has been involved in several local and national committees, the United Way noted, including the Transparency, Accountability, and Financial Reporting committee, which he co-chaired from 2016 to 2021. Since May 2021, he has also served as a member of the United Way Centraide Canada’s Membership Accountability and Performance Committee. United Way Centraide Canada is the national organization for 69 United Way agencies across Canada. In 2017, DiPaolo was one of 30 United Way staff members worldwide selected to participate in the United Way Worldwide Fellowship program, aimed at mid-career professionals with potential for senior leadership positions.

“Bhavana has worked extremely hard for this community for a very long time, and our entire team feels a sense of responsibility to continue this great work,” he continued.  “My time with the United Way has been a humbling experience and I will continue to work with our incredibly talented volunteers and staff.”

Although the change in leadership is still four months away, Varma is delighted to be turning the reins over to DiPaolo in the fall, the organization noted. She has spent 24 years as the agency’s top administrator.

“I will be leaving the organization in very good hands,” Varma said in a statement. “John has a great deal of experience, and he will be backed by a dedicated team of volunteers, board and staff. I am confident that this United Way will continue to grow from strength to strength as part of the strong network of community partners that seeks to help people live with hope, dignity and a sense of belonging.”

DiPaolo is a graduate of Regiopolis-Notre Dame Catholic High School and the St. Lawrence College Business Administration and Accounting program. He and his wife Lesley, both lifelong residents of Kingston, have two teenage children, Anna and Evan. 

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