UWSC Names Next President and CEO


Ashley Thompson Announced as Next President and CEO of United Way of Story County


November 22, 2023

United Way of Story County (USWC) is pleased to announce the hiring of Ashley Thompson as the next President and CEO of the organization. Thompson will take the helm after current President and CEO Jean Kresse retires from 13 years at UWSC.

Thompson is a familiar face within the non-profit community. She has served on many boards and statewide associations, including the Iowa Hospital Association, Iowa Business Council, Iowa Association of Business & Industry, Iowa Rural Development Council, and Iowa Public Health Association. Locally, Thompson has served for 5 years on Story County’s human services funding collaboration, ASSET (Analysis of Social Services Evaluation Team), representing the City of Ames. She served on ASSET’s Administrative Team for three years in leadership positions and chaired the ASSET Board in 2021/22. With this experience, Thompson understands the needs in Story County and the partners and programs that support those needs. Her leadership helped the ASSET board navigate recommendations of over $4 million in resources to human service agencies in Story County. Deeply committed to United Way’s vision and mission, Thompson was also invited to join the UWSC Board of Directors earlier in 2023.

Thompson currently serves as the Executive Director of Volunteer Services at UnityPoint Health in Des Moines. While there, she has played a key role in strategic planning, program development, volunteer recruitment and retention, and management. Past experiences of Thompson’s have provided her leadership experience in advocacy work both locally and regionally, opportunities to oversee grant attainment and management, expertise in program expansion, and experience with fiscal operations. Throughout, Thompson has demonstrated her passion for the same values that United Way works toward.

Thompson’s vision for United Way of Story County is to build upon the transformative work that UWSC is doing by committing to innovation and harnessing the assets of our community. Thompson is eager to bring together those not yet in the fold and further amplify UWSC’s momentum of driving positive change in Story County.

Thompson notes, “I am excited to join an organization with such a rich history of positively impacting our friends, neighbors, and community. United Way of Story County has a legacy of transformative work, and I am committed to honoring and building upon the incredible efforts of Jean Kresse and the United Way team.”

“We are excited to welcome Ashley to the United Way team. She brings a depth of knowledge and skill that will continue to move us forward as a leader in the areas of Health, Education, and Financial Stability.” says UWSC Board Chair Amber Deardorff. “We also want to thank Jean for her 13 years of amazing service to our community. She will be sorely missed.”

Thompson has a Master of Public Health, Health Promotion & Behavior from University of Georgia, and a Bachelor of Arts, Education and Health Promotion from University of Northern Iowa. Her leadership has been recognized through numerous awards, including “Rising Stars” (from Becker’s Hospital Review) and Des Moines Business Record’s “Forty Under 40.” She will begin her role as President and CEO of UWSC on January 1, 2024.


UWSC is a strategic leader in building countywide partnerships to identify needs and to develop, support, and evaluate effective human services, especially in the areas of health, education, and financial stability for our diverse community.