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United Way's newest Board Members

Thursday Aug 24th, 2023

Welcome United Way of Erie County New Members of the Board of Directors!

At the June United Way Board of Directors meeting, seven community leaders were voted in as new members of the Board. The experiences and expertise of these individuals will help to further advance United Way's mission to CRUSH POVERTY in Erie County.

Corey Cook is the director of operations and logistics at the Erie Downtown Development Corporation (EDDC). Corey also is the founder and CEO of CookMedia LLC and LifeThruMusic, which has taught various instruments to more than 500 Erie County students. Before his role with EDDC, Cook spent 16 years with UPS in various roles. As an East High School alum, Corey makes it his daily mission to positively impact Erie County residents, especially youth.

Pat Kennedy is currently with Knox Law as counsel. As a member of the Governmental Practice Group, Pat focuses on providing legal services to school districts, municipalities and public authorities.

She has 34 years of legal experience, including work with local governments. She served in various capacities with Erie County for 26 years, concluding with an 11 year appointment as Chief Public Defender. A native of Edinboro, she is a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and of the Dickinson School of Law. She is a member of the PennWest University Council of Trustees and formerly served as a member of the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania Council of Trustees.

Anita Kuchcinski is the senior vice president and commercial market executive at Northwest Bank. Previously she served as vice president of commercial lending for Northwest Bank’s Erie region. Since that time and throughout her twenty year career, Anita has been a visible and vocal business leader, promoting the bank and its commercial and business banking services. She has also served as vice president for commercial lending for Northwest Bank’s Erie region.

Anita earned her bachelor's degree in accounting and her MBA in management, both from Seton Hill University. She is also a 2011 graduate of Pennsylvania Bankers Association's Commercial Lending School.

April Murphy, MSN, RN, NE-BC is the clinical director of nursing administration and medical/surgical service line with UPMC Hamot. April has a 20+ year career with UPMC Hamot where she has held several positions prior to her recent promotion including Director of Nursing Administration and interim Clinical Director of Critical Care and Nursing Administration.

April earned her undergraduate nursing degree and bachelor’s degree from Mercyhurst University. In 2016, she earned a Master’s of Science in Nursing from Aspen University.

April is married to her husband Ryan and they have three beautiful children Caleb, Tatum and Teagan and a beloved bernadoodle named Tucker. 

Lisa NeCastro held several roles at Erie Insurance during her 36-year career there, including vice president and director of the commercial services departments. Lisa has been a contributor to United Way since she started working at Erie Insurance. She and her husband, Tim are also members of the Tocqueville Society.

She now volunteers on many community initiatives and in 2021, became one of the founding members of Women United for Community Schools, an affinity group of United Way, and a member of the Executive Council.

Lisa also has been a member of Erie Women’s Fund since 2017, which is an unincorporated donor-advised fund of The Erie Community Foundation. She served on the Grants Committee, Education Committee (Chair) and Steering Committee.

Kevin Otteni currently serves as the regulatory compliance manager at Parker LORD where he has worked since 2002. Kevin earned a bachelor of science degree in chemistry and a master's degree in engineering management at Gannon University.

Additionally, Captain Otteni is currently serving our nation in the United States Army Reserve. When Kevin isn't serving his community he loves spending time with his wife and three children.

Karen Surkala is the chief operation officer at AHN St. Vincent. An accomplished healthcare executive with 30+ years of experience in the Northwestern PA health care market, Karen was most recently president of Westfield Memorial Hospital from 2019-2021. She has also served as a vice president and administer there from 2007 to 2011. In between, she served as CEO of Select Specialty Hospital, a long-term care facility in Erie, and as a senior vice president at AHN Saint Vincent from 2012-2015. Her career also includes several leadership positions at the Cleveland Clinic, including director of strategic agenda management.

Karen earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Gannon University and a Master of Business Administration degree from St. Leo University.