Jane Moore can lead staff, analyze community needs, and navigate between myriad local government, nonprofit, neighborhood, and corporate leaders.
She can also hypnotize chickens, according to several United Way staffers, a trick she learned as a child growing up on a farm in Kansas.
"I'd be happy to show you. Oneida [City Farm] has chickens," she said with a laugh in a recent interview. "I can show you -- if you catch the chicken."
Ms. Moore took over last month as interim president and chief executive officer at United Way of Greater Toledo; she had been in the role of executive vice president.
She has spent her most of her career -- 35 years -- with the agency.
"I tease her that she's been around forever and I think I have too," said board chairman Jani Miller. "I can't remember United Way without Jane Moore."
Ms. Moore started at the agency answering phones in 1977 at the Information Referral Center -- now 211, the agency's hot line that connects people in need with a variety of social services -- and rose through the ranks and holding various positions over the last several decades.
Carol Rehm, now an associate director at Lucas County's Department of Job and Family Services, worked under Ms. Moore at United Way for six years. Ms. Rehm said she has great respect for Ms. Moore's hard work and her combination of savvy leadership and a fun streak.
"There couldn't have been a better person to introduce me to our community leaders, array of services, or the comprehensive understanding of community need," she said.
Ms. Moore anticipates being in the top job at United Way for about six months while the search for a new leader continues. The group's former president and CEO, Bill Kitson, left last month to head up the United Way of Greater Cleveland. She said she is not interested in being CEO other than in the interim, and she hopes to retire next year.
"We're so thankful to have someone like Jane to serve in the interim. We won't skip a beat with our work," Ms. Miller said.
Ms. Moore said she did not intend to make United Way her life's work when she started in the 1970s but has stayed because she believes strongly in the mission of the organization.
"I can think of no other organization -- none -- where you have the luxury and the privilege of matching people who want to express their concern for the community with people who need help," Ms. Moore said.
In its 2012 and 2013 funding cycle, the group will distribute $12.9 million to various programs, initiatives, and partnerships in Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa counties, largely focused on improving education, income, and health.
Ms. Moore also loves the variety of her job, she said, a position that allows her to speak to a homeless person and the CEO of an international corporation in the same day.
"And be able to have conversations with both of them about their aspiration, and making that match. Where else could you do that?" she said.
A member of the Lucas County Children Services Board, Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board, and the Lucas County Family Council, Ms. Moore is a go-to person for coordinating various agencies and human services locally, said Lucas County Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak.
"We've been very fortunate to have someone who has had a lifelong career at the United Way. Directors have come and gone, but [Jane] has been a stable force. And we've been well-served by that," she said.
Larry Sykes, a Toledo Public Schools board member who's been critical of some of United Way's efforts, said Ms. Moore's longevity with the organization is a huge asset.
"She's not some carpetbagger coming in here looking for the next big metro to go to," he said.
Deb Ortiz-Flores, who heads Lucas County's Job and Family Services and Child Support Enforcement agencies, said the length of Ms. Moore's time at United Way hasn't dampened her enthusiasm or willingness to learn.
"It never gets old with her," Ms. Ortiz-Flores said. "You see her in a meeting and her passion and commitment isn't any less than when I started working with her 12 years ago."
Ms. Moore said she has a hard time believing it has been 35 years.
"If you err on the side of what you believe is right -- I don't look back," she said.
Contact Kate Giammarise at: email@example.com or 419-724-6091.