Get to Know…Heather Pierce, 211 Coordinator

Describe your role with United Way of the Plains.

I am the 211 Coordinator here at United Way of the Plains. United Way 211 is an information and referral service that connects Kansans facing crisis and uncertainty to resources and services in their community. I am in charge of the day-to-day operations of our contact center. I ensure that we are staffed with highly trained, caring individuals to respond to requests for help, that they have all the technology needed to do their jobs and that our resource database is robust and accurate. It is important that I use the data we collect through 211 to tell the story of the needs across our communities. I provide outreach and education on 211 in the community and network with partners across Kansas and the United States.

Tell us about your career and how you made it to United Way of the Plains.

I graduated from Friends University with an undergraduate degree in human services/psychology and a master’s degree in management. I worked at Friends University during my time as a student and eventually became the Assistant Director of Enrollment Services. I saw the job opportunity to come work at United Way to establish  a new program called 211 and thought it would be a great blend with my education and it has been! I’ve been fortunate to work here since 2005, launching 211 in 2006, and watching it grow and evolve over the last 18 years.

What are some on-the-job experiences that you find rewarding? 

By far, the most rewarding part of my job is getting to walk alongside someone during a dark time in their life and offer them some light and hope. I know there are some conversations I have with people where the connections I help them make will change the trajectory of their life. It is energizing to support my team in a way that sets them up to make those connections for people each and every day.

Heather Pierce, United Way 211 Coordinator, volunteers with staff at a Habitat for Humanity build.
Heather Pierce, United Way 211 Coordinator, with her two daughters.
What are some of your pastimes and hobbies? 

I love to read. I keep a long hold list at the library, so my Kindle is always full. I enjoy being outside and taking long walks with a friend or my dog. My family likes to play all kinds of board games and card games together.

Share a bit about your family.

I have two teenage daughters that keep me on my toes. I remain desperately uncool despite their attempts to teach me the latest lingo and Tik-Tok dances. We love to hang out together and some of our favorite things to do are watching movies, shopping or going out for tea.

What has been your favorite experience at United Way of the Plains?

I remember attending a national conference and looking across the room filled with representatives from 211 services from across the United States who were working together to grow and expand our national network and thinking ‘wow, I’m a part of something big.’

How has 211 changed over the years?

In the first year we launched 211, we handled 21,255 calls with only two staff. Over the years we’ve grown to include 24/7 coverage, adding our database online in a searchable format, email, text, and chat. In 2022, we served people 154,812 times through all those channels with four call specialists, a database manager, and me as coordinator. We’ve moved our phone service from a landline to one that is internet based, allowing our call specialists to work from home if necessary. Through the years we’ve responded after fires, floods, tornadoes, a pandemic, mass layoffs and more. We’ve assisted community partners with screenings for multiple programs, helped with registrations, appointments and data collection.


Published On: February 27, 2023Tags: ,


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