Get To Know The SEUW Board: Kate Kotzea

Collage of Kate Kotzea for Sioux Empire United Way Blog Post

Sioux Empire United Way is excited to welcome Kate Kotzea as our 2024 Board Chair!

Kate is currently the VP of Products and Services at Click Rain and has spent her career in digital marketing. According to her Click Rain bio, she "thrives off of change and opportunity to solve real problems and rise to the occasion" and we couldn't agree more!

In this insightful Q&A, we delve into the experiences and motivations behind Kate's years of dedicated service to Sioux Empire United Way (SEUW). Join us as we uncover her passion for community service, her enthusiasm for raising a hand to volunteer, and her vision for amplifying the impact of giving to SEUW.


Randy Knecht and Kate Kotzea Sioux Empire United Way Board Chairs

Kate Kotzea & 2023 Board Chair Randy Knecht.


Q&A with Kate Kotzea

What was your original connection to Sioux Empire United Way & why did you decide to get involved? 

My first year at my first job, I raised my hand to be the loaned exec for our company, not really knowing what I was getting into. I quickly realized how much additional networking exposure and new skills I was gaining. My eyes were also opened to a side of our community I hadn’t really been aware of previously. Since that initial volunteer role, I’ve kept saying yes and raising my hand for different opportunities and am so thankful for all the connections and friendships the SEUW has provided.


How have your beginning years shaped your appreciation and involvement with Sioux Empire United Way and their funded programs? 

I have volunteered both as a campaigner (raising the funds) and within the community impact divisions (spending the funds) and I think being able to truly understand both sides has made me appreciate all the SEUW does for our community. Through various volunteer roles, I’ve been able to learn about and support so many great programs that are doing so much good. It’s one thing to hear a quick :30 story, it’s another to be able to have a longer conversation with program leaders or see first-hand how program services are changing lives.


As a Sioux Empire United Way Supporter and volunteer for nearly 15 years, tell us about the moment you were asked to chair the 2024 Board of Directors. 

This board is so respected and it is such an honor to be able to chair the board of directors. One aspect that really stands out is shortly after I was asked, Brian Bird (the then board chair) connected with me at an event and thanked me for saying yes and welcomed me in. The sense of community the group of volunteers creates is second to none, I’m grateful to be a part of it.  


What are you looking forward to as the SEUW Board of Directors Chair for 2024? 

We have so many great things in motion! I’m really excited to take some strong leaps forward in our strategic plan and continue to find new ways to reach prospective donors and to share the impact of giving to SEUW.


Kate Kotzea with 2 Click Rain Volunteers participating in Sioux Empire United Way's 2024 Day of Action

Kate Kotzea & Click Rain volunteers participating in Sioux Empire United Way's 2024 Day of Action.


We hear many times that people and community leaders give to United Way because you never know when you may need the resources of our funded agencies. How does this impact your perspective on giving to SEUW? 

The breadth of services and needs covered by SEUW funded programs is what makes giving to this organization so important. You never know when you or a friend or family member is going to have a need, but having the assurance there is a service to support you in our community is truly something special.


As a long-term volunteer for SEUW, what advice do you have for individuals interested in volunteering and why do you continue volunteering with us? 

If volunteering is on your heart and mind, just do it! Volunteering, especially with the SEUW, is not one size fits all. There are so many different ways to leverage your own individual strengths or potential areas you want to grow in. I’ve held various volunteer positions over the years with the United Way, so it never feels like I’m doing the same thing. Different seasons of life have allowed me more or less time to commit to causes. If you’re interested in volunteering, reach out! It takes over 800 volunteers each year, so know your skills and heart will be needed somewhere. 


Over 5 years ago you were awarded the 2017 United Way Volunteer of the Year award for your hard work across various SEUW divisions, how do you think that experience will play into your role as Board Chair? 

Each volunteer role is different and has allowed me to see the impact of the SEUW in a new light. My hope is that these experiences are giving me an unique perspective of the organization and allowing me to fulfill my board chair responsibilities in the best way.


What final words do you have for our readers? 

Please support the Sioux Empire United Way in whatever way you can. Whether it’s financially or volunteering your time, this organization does so much good for our community. And truly, the thing that makes the Sioux Empire special, is because people step-up and support others. And to stay special, we need new people to keep stepping up.


Kate Kotzea, Julie Waage, Angie Lammers, and Keith Cutler serving walking tacos during the 2023 Campaign Kickoff event at Severance Brewing.

Kate Kotzea & SEUW volunteers serving walking tacos at the 2023 Campaign Kickoff event.