Valley United Way Staff

These are the hardworking individuals whose tireless efforts help make the Valley United Way possible.

Sharon Gibson Ellis

President & COO

Sharon Gibson Ellis is the new President & COO of Valley United Way succeeding Jack Walsh who retired at the end of November. Sharon comes to Valley United Way with a wealth of experience in the United Way system including serving as the professional head of United Ways of Benton & Lincoln Counties (Oregon), United Way of Muscatine (Iowa) and most recently United Way of Greater Williamsburg (Virginia)…

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Ellis has earned a reputation for spearheading and facilitating numerous collaborations around housing, food security and homelessness. Of particular importance was the effort in Williamsburg to understand the root causes of homelessness among precariously housed populations. That effort resulted in the establishment of the Housing Collaborative that has effectively transformed and expanded the community system to more effectively deal with the issue.

She has managed disaster recovery efforts at two of her previous United Ways and even authored and taught curriculum on organizational management as well as serving as a consultant for other nonprofit organizations. She has also has a great understanding of for-profit business as she has had personal success in the retail arena where she owned and operated three successful businesses of her own.

You can reach Sharon via e-mail at 

Patricia Tarasovic

Volunteer Center Director

Pat Tarasovic is the Director of the Volunteer Action Center at Valley United Way. Pat has rejoined the Valley United Way team as she was the first Director of The Volunteer Action Center when it was started in 1991 and served until 1999 when she joined Birmingham Group Health Services as their Director of Development and dedicated over four years to the agency to help them as they launched a very aggressive Development Plan….

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During her first tenure at Valley United Way, Pat created the Valley’s award-winning Corporate Volunteer Council and High School Volunteer Council in addition to running the Youth Leadership Program.

A very active member of the community, Pat was the Co-founder of the Oxford Cultural Arts Commission, and oversaw the building of Oxford’s bandstand and the initiation of its concert series. She co-chaired Oxford’s successful bicentennial and 350th anniversary events. She has served on the towns Beautification Committee and several other town committees. Pat was also a Co-founder of the award winning Oxford School Volunteer Program. She served as the Statewide President of School Volunteer Program and represented the State on National issues.

Pat served as President of the Oxford Junior Women’s Club and later went on to Serve as Director of the Connecticut Junior Women. She was also Co-Chair of the Valley’s All America City Weekend Gala and Celebration and a delegate in both 1999 and 2000.

Pat has been a driving force in the Valley’s LEAD Program which has now merged with the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce to become the Leadership Program. She is also Co Chair of Healthy Valley and is a Past-president of the Derby/Shelton Rotary Club.

She is a past recipient of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Gold Seal award, the Valley Council of Health and Human Services Lewis Savitsky Award, the Birmingham Group Health Services Good Neighbor Award, the Ansonia’s Women in History 2000 Award and the Valley YMCA Volunteer of the Year Award.

Her most recent award is the Valley Women Making A Difference in the Valleyaward which she received on October 1, 2009.

You can reach Pat via e-mail at

Carlene Williams

Accountant and Office Manager

Carlene Williams came to the Valley United Way as the Accounts Receivable Administrator in July 2017. Carlene brought with her a diverse background. She worked in the Aviation Field for more than 14 years at American Airlines and U.S. Helicopter. She trained as a Medical Assistant where she worked in Administration for a Public School and Medical Assistant School. After graduating high school and business school Carlene came from Jamaica to New York in 1995. In 2015, Carlene and her family moved to CT. She enjoys reading and traveling.

You can reach Carlene via e-mail at

Brian Rich

Program Manager

Brian Rich came to Valley United Way in July 2017 as our Program Manager. He attended Tunxis Community College and was a store manager for Joseph A. Banks in Milford, who participated in the Team’s Intergenerational Fashion Show. He has been involved in many volunteer activities and was on the Valley United Way Special Events Committee where he has been involved with the Communi’tini’ and he was also a volunteer with “Grow Your Own”. In his spare time, Brian enjoys biking, going to the gym and cooking.

You can reach Brian via e-mail at

Michelle Bravo

Social Media Intern

Michelle Bravo came to Valley Untied Way on August 2017 as our Social Media Intern. She is studying Communication with an Organizational concentration at Southern Connecticut State University. She has been volunteering in the local community since 2012. Michelle was also captain of her high schools girls swim team. In her spare time, she enjoys photography and swimming.