Leah King: Great Women of Texas Legacy Award

🕐 3 min read

Leah King wasn’t always sure where life would take her but she is confident that she arrived in the place where she was meant to be.

As president and CEO of United Way of Tarrant County and president of the Tarrant Regional Water District, King relies on the expertise and skills she acquired on her personal journey to help improve the lives of residents of Fort Worth and Tarrant County.

Her father’s career in the military kept the family moving from one place to another, resulting in constant adjusting to new homes and schools.

After graduating from high school, she attended Rutgers University with her sights set on becoming a biomedical engineer. It didn’t take long for her to discover that wasn’t for her.

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King left school and went to work as a salesperson and then manager of a RadioShack store in North Carolina. Her ability to connect with people caught the attention of company executives who tapped her for the “Answer Team” in Fort Worth as part of RadioShack’s famous “you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers” campaign to expand use of electronic devices.

King’s impressive public relations skills propelled her through roles with RadioShack in community relations, advertising and marketing, and investor relations. Along the way, she realized that her career calling was in business communication. She also realized that all those childhood moves and having to continually make friends with new classmates helped her develop the outstanding communication skills that became so important to her career success.

Nevertheless, without a degree, King enrolled in night and weekend classes at Dallas Baptist University to shore up her business skills.

Although she never earned a degree, she parlayed her experience with RadioShack into new career avenues. She was hired as a community relations and public affairs representative for Chesapeake Energy Corp.

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Her next move was to Holland Services, also in the oil and gas sector, where she served as senior vice president of marketing and communications.

In 2015, she accepted a position as vice president and marketing director at Northstar Bank of Texas but was on the job only a few months when United Way of Tarrant County came calling.

She joined the nonprofit in 2016 as executive vice president and chief operating officer. In November 2019, she was promoted to president and CEO.

Five months into her new role, the pandemic crisis struck. She immediately guided the organization into a virtual operation focused on serving those in need.  She invested $50,000 to provide meals to senior citizens after senior centers across the county were forced to close.

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United Way invested more than $5 million to assist more than 550,000 people through partnerships with other nonprofit agencies and with direct aid of meals, personal protective equipment and baby formula.

King also spearheaded relief efforts during the devastating winter storm of 2021.

King considers her achievements with United Way to be the greatest and most meaningful of her career.

“It’s been my greatest honor helping United Way re-establish itself as a nonprofit leader in Tarrant County and to be able to help so many people,” she said.

King was elected to the board of the Tarrant Regional Water District in 2017 and currently serves as board president. She also serves on many community boards, including the United Ways of Texas, Cook Children’s Medical Center and Baylor Scott & White All Saints. She has received numerous honors and awards.

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