Arika Wells - COO United Way

#EmbraceEquity Spotlight - Arika Wells

Recently appointed as the Chief Operating Officer for the United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, Arika Wells, leads with a commitment to serve, patience, and enthusiasm for new ideas. Her connection to the United Way started long before her current role - she has served more than seven years on the Women United Volunteer Board. Whether it is in her career or volunteer leadership, Arika is an inspiration,

Before her role at the United Way, she served as the Legal Administrator at the Pima County Attorney's Office, providing strategic direction over human resources, IT, finance, and operations. Her extensive career in Human Resources and operations includes significant contributions to the City of Tucson, University of Arizona, Pima County, and the Tucson Unified School District.

As a leader, Arika emphasizes the importance of being ready to serve. "If you are leading, someone has to follow. If you don’t know how to serve, it’s hard to get others to follow," she advises. Arika highlights the value of patience, hard work, and getting hands dirty – acknowledging that the journey might not be swift or comfortable.

Arika's professional development has been influenced by two pivotal women in her life. First, her mother, an English teacher and school administrator, served as a beacon of light for Arika. She demonstrated the importance of hard work and resourcefulness. Arika attributes her advocacy and problem-solving skills to the guidance of Daisy Jenkins, Esq., a remarkable leader in the Tucson business community. These influences guide Arika in her role as a mentor, where she feels a sense of responsibility to teach and be of service to others.

In both her personal and professional spheres, Arika believes in embracing equity and fostering inclusivity. She emphasizes the significance of thinking outside the box, reaching beyond comfort zones, and building connections beyond familiar circles. Arika's involvement with Women United, where she worked alongside inspiring women like Daisy Jenkins, Esq., allowed her to make meaningful connections, breaking down barriers to progress.

Arika highlights the benefits that communities, schools, and businesses can derive from encouraging diverse leadership. She emphasizes that embracing an equity lens allows for diversity of thought, fostering meaningful connections with current and future stakeholders. Arika encourages opening gates to newcomers and leveraging their perspectives to drive positive change.

Joining the United Way as the Chief Operating Officer, Arika values the organization's openness to new ideas. She applauds the willingness to embrace change, citing examples like the introduction of pink scarves to identify Women United members and the creation of the Literacy Campaign award. Arika commends United Way for not just uttering hollow words but actively supporting new ideas with talent and resources, showcasing a genuine commitment for the long haul.

Arika Wells exemplifies leadership with a purpose. Her journey from volunteer roles to the Chief Operating Officer at United Way is a testament to her dedication to service, patience, and fostering inclusivity. As she continues to inspire and mentor, Arika's impact on the Tucson community and beyond is poised to leave a lasting legacy.

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