Program Officer, Household Stability and Food Security
Inspiration: “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” — Audre Lorde
What working in this community means to me: “Working and being in the community is like being at home. The community organizations that United Way supported through the years impacted my life growing up in a Cambodian refugee family in the Twin Cities. It is humbling and a privilege to be able to serve the community that has given me so much.”
Saroeun leads Greater Twin Cities United Way’s food security portfolio. She is responsible for identifying and nurturing opportunities for affective positive systemic change within communities and executing programming efforts across organizational impact areas that are aligned with United Way’s mission and strategy.
Prior to joining United Way, Saroeun worked in human rights, community organizing and advocacy in marginalized communities. Most recently, she was at the Bush Foundation as part of a program working with organizations that cultivate and support leadership development. Saroeun also worked with the City of Saint Paul on the development of the Office of Financial Empowerment blueprint. Prior to that she worked for Chemonics International in Washington D.C. managing international development projects for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID.) Saroeun holds a master’s degree in international relations and economics from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from St. Olaf College.
Saroeun currently serves on the Southeast Asian Diaspora (SEAD) Project, which uses storytelling to advocate for equity and justice in the Southeast Asian American community narrated in Hmong, Khmer, Lao, and Vietnamese. She is on the board of Aeon, an organization that works on making homes affordable in the Twin Cities. Saroeun’s family and four children are the center of her life and inspiration.