Fresh Start Woman's Foundation
Fresh Start Woman's Foundation

Fresh Start Women’s Foundation Selects Kim McWaters to Serve as President and CEO

February 02, 2021

PHOENIX, AZ - Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, a Phoenix-based non-profit, today announced the selection of Kim McWaters as its new President and Chief Executive Officer.  McWaters’ appointment concludes a formal search process led by board member Andrea Katsenes Pappas that vetted more than 120 candidates from across the country. 

For nearly 20 years, McWaters has served on the Fresh Start Board of Directors and, since March 2020, has been its chairman. A seasoned business and community leader, McWaters brings a wealth of leadership experience and a passion for helping others achieve success. She succeeds Susan Berman who is retiring after a decade at the helm. Berman’s legacy shines brightly on quality programs and services, strong community relationships and a solid foundation for continued growth and innovation.  

“We are honored that a respected leader in our community, one who has played such an integral role in our history, will lead Fresh Start into its next chapter,” said Co-founder Pat Petznick. “Kim has a personal, genuine understanding of the needs of the women we serve. In every way, she is uniquely positioned and highly qualified to further our mission as we touch the lives of thousands of women each year.”

McWaters comes to Fresh Start as the former, long-term president and CEO of Universal Technical Institute, (UTI:NYSE), the nation’s leading provider of transportation technician training. At UTI, McWaters partnered with industry leaders such as BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, to develop relevant training and certifications to prepare students for careers while providing employers with a pipeline of skilled technicians. Today, the company has more than 220,000 graduates.

McWaters, a Phoenix native, began her 35-year career at UTI as a single mother, working as a part-time receptionist. McWaters rose through the ranks, being named president of the company in 2000 and chief executive officer in 2003. She retired as CEO in 2019 but continues to serve on the company’s board of directors. Additionally, McWaters serves as a director for Penske Automotive Group (PAG:NYSE) and WillScot Mobile Mini Holdings (WSC:NASDAQ).

McWaters has been very involved in the Phoenix community, having served on the boards of several non-profit organizations including Fresh Start Women’s Foundation and Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. She successfully led major fundraising efforts and key initiatives for both organizations while using her influence in the community and business relationships to champion their missions and achieve results.

“Fresh Start’s mission speaks to my heart and I am honored to grow my involvement with the organization at a time when women need us more than ever,” said McWaters. “Economically, women have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 recession, further exacerbating realities and inequalities faced before the pandemic. Temporary solutions are not sufficient. We must drive real and lasting change to help women achieve economic self-sufficiency. Today, more than two-thirds of the women we serve at Fresh Start are currently unemployed, single mothers desperately trying to create a better life for their children. We are committed to helping women help themselves! With the generous support and engagement of our community, we can make lasting change that will positively impact women, their families and future generations.”

McWaters will assume the role of President/CEO on February 1, 2021. Nancy Loftin, long- term Fresh Start board member and current chair of the nominating and governance committee will chair the board through the remainder of the fiscal year.


About Fresh Start Women’s Foundation: Since 1992, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation has been on a mission to provide education, resources and support for women to positively transform their lives and strengthen the community. The non-profit organization provides a variety of programs and services focusing on career, education, and life skills and offers supportive services to assist women over the age of 18 in reaching her full potential.