New staff join United Way of Southeast Mississippi


United Way of Southeast Mississippi recently welcomed two new staff members.

Hattiesburg native Stacy Ahua has been hired as the new director of Volunteer Southeast Mississippi, a service of United Way SEMS. As director, Ahua is responsible for recruiting and matching volunteers with service projects and opportunities. She also will be working with local disaster relief organizations, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to develop and implement a volunteer disaster response plan.

Ahua obtained her bachelor's degree in speech communication and a Master of Arts in communication studies from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is a 2015 graduate of Leadership Pine Belt and has been active in the community through organizations such as The Leaf Foundation and South Mississippi Partners for the Arts.

Kari Lynn Besing recently joined United Way SEMS as its director of community impact. In addition to overseeing the funds distribution process, Besing will implement and manage programs under United Way SEMS' education, health and financial stability initiatives.

Originally from Newburgh, Indiana, Besing obtained her bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She returned to Indiana to obtain a master's degree in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University. While there, Besing served as graduate assistant for the Office of Medical Service-Learning, where she coordinated service projects with various community organizations.

"We are pleased to welcome Stacy and Kari Lynn to our United Way team," said Tracie Fowler, president and CEO of United Way SEMS. "Both individuals bring a wealth of experience, education and enthusiasm that will not only be great for our organization, but also the community we serve."