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UWH welcomes three new members to board of directors

The United Way of Hastings (UWH) recently welcomed Stoddard Crane, Ben Estby and Lynn Johnson to the Board of Directors.

Stoddard Crane is the President of Crane Strategies, LLC, an advisory firm focused on assisting enterprises to revitalize their business growth, sharpen strategic direction, and energize and align operating culture. His executive level experience and skills include evaluating business model credibility and cohesiveness, sharpening consistent brand delivery, ensuring financial value creation and sustainability, and maximizing communication effectiveness. Crane spent most his business career leading and facilitating strategic business growth and development — including 13 years with Darden Restaurants and 16 years with General Mills. He also headed the Strategic Planning Council of The Conference Board in New York City for eight years and served a cumulative 16 years at the Board level in Central Florida with the United Way, Salvation Army and Darden Restaurants Foundation. Crane earned his MBA in Strategy from Northwestern University's Kellogg School and a master's degree in teaching from the University of St. Thomas. He moved from the Twin Cities to Hastings in 2014, where he lives with his life partner, Margaret Lanik. He also has two married sons; one in San Francisco, Calif., and the other in Boston, Mass.

Ben Estby was born and raised in Delano, Minn., a small town about 35 minutes west of the Twin Cities. Estby graduated from Delano High School in 2011 and was a two-sport athlete and captain, participating in both track and field and football. After high school, Estby attended the College of Saint Benedict and St. John's University. While there, he pursued a degree in communication and participated in campus clubs and events. Throughout college, he worked at the Coborn's store located in St. Joseph and has been with the company ever since. After graduating college in 2015, Estby accepted a summer internship with Coborn's where he developed many new talents and established valuable relationships. Estby went on to a management position at the Sauk Rapids location and then to the Delano location prior to accepting the store director position at the Hastings Coborn's location.

Lynn Johnson was born and raised in Hastings. She earned her Bachelors of Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Lynn has worked at the Xcel Energy Prairie Island Nuclear Generating Plant for over 15 years, 13 years of which were in system engineering as a system engineer and subsequently as engineering supervisor. The last two years she has held the position of turbine supervisor in the maintenance organization, coordinating and directing the turbine outage work. Currently, she has assumed the position as the director of supplemental maintenance and construction. Johnson and her daughter, Ella (almost 3 years old), spend time enjoying the Hastings community and chasing around their dog, Hope. Johnson hopes to share her strengths in teamwork and finding creative solutions to reach goals with the UWH Board of Directors and to help grow a strong Hastings community.

"Stoddard, Ben and Lynn will be excellent additions to the UWH Board of Directors," said Mari E. Mellick, CAE, Executive Director. "Each new board member has unique skills set that will complement the board. In addition, their leadership and collaboration experiences will help meet the goals for UWH in 2017 such as raising the visibility of the organization, thereby increasing its revenue streams."

The UWH is an independent United Way that has worked for over 50 years serving Hastings and the surrounding rural communities within Independent School District #200. Its mission is to build partnerships to improve the lives of people in our community. Donations are accepted year-round. For more information about the UWH and the agencies it funds, visit