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In conversation with Harry McCloskey

United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey recently welcomed Harry McCloskey to the role of Chief Operating Officer.

Learn a bit more about Harry and his journey at United Way:


What drew you to United Way’s mission?  

The opportunity to be part of an organization with a vision and mission focused on ending poverty and expanding opportunity for all. Having worked the majority of my professional career in hospital administration, there is a great deal of personal satisfaction that comes from improving lives. However, access to quality healthcare is only one piece of the puzzle to allow an individual to live a prosperous life. There are four other conditions that provide individuals this ability: economic stability, educational access and quality, neighborhood and build environment, and social and community context. These five conditions are best known as the Social Determinates of Health (SDH), which are conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. The unique value proposition that United Way adds is the credibility and regional relationships necessary to bring multiple sectors together to work as cross-functional teams to improve not one, but all five of these conditions. Through its regional relationships, partnerships, and history of success, United Way is best positioned to be the conduit to foster collaboration. There is no organization better suited to tackling these challenges!

what are you most passionate about in your line of work? 

This is an easy question! Fundamentally, doing the right thing and treating others the way that you would like to be treated is the cornerstone of my core beliefs. I have found such joy in empowering others and allowing them to reach their full potential. The power of a high-performing team is special. The satisfaction that comes from developing a high-performing team is the end output, and seeing its overall success is the most rewarding part of the work I do.

What’s something that you wish more people knew in regard to your work?

It is fun! The more complex a problem, the more enjoyment that comes from connecting the dots and making a positive impact. The greater connectivity between sectors and cross-functional teams, the better the overall impact on the communities we serve. I am constantly searching for these opportunities and eager to find partners to work with to tackle them together! I welcome you to join us on this journey to improve the lives of children and families in the Greater Philadelphia region.

Do you have a favorite book or inspirational quote that resonates with you?

Recently I had someone ask to meet with me while serving as the Chief Operating Officer at Jefferson Einstein Montgomery Hospital. His mother, a retired hospital nursing executive, had been a patient in our hospital multiple times over the past year. As a nurse by background, she was very familiar with how a hospital operates and how clinical care is delivered. He and his mother, however, were astonished by the quality of care, communication, empathy, and overall condition of the entire facility. The level of engagement and communication from every level in the organization is what led him to leave me with a book titled, “Unreasonable Hospitality”.

The book is written by Will Guidara, who is one of the best in the hospitality business and is known for his transformation of a legendary restaurant in New York. Eleven Madison Park was a struggling two-star restaurant when Guidara took the helm. Eleven years later, it had four stars from the New York Times, three Michelin stars, and had been named the best restaurant in the world. The book highlights the power of a team and the value of finding the magic in what we do – for ourselves, the people we work with, and the people we serve. It provides real-world experiences focused on the fundamental principle of giving people more than they expected. And it teaches us that a highly engaged, empowered, trusted, and cared for team can achieve goals that were once thought of as unachievable.

Do you have a hidden talent?  

Multitasking! I cannot say this is a hidden talent, but having three young children (ages 6 months, 4 years, and 6 years) has helped me to master the skill of multitasking. I also enjoy running and try to run 25-30 miles per week – which has become more and more challenging since having children!

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