Meet Our Leadership

Chief Impact Officer

Subject Matter Expert


Alma Maters

Grambling State University, Alverno College, Cardinal Stritch University

What are you passionate about and why?

I value faith, family and relationships and I am passionate about helping young people to learn, grow and develop as productive individuals. As a community, I believe it is our responsibility to provide equitable opportunities to our youth to empower them to make informed choices that lead to success.


Tonya Adair is Chief Impact Officer at United Way for Southeastern Michigan. She joined the organization in 2018 and provides executive oversight of the community impact strategies for United Way, including our focus areas of Education, Economic Prosperity and Health.

In this role, Tonya collaborates with all areas of the organization to ensure the cohesiveness and shared decision-making that’s needed for strategy development, execution and accountability of all community impact activities. She also provides professional support and leadership for several committees, including the establishment of the Community Impact Council, which is expected to launch this spring. The purpose of the council is to ensure the successful achievement of our community impact goals.

Prior to joining United Way, Tonya spent 21 years at Milwaukee Public Schools. Her roles ranged from teacher to chief academic officer. She began her career as a teacher at Ouachita Parish Schools in her hometown of Monroe, Louisiana.

Tonya has an extensive formal education background that continues to expand. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Grambling State University in Grambling, Louisiana, and a master’s degree in education administration and leadership from Alverno College in Milwaukee. She holds a human resource management certification from Cardinal Stritch University of Milwaukee and plans to graduate from the school with a doctorate of philosophy in language and literacy in 2020.

A recent transplant to Michigan, Tonya served on 10 boards and committees in Milwaukee. She was a Campaign Cabinet member for United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha. She also held professional affiliations with the Aspen Coherence Lab Fellowship, Strive Together Leadership Program Fellowship and City Year Regional District Leaders Fellowship, among others.

Tonya’s career in education resulted in several awards and honors, including: Implementer of the Year – Direct Instruction; an Educator Award from Top Ladies of Distinction, Wisconsin Women on the Move; Educational Administrator of the Year from the Civic Music Association of Milwaukee; Milwaukee Public Schools Exceptional Fiscal Management Recognition Award; Sarah Scott Outstanding Administrator Award from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educators; and the Ladies of Great Distinction Award from the African American Ladies Empowered to Grow Opportunities. She was inducted into the Alverno College Vanguard Society in 2018.

Tonya’s hobbies include singing and writing. She has three sons – Jeremy, 30, Marcus, 23, and Johnathan, 21.