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Client Success Story: United Way of Toledo Ohio


Bill Kitson, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Toledo, is part of a United Way Advanced Leadership Program that recently held a two-day session on Masterful Meetings to dramatically transform the way meetings run to make them more impactful. This session was taught by Michael Wilkinson, Certified Master Facilitator and author of The Secrets to Masterful Meetings.

It was amazing!

– Bill Kitson, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Toledo


The United Way of Greater Toledo works with various departments and volunteers across Lucas, Wood and Ottawa counties, in Ohio, helping to change the lives of people in their communities. With sites in these counties they provide services to help people who need assistance, want to volunteer, need assistance from organized labor, and they make themselves available to people who would like to make donations. As one can imagine, it takes a lot of meetings to make these things happen.

Before Kitson learned the secrets to masterful meetings he was responsible for leading numerous meetings throughout the organization, including a weekly Senior Leadership Meeting. The meetings were something no one looked forward to and everyone hoped would get canceled every week.

We would have them every Tuesday afternoon and they were mundane and sometimes they were downright scary. It was something that we all dreaded, including me, and they were my meetings.”

– Bill Kitson, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Toledo


As part of the Advanced Leadership Program, Kitson attended the Masterful Meetingstraining, lead by Michael Wilkinson. Kitson was aware his organization had some meeting issues and was ready to soak up as many tips for planning meetings, engaging participants, and dealing with dysfunctions as he could. He realized as soon as Wilkinson started the session where his first key problem was.

In the opening conversation about Masterful Meetings when you learn that there are working meetings and status meetings, a huge light bulb went off. We were having both kinds of meetings at once and you can’t do that. So I’ve learned.

– Bill Kitson, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Toledo

Another key learning for Kitson was what kind of a role planning for a meeting had. He saw how important spending time planning was so he could actually lead a masterful meeting – with the right purpose and right people, that starts and ends on time and accomplishes the goal.


During his training, Kitson was able to work on planning one of his Senior Leadership Meetings. After the training he was prepared to walk in and lead his first masterful meeting. However, the most telling part of the transformation came after the actual session.

There were seven people in the meeting. On my drive home two of them called me to say ‘what a tremendous meeting’. I usually don’t get phone calls from people at the meeting on their way home afterwards, so that’s how great it was.”

– Bill Kitson, President & CEO, United Way of Greater Toledo

Kitson began using the skills he learned in the Masterful Meetings course and saw great response in other meetings as well. People were engaged and they left excited. He thought he was engaging before, but saw what it meant to really engage participants and get them involved.

People throughout his organization have seen great changes in how his meetings are run. Now his staff seeks him out whenever tougher meetings come up asking him to lead them. Kitson’s next step is getting more people trained on the Secrets to Masterful Meetings.

I need to figure out a way to get everyone to do…[Masterful Meetings] so that it’s not a secret…it’s the way we do meetings at United Way.

– Bill Kitson, President & CEO, United way of Greater Toledo

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