“Humbled and honored:” Missoula’s Patrick receives State Department’s impact award

Susan Hay Patrick.

The chief executive of the United Way of Missoula County on Wednesday was named the U.S. State Department’s national winner of its Professional Fellows impact award.

The award places Susan Hay Patrick on the global stage and recognizes her “exceptional contribution” to civic engagement and service.

“I was very honored and humbled and grateful to the Mansfield Center for giving me the opportunity to be part of the Professional Fellows Program,” she told the Missoula Current. “We need more citizen diplomacy in our world, and the Professional Fellows Program is a great example of building bridges between our country and developing countries.”

Patrick and the United Way have hosted several Professional Fellows from Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam since 2014. She traveled as a fellow to Cambodia in 2014 and 2017, and to Thailand in 2017, where she taught and spoke about nonprofit management, governance, fundraising, planning and leadership.

In Missoula, Patrick has earned a reputation as a community advocate and philanthropist, helping spearhead solutions to a number of challenges, from homelessness to nonprofit support.

“The opportunity to help this next generation of the best and brightest leaders in their countries strengthens civil society,” Patrick said. “They’re all amazing and inspiring young leaders.”

Patrick and three other winners from Colombia, Kenya and Vietnam will be honored this spring during the Professional Fellows Congress in Washington, D.C. The event is attended by nearly 300 fellows from 60 countries.

The Professional Fellows Program in Montana is managed by the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana. Interim director Denna Mansour said Patrick is well deserving of the award.

“She is the ideal representative of our nation’s commitment to civic engagement and service,” Deena Mansour said in a statement. “Her expertise, dedication to global mutual understanding, and ability to inspire with insight and humor make her the ideal ambassador for our country and for Montana.”