Ruben Garza (He/Him/His)

Executive Director

Ruben believes that a healthy community is one that delivers on its promise to support, enrich, and provide opportunity to the lives of all its members, regardless of race, gender identity or sexual orientation. He believes that active participation is required by all community members to uphold and protect its shared values. Ruben strives to lead by example; he employs his use of free time volunteering and engaging the community as a board member and supporting local arts and artists.  
Ruben moved to Brattleboro, Vermont from Laredo, Texas in 2015. Ruben’s favorite Vermont past times are swimming in the Summer, generally being terrified of winter driving, and leaf peeping in the Autumn. You may catch Ruben walking around the downtown area shopping at his favorite record store, playing basketball in the Parks and Rec league, and attending theatre performances throughout the year.


Brandie E. Starr (She/Her/Hers)

Outreach and Marketing Associate

Brandie joined the United Way in July 2020. She is mom to two vivacious kiddos, and is a huge dog lover and doggy caregiver. Brandie is fully committed to equity and inclusion for all of her community members, with a heavy focus on serving her most marginalized neighbors. Brandie spent a year and a half at Groundworks Collaborative as the Outreach Case Manager, a job which served to blow open her view on structural inequities. Previous to that, Brandie spent 10 years at Brattleboro Savings & Loan, beginning in the Customer Service department, and moving into the role of Executive Assistant to the President & CEO Dan Yates, as well as the role of Marketing Manager. She is finishing out her fourth and final year on the Brattleboro Selectboard. Brandie is a born and raised Vermonter, living in Brattleboro for 11 years, and in Windham County for 20 years.

Kara Orfanidis (She/Her/Hers)

Office Manager

Kara joined the United Way staff in 2011 and serves as Office Manager. Originally hired to track donations and maintain the donor database, she now supports all aspects of office management, providing administrative and campaign support to the Executive Director and the Director of Development and  Community Impact, as well as support to the board of directors, which includes maintaining corporate records and all correspondence with members of the board. By default, Kara is known as our unofficial IT Specialist and the go-to person for help with technical issues. Other aspects of her position include coordination of the Mother’s Day Rose sale and providing support to the VITA program and other UWWC initiatives.  
Kara was born and raised in Windham County and cares deeply about the community she’s grown up to love. Kara currently resides in Brattleboro with her son and enjoys spending time and sharing a laugh with family and friends.