Nonprofit, independent journalism. Supported by readers.


YPN5Q: United Way giving communities manager Lan Freitag

This week we hear from Lan Freitag, a giving communities manager and the immediate past president of The LEAD Project.


YPN5Q is a weekly Q&A series spotlighting the state’s top young business and civic leaders and creative minds — professionals propelling change through entrepreneurship, the arts, public service, social media, and community involvement.

This week we hear from Lan Freitag, immediate past president of The LEAD Project and giving communities manager at the Greater Twin Cities United Way, where she develops and executes onboarding, retention, engagement and recognition strategies for giving programs.

Instilled with a lifelong commitment to volunteerism, Freitag also oversees United Way volunteer committees, including United Way Emerging Leaders and the Arise Project. Launched in 2011, the Arise Project is a philanthropic advocacy group acting to enhance the quality of life in the local LGBT community and to reduce GLBT youth homelessness.

In addition to her work with United Way, Freitag serves as a regional board member for the Jefferson Awards for Public Service and sits on the executive committee of The LEAD Project.

Lan Freitag
Courtesy of Lan FreitagLan Freitag

Name: Lan Freitag
Age: 33
Residence: Minnetonka
Current job title: Giving Communities Manager
Current employer: Greater Twin Cities United Way

1.  What do like most about your job?
I am so fortunate in my work to collaborate with high caliber volunteers to improve the state of our most vulnerable citizens in the greater Twin Cities area.  It’s work that I believe in and is the most rewarding position I’ve held to date.

2.  What do you know now that you wish you knew ten years ago?
Find the balance of heart and head in your job.  It will give you the confidence and happiness that will help you be your authentic self.

3.  What actions, strategies or networks have been most helpful to you in building your career?
• Figure out what makes you really happy and hone those skills. Find ways to get involved with an organization you are passionate about.

• Don’t be afraid to be vocal about what your ultimate goal is — for example, being on your favorite organization’s Board of Directors.

• Take advantage of skill based volunteer opportunities; focus on skills that you excel at or want to polish before your next career move.

4.  Which living person do you most admire?
The Dalai Lama — he epitomizes compassion and hope.

5.  What’s your favorite Twin Cities restaurant?
We are lucky to live in a city with such an amazing food scene — it’s too difficult to choose a single favorite. I am fanatical about food trucks, though. The food is high-quality and made to order, and the vendors are some of the friendliest people I’ve met.

There are so many great trucks, but some of my favorites are: Smack Shack, Vellee Deli, World Street Kitchen and Chef Shack.

Article continues after advertisement

To nominate a young professional for “YPN5Q,” email with the nominee’s full name, employer or contact info, and one or two brief sentences supporting your nomination.