Women Leaders « United Way of Greater Los Angeles

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Women Leaders

On Thursday, July 23rd, we celebrated our Leadership donors creating pathways out of poverty for the past 10 years!

During the event, Julia Vincock, a proud US Army Veteran, shared her story of overcoming homelessness.  In 2012, Julia was evicted from her apartment of 17 years and lost all her belongings.  When she came across Union Station Homeless Services, a United Way of Greater Los Angeles partner, she shared, “On that day, I regained my hope completely. I felt it was possible for me to have a home again.”

Julia Vincock_sharegraphic_FINAL

Since then, she obtained a housing voucher, got approved for permanent housing and received the funding to cover her security deposit.

On any given night in LA, 4,362 veterans do not have a safe place to call home.  Our Leadership donors are not only bringing an end to veteran homelessness in LA County, but are also restoring hope for all vets.


On Wednesday, November 6, 2013, members of United Way’s Women Leaders gathered at the residence of Nancy McGinnis for a Fall Salon. The event featured guest speaker Deborah Lee, Partner at PwC and Women Leaders Cabinet Member, as she shared her first-hand experiences traveling to Asia with United Way Worldwide to end poverty globally.

IMG_1408On Saturday, August 17 over 40 United Way volunteers came out to support local students at Hollenbeck Middle School. Incoming 6th graders and their families learned about what to expect in this new stage of school while volunteers talked with attendees about different education and career paths. A clean-up project in the library ensured that the space was prepped and refreshed for the new academic year. To end the day, each student received a backpack full of new school supplies, and everyone walked away having had a great time!

The support we received from United Way corporate partners was amazing, with the following companies represented through donations and volunteers:

AIG Global Finance
B&B Premier Insurance
Bank of America
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
BioSense Webster
CAD Consulting
City National Bank
Enterprise Rent-A-Car
Farmers Insurance
FedEx Home Delivery
KPMG LLP Audit Services
Neutrogena- Johnson & Johnson Inc.
R.J. Reynolds
Suburban Water Systems
United Health Care
Warner Brothers

Special thanks go to the United Way partners who made this possible- Communities in Schools, City Year, and Hollenbeck Middle School- as well as the Women Leaders Cabinet members in attendance who chaired the event: Patricia Hausknost, Carol Jackson, Lee Braly, Deborah Lee, and Nichole Curtis- your generosity and hard work are deeply appreciated!

Check out this photo gallery from the event:

MelaniewWomenLeaders“My name is Melanie Alvarez. I am an eighth grade student at El Sereno Middle School. I wanted to thank you because you guys all inspired me to have a reason to stay in school and not give up on anything…”

Melanie shared this letter with United Way’s Women Leaders at their event last month at City National Bank. She also got a chance to personally meet a woman who made a big impression on her during one of United Way’s Career Days: Maria Audero, a partner at Paul Hastings and member of our Women Leaders Cabinet.

In Melanie’s letter, which you can download and read here, she explains that while she always wanted to be a lawyer, she didn’t know what kind until she heard Maria talk about her career as an unemployment attorney. “I want to be known as the girl that didn’t let anything stop her from accomplishing something,” said Melanie.

This is a great example of the power of bringing young women and professionals together. Melanie and Maria, we salute you! To see more photos from the Women Leaders gathering at City National click here.

On Thursday night, members of United Way’s Women Leaders group gathered at the City National Bank offices in downtown L.A. for an evening of networking and to learn more about the organization’s ongoing mission to Create Pathways to Graduation for the children of L.A. County. The event program featured a special presentation by El Sereno Middle School student Melanie Alvarez and Maria Audero – a WL cabinet member and partner at Paul Hastings LLP – whose speech at United Way’s First Annual Career Day inspired the seventh grader to reach for the stars.


8740755183_d4ef8bbab2_zOn May 14, almost thirty United Way volunteers gathered at El Sereno Middle School to partake in the 2nd Annual Career Day. Volunteers from companies across Los Angeles spoke to more than 100 students, each over the course of 4 class periods. All sectors were covered – from acting to accounting – opening the eyes of students at this UWGLA partner school to a whole new world of possibilities. 

Melanie Alvarez, an 8th grade student, spoke to the group about her experience last year. She read a letter that she had written for the volunteers, stating, “You all inspired me to stay in school and never give up on anything I hope to achieve… thank you.” It was a very touching moment for both her teachers and the volunteers.

Principal Dr. Frances Gibson, who is in her first year with ESMS, thanked United Way for its many contributions over the past 2 years. Detailing the various ways UWGLA volunteers have been involved, she told them, “You are all teachers today. Thank you for being here.”

Volunteers spoke to music, science, math and social studies classes for the next 3 hours and shared their feedback with one another over lunch. While some questions were entertaining (“Can you get us into the Staples Center for free?!”- a question posited to a security firm owner), others were serious – discussing Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees and other educational paths that are important to forming a career.

Thank you VERY much to all our volunteers who participated! Your contribution cannot not be overstated. We hope to see you again next year for a new crop of students!

Click here to see photos from the event! 


2013 United Way Career Day Volunteers:

Maria Audero, Partner, Paul Hastings LLP

Brian Brummit, Actor     

Louis Castle, Police Sergeant/K-9 Handler/Instructor, Culver City Police Department (Retired)

Jessica Copenhaver, Vice President, Citi Private Bank

Josh Copenhaver, Vice President, Citi Private Bank

Jamila Fairley, Production Incentive Planning, Tax Manager, Fox Entertainment Group

Angela Fentimen, Media & Employee Communications Manager, Southern California Gas Company

Zulema Garcia, Partner, KPMG

Anthony Garrison, Interim Director, Asian Pacific Student Services, LGBT Student Services, Loyola Marymount College

Deborah Lee, Partner, International Tax, PwC

Ben Lewis, Area Sales Manager, UPS

Chad McKinsey, Musician            

Susan McNulty, Occupational Therapist/Adjunct Professor, USC

Betsy Monahan, HR Director, ACCO Engineered System

Mabel Munoz, Program Officer, First 5 LA

Lisa O’Rourke, Executive Director, Marketing and Communications, Loyola Marymount College

Aimee Quon, Mechanical Integration Engineer, JPL

James Rock, Senior Manager, Assurant Services, KPMG

Natalie Seaman, Senior Account Executive, Wellpoint/Anthem Blue Cross

Carolyn Spaeter, Account Management Executive Consultant, Anthem Blue Cross

Le Tang Story Artist, Dreamworks Animation

Cynthia Torres, Senior Account Executive, UPS

Christina Ward, Executive Team Leader – Human Resources, Target

Austin Wheelon, MEP Coordinator, PCL Construction Services, Inc.

Jeff Zisner, President & CEO, AEGIS Security &
Investigations, Inc.


13 Career Day 5.14.2013 016On Tuesday, members of United Way’s Emerging Leaders and Women Leaders presented their second annual Career Day at El Sereno Middle School in Los Angeles.

Representing organizations such as Anthem Blue Cross, the Culver City Police Department, Dreamworks, KPMG and PwC, professionals from the public, private and nonprofit sectors shared with hundreds of eager young students their tips for launching successful and rewarding careers.

Click here to see photos from the event! 


On Tuesday May 14th, almost 30 United Way volunteers convened at El Sereno Middle School’s campus to talk to students about their careers and the paths they took to arrive where they are today. Mostly made up of United Way’s Women Leaders & Emerging Leaders affinity group donors, the volunteers came from a variety of professional sectors- from acting to accounting- and took time to answer questions about education, jobs, and personal passions. Thanks so much to our volunteers!

 On Tuesday, April 23, 2013 the Executive Members of United Way’s Women Leaders took part in a very special evening designed to unite women in the true spirit of friendship and philanthropy. The intimate gathering – hosted by United Way Board Member Caroline Nahas  – featured both an address by WL Cabinet Chair Patricia Hausknost and a tribute to former Cabinet Chair Jan Cloyde.

WomenLeaderPhoto3.29.13“I know that whenever women lead in good work, men will follow.”- Frances Wisebart Jacobs, a founder United Way, as quoted in the Rocky Mountain News, August 27, 1888

On March 6-8, United Way of Greater Los Angeles Women’s Leaders volunteers Patricia Hausknost (City National Bank) and Carol Jackson (Macy’s) and staff members joined over 275 volunteers and staff from across the country at the inspiring United Way Women’s Leadership Summit in Charleston, SC to share strategies and best practices to advance the work of a movement now over 55,000 members strong.

Highlights of the Summit included:

  • A celebration of raising over $1 billion collectively over the past 12 years, an amazing milestone!
  • Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole (Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art) and Ann Stallard (CEO, Graphic Communications Corp., Lawrenceville, GA) received the United Way Women in Philanthropy Award, which was established to celebrate influential leaders who mobilize the power of women to advance the common good. 
  • General sessions presented topics such as advocating for women in leadership positions, and at least 30% representation of women on United Way boards and the art of storytelling to share work in the community. 
  • Honored guest speakers included Maya Moore (WNBA) and Mallory Weggemann (Paralympic Swimmer, Gold Medalist) , Rep. Carol Shea Porter (D-NH) and Chicago’s own Connie Lindsey (Northern Trust) and Whitney Reynolds (Host, The Whitney Reynolds Show).
  • Juana Slade (AnMed Health), 2012 Chair of the National Women’s Leadership Council passed the leadership torch to the new 2013 Chair, Cynthia Gibson (Scripps Networks Interactive).

You can become part of the movement. Learn more about the United Way of Greater Los Angeles, Women Leaders here.

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