“I am still a person who picks the newspaper up off her doorstep every morning.”

J. Lee Braly, the newest Chair of United Way of Greater Los Angeles’ Women United group, does much more than that. She picks people up, too — whether they are young people needing help with their careers or homeless individuals who need help getting back on their feet.

Lee embodies the spirit of United Way of Greater Los Angeles.

“I like to get to the root causes of things,” she said. “Solving problems starts with understanding the data and getting to the root cause. Once you understand the root causes for issues, whether they're business issues or societal issues or personal issues, then you can actually create a plan and address that.”

“If you don't understand the root causes then it's very hard to affect change,” Lee continued. “Because often you're dealing with what you assume is the problem without truly understanding what really is the issue at bottom.”

This commitment to facts, data, and source information stems back to her studies at school. As a former journalism major and finance MBA, the importance of research and making decisions based on proper data points became ingrained in Lee.

This approach has served her well in both her professional career and her philanthropic work.

“I love mentoring. I love helping young people find their path,” Lee said. “Actually, I really love helping anybody, at any stage in their life or career, find a path for work that they can be passionate and enthused about.”

“I just love to see people make the biggest impact on the world that they can.”

She is bringing that passion to her work with Women United, where she was Vice Chair for three years before becoming Chair this year.

“Our focus for Women United is to really help women empower themselves and empower others to make the largest impact that they can,” Lee said.

This empowerment will also extend to United Way of Greater Los Angeles as a whole.

“United Way is all about helping people stand on their own feet and be successful,” she said. “To be able to house themselves, clothe themselves, feed themselves, and have meaningful work.”

And Lee will continue to pick up the newspaper off her doorstep, to tune into NPR in the morning, and dig into the various studies underwritten by United Way of Greater Los Angeles – all in an effort to understand root causes and empower us all.

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