BOSTON – More than 1,200 female business leaders attended United Way’s 18th Annual Women’s Leadership Breakfast, one of the year’s signature philanthropic events for women. The event, hosted by United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) at the Westin Copley Hotel celebrates women’s role in philanthropy, as female leaders are increasingly becoming top earners and having a greater impact on the philanthropic industry. United Way set a goal to raise more than half a million dollars as a direct result of the breakfast to fund programs to help children, youth, and families.
This year’s event featured a keynote speech by Fawn Germer, a nationally renowned author and motivational speaker who has written and spoken extensively about leadership. Germer’s recent book, Hard Won Wisdom was praised by Oprah Winfrey as “very inspiring” and her advice to the women in the audience was a call to action, reminding the group that they have the power to make their lives and communities better, rather than surrender the negativity that so often pervades our culture.
“Our Women’s Leadership Council continues to engage women in our work, not only as powerful fundraisers, but volunteers and advocates who open both their hearts and wallets to our community. Whether it’s reading to a child every week or co-chairing an event, they are an invaluable part of United Way’s work and success,” said Michael K. Durkin, President of United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley.
Guests also heard from Brenda Rodriguez-Andujar, the Director of Programs at United Way partner agency Hyde Square Task Force in Jamaica Plain, who shared stories of youth who have found their voice through Hyde Square Task Force.
“Our work empowering the youth here in Jamaica Plain to find success would not be possible without the support, on so many levels, that United Way provides,” said Rodriguez-Andujar.
The event was co-chaired for the second year by Ellen King of Sun Life Financial, Rebecca Chasen of Deloitte, and Kathy MacVarish of State Street.
“The three of us had such a great time hosting this breakfast last year and working with the WLC throughout the year, that we were delighted to host again,” said Ellen King, the local WLC representative to United Way’s National Women’s Leadership Council. “We hope that even more women left the event today inspired to get more involved and make a difference for our community.”
The Women’s Initiative LIVE UNITED Award was presented to Kit Jenkins, Executive Director and Mary Flannery, Founder of Raw Art Works in Lynn for their work with local youth. The second awardee was Kip Hollister of Hollister Inc, CEO of the local staffing company, who was honored for her many years of volunteer work in the community.
The Women’s Leadership Breakfast is sponsored by United Way corporate partners such as Deloitte, State Street, Sun Life Financial, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Boston Financial Data Services, Cabot Corporation, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Eaton Vance Management, Nordstrom and P & G Gillette.
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About United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley
One of the region’s largest nonprofits, United Way’s work ensures that children enter school ready to learn, youth stay engaged in school so they graduate with options for the future, and parents attain financial stability. No other single organization has the scope, expertise, and influence to bring together hundreds of human services agencies, government, businesses, private foundations and dedicated volunteers around a common vision of creating maximum impact and achieving long-lasting results.