Current employer or place of business: Shareholder with Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
Organization(s) I volunteer with: While I am involved in several community organizations, I am very excited about a new group recently established to raise money to support local nonprofit programs for women and girls of all ages called Empower Women + Girls. The idea is to pool donations to award grants to programs and activities that celebrate, promote and empower women of all ages in Clark County. We had our kick-off last month and more than 50 women attended and we are on our way to reach our goal of giving away $100,000 a year to programs that meet our vision.
How I got involved: Over time I have observed that there are amazing women (and girls too) doing great things in their profession (or school), that don’t realize how wonderful they are. They lack the confidence to recognize their value and unique contributions, and our community is the poorer for it. A few women who have seen what I have seen or have experienced this lack of confidence for themselves started talking about what we could do to help women and girls become more confident. It became very apparent that we had no business trying to develop a program and we decided to inventory the current programs available in Clark County that address these empowerment issues.
We found that there are some great programs already in the community and they could use funds to expand those programs to other venues. We also learned that there are exciting ideas for new programs, but no funds to get them off the ground. So, we decided to use the power of a group of passionate women to raise funds that will assist the expansion of existing programs and support new programs. We then confirmed with existing nonprofits that they did not see this funding group as competition from their fundraising efforts.
It has taken about three years from the first lunch conversation to grow into this committed group of amazing women and it has been really cool to be involved from the ground up.
Why I give back: I am very lucky to have had very supportive family members that have always supported me and told me that I could do or be anything I wanted. However, our society continues to communicate that somehow, by being a woman or girl, or having female traits (e.g. “blonde jokes”) we are somehow “less” than men. I have seen it in schoolyards, in my profession and in social situations.
Proudest moment as a volunteer: Experiencing the energy and sense of community at Empower Women + Girls’ first event. Not only are we helping others, we are creating a great support network for ourselves.
What local challenge or issue are you most passionate about? See above. And to donate online, visit www.cfsww.org (click Donate, Donate Today, Fund Name – Empowering Women + Girls).
Just for fun: What are your hidden talents? Yikes. I am a closet actress.
“Paying it Forward: Volunteer Businessperson of the Week” is sponsored by Pacific Continental Bank.