Women United News Briefs – Recent Events

Good in the Neighborhood

Women United hosted Good in the Neighborhood on October 30 from 12-1 p.m. focusing on United Way Suncoast’s Neighborhood Resource Centers with over 60 people tuning in across our five-county footprint to learn about how investing in neighborhoods changes the trajectory of our community. Kimberly Crum, Chief Human Resource Officer for Pinellas County Government and Mission and Volunteerism Chair of Women United moderated the conversation highlighting the centers located in Clearwater’s North Greenwood, St. Petersburg’s Campbell Park and Tampa’s Sulphur Springs neighborhoods.

Leaders at each center shared the history of the centers and how each have pivoted to address the growing needs since the pandemic began; Eduardo Feliz shared about the expansion of our food distributions, Dr. Jeffrey Johnson shared about financial stability initiatives including how the centers continued to support residents through VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), even virtually, and Paula Kay shared how her team has ensured teens have a safe space to do e-learning. Given the limitations in internet access that so many have, their needs would have been left unmet without supporters from the United Way Suncoast stepping up to ensure services could continue.

Kimberly Crum asked participants to visit our centers, give and to consider becoming a champion for United Way Suncoast through joining our affinity groups and announced the next Women United program on December 4th led by Women United Annual Conference Chair and United Way Suncoast Tampa Bay Area Board Member, Thais Rodriguez-Caez. For more information about Women United, including our calendar of events, visit our website.


Advocacy 101

Dr. Sandra Stone and Nancy Sykes, Advisory Council Members from the Sarasota- Manatee-DeSoto region, hosted Advocacy 101 on September 17, in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote. Over 40 participants joined the event to learn how to best communicate with elected officials and stay apprised of local jurisdiction’s responses to community issues. Proceeds benefitted the United Way Suncoast.

Natalie King, VP and COO of RSA Consulting facilitated the virtual panel. Reggie Bellamy, Manatee County Commissioner, Liz Alpert, Vice Mayor and City of Sarasota Commissioner and Jacki Dezelski, CEO and President of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce shared their business and government perspectives. Commissioner Alpert revealed that neither of her parents went to college and that she did not decided to pursue her undergraduate degree until after she had raised her children and then, in her 50s, went on to become a lawyer. Commissioner Bellamy uses basketball as a tool to connect and inspire young people in his community and how spoke to how he focuses on remaining accessible to the people of Manatee County while prioritizing family, his faith and community work. Dezelski emphasized how critical it is to be a part of the conversation when advocating for transportation, childcare, education and other issues that affect the business community. She also emphasized the importance of issues facing ALICE families and participating in the Census to ensure every person in our community is counted. Before the program closed, panelists took a moment to reflect that the 19th amendment did not grant voting access to people of color until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Each panelists urged participants to register to vote, volunteer at the polls, and honor our nation’s progress by voting by mail or at the polls this fall and every election.

Post event, attendees were provided a digital toolkit to continue using their voice through voting, links to government websites with overviews of local ordinance and law changes, and information about how United Way serves as a leader in the public policy space for the nonprofit community and in advocating for ALICE families. You can watch the program here.


Launch Your LinkedIn

Nearly 40 Women United, Young Leaders’ Society and Campaign Coordinators gathered for a Lunch n’ Learn on September 30 to maximize their LinkedIn account for digital networking. Tickets were complimentary for members and coordinators and $15 for guests. Proceeds benefitted United Way Suncoast’s work to provide children and families with early learning, youth success and financial stability support. Kiana Romeo, Women United Advisory Council Member and Young Leaders’ Society Steering Committee Member opened the program and welcomed guests. Kasandra Perez and Suzanne Ricci from Computer Coach IT Training then dove into an interactive training on how to optimize personal and workplace profiles with LinkedIn. Tips included polishing your presence and improving analytics. Ricci suggests sharing content from local nonprofits to improve the search results for a personal LinkedIn account. Watch the recording of the program here.


Women United 2020 Fall Statewide Speaker Series

The Statewide Speaker Series with Secretary Laurel Lee was held on October 21 featuring Jessica Muroff, United Way Suncoast CEO as the moderator.