Category: Women’s Leadership Council

Recognizing Excellence in Corporate Philanthropy: 2015 Campaign Awards

At United Way for Greater Austin, we run more than 200 employee campaigns in nearly 700 locations in the Austin area. Employee campaigns provide an opportunity for businesses to empower employees to be philanthropists by donating a portion of each paycheck back to the community. Last night, we celebrated and recognized companies who excelled in building philanthropy in our community at our 2015 Employee Campaign Awards. Award winners: Best Practices: Superior Health and Texas Gas This award recognizes the company that implements UWATX’s best campaign practices, which include Senior Officer involvement, access to employees and use of UWATX campaign materials among several others. This year we had two winners for this award. Superior Health kept their campaign at one week to give a sense of urgency; they also planned a week of fun, educational experiences for their employees encouraging them to give. Texas Gas established multiple opportunities for UWATX staff to come and speak to their employees about our work, as well as ran a closed campaign where employee donations were matched 1:1 by their foundation. Community Investment Award: H-E-B The Community Investment Award represents a company or companies who exemplify what it really means to wrap arms around a community to make a significant impact. Anyone who shops at H-E-B realizes it’s not your normal grocery store. This year, H-E-B decided to increase corporate giving to match the generosity of their employees and UWATX experienced a 150% increase in corporate giving. They make philanthropy a part of their culture and host […]

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Gentrification and Gender: How Austin’s Changing Neighborhoods Affect Women and Children

Austin Community Foundation and United Way for Greater Austin co-hosted a panel on May 12th, “Gentrification & Gender: How Austin’s Changing Neighborhoods Affect Women and Children.” The panel was put on for both organizations’ women’s groups, UWATX’s Women’s Leadership Council and ACF’s Women’s Fund of Central Texas. Panel speakers were Dr. Eric Tang and Dr. Victor Sáenz of the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Tang is an assistant professor in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department at UT. His research revealed that Austin was the only major growing city in the United States to experience an absolute numerical decline in African Americans. Dr. Tang is currently working on a book, East Avenue: African Americans in Austin’s Terrain of Inequality. Dr. Sáenz is an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on the educational success of boys and young men of color. Dr. Sáenz has developed a successful mentoring program for Latino boys in Austin ISD schools and created a statewide consortium to share best practices. He sees the educational success of boys as key to creating healthy families and communities. The panel started with a video from an Austin-American Statesman project on economic mobility in Austin. The video does a great job of describing how the history of segregation in Austin has led us to the current state of East Austin today. Dr. Tang elaborated on some troubling statistics from the most recent censuses in Austin. Austin is the only major city in the […]

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Volunteer Spotlight: Rina Patel

Rina Patel was first introduced to the United Way of Greater Austin more than 10 years ago through her position as the Wells Fargo area president for Mid-Central Texas. Upon moving to Austin in 2013, UWATX VP of Mission Advancement Dr. Leah Meunier, who then was in charge of managing our Women’s Leadership Council (WLC), met with Rina to introduce her to the giving society. “I have remained a WLC member because I am passionate about helping our youth—particularly through early childhood education— and ensuring they are set up for success,” said Patel. “The program also offers the opportunity for motivated, passionate, community-minded women to network and collaborate for a great cause. In particular, I’ve enjoyed the WLC meetings because the team always comes up with creative ways to educate everyone about important topics that need to be addressed in Austin.” Rina is also a dedicated volunteer and appreciates that Wells Fargo is invested in giving back to our community as a corporation as well. She finds that volunteering with her team members by sharing the expertise they already have is one of the best ways to give back. Wells Fargo’s Austin team has an impressive volunteer track record. More than 495 Wells Fargo Austin team members have volunteered more than 11, 500 hours and supported 695 nonprofit organizations through these projects. This includes 100 team members serving on local nonprofit boards, building three homes for families in need over 13 days and raising more than $325,000 last year to […]

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International Women’s Day Spotlight: Amy Green-Hinojosa

Today is International Women’s Day, a day where women around the world are celebrated for their social, economic, cultural and political achievements. The origins of this day date back to 1908, when female oppression and inequality inspired women to become more vocal and active about gaining better pay and voting rights. We now celebrate this day globally in various ways, ranging from festivals, concerts, female-driven tech conferences and more.  This year, we are celebrating by highlighting one of UWATX’s longtime female supporters, Amy Green-Hinojosa. Not only is Amy a dedicated Women’s Leadership Council member, but she is also an Employee Campaign Leader at her workplace, Texas Mutual. As an Employee Campaign Leader, Amy plays a critical role in leading and inspiring her co-workers and employees to give back to our community through campaign. It is investors, volunteers and community leaders like Amy, and their continuous support, that allow our organization to thrive and make Austin greater. We took some time to chat with Amy about her background and involvement with UWATX and why she is invested in this community. How long have you been involved with United Way and in what capacities? I have been contributing to United Way since I began my adult career, first in California, then here in Texas. I have been an ECL many times in my career. I was active in the Austin Young Leaders Society in my younger days ,and then I transitioned to the WLC. I served on the Executive Committee of WLC for a few […]

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Dr. Leah Newkirk Meunier on “Leaning In”

We are pleased to feature our very own Leah Newkirk Meunier, Ph.D. in an upcoming Lean In Panel, a sold-out UWATX signature event sponsored by St. David’s HealthCare. The panel is based on the concepts laid out by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, in her groundbreaking book, Lean In, which discusses how embracing a career and a healthy family life are applicable to both women and men. In the book, Sandberg argues that 21st Century challenges are going to be best tackled by people who can stay at the top of their games professionally while not sacrificing their ability to be great parents and spouses. This panel will offer valuable thoughts on how to “lean in”—thoughts that are important for people of all ages and at all stages of life. When asked about her take on Lean In, Leah offered insight about those who have inspired her to achieve great success in her personal and professional life. “When I think about the women who paved the way for me to achieve all that I have, my husband’s 95-year-old great aunt, Honey, comes to mind. She was leaning in before it even had a name. As a Chinese-American immigrant and a woman who was not permitted to attend college or learn to drive a car, she had very little opportunity presented to her, but singlehandedly ran not one, but two businesses!” Dr. Meunier is the head of our Women’s Leadership Council and director of the Early Childhood Business Alliance and […]

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2014 Texas Conference for Women

This year’s Texas Conference for Women takes place on Thursday, November 13, and with more than 100 impressive speakers, you don’t want to miss out! The conference offers business networking and personal development opportunities. It is a nonprofit, non-partisan event with sessions on a variety of topics, including personal finance, health and wellness, and career advancement.     Becky Arreaga, a member of the Women’s Leadership Council and the UWATX board, will not only be attending but also hosting her own roundtable this year. Becky is agency president of Mercury Mambo, a Hispanic marketing agency in Austin she started with her two business partners in 1999. We sat down with Becky to get her top five “must-sees” of this year’s conference.   1. Diana Nyad “Nyad epitomizes perseverance. She is proof that a ‘can-do attitude’ is ageless. At 60 years of age, she completed a lifelong dream of swimming 110 miles from Cuba to Florida. Her message of ‘never stop working towards your dream’ really resonates with me at this stage in my life.”    2. Soledad O’Brien “An award-winning journalist, O’Brien sheds light on human and civil issues in her series ‘Back in America’ and ‘Hispanic in America.’ Her story is compelling as she is multiracial, being both Black and Hispanic. Her background provides a unique purview from which to view and report world events. Soledad represents the perfect role model for young girls in general, but especially for young Latinas, who lack visible role models.”   3. Shiza Shahid “She is the CEO […]

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Success By 6 Center Project Results

The need for services Anyone who has a toddler of their own, or has spent any amount of time around a 2-year-old, knows that these tiny tots can be quite a handful! 11:1 The state-approved child-to-teacher ratio for 2-year-olds in Texas child care centers In Texas, the state approved child-to-teacher ratio for this age group in child care centers is 11:1. Can you imagine? Up to twenty-two energetic children being cared for by only two sets of hands! Now, picture the same scenario where many of the children struggle academically or have behavior challenges and there are a serious lack of resources available to their instructors. United Way for Greater Austin’s Success By 6 program works with 12 local child care centers that serve low-income children to help them meet and keep high-quality standards by providing an array of support services that positively impact students and teachers. Success this year This past year, more than 900 children and 180+ teachers benefited from UWATX’s Center Project, which leverages in-kind support to provide resources, teacher training and professional development, social-emotional learning and director mentoring. 900 children served   180+ teachers impacted   1,500 hours of skilled substitute care Through the substitute pool, UWATX substitutes provided more than 1,500 hours of care in these centers. Success By 6 knows that just because a classroom isn’t lead by the usual instructor, we cannot afford to let a day’s worth of valuable learning go to waste! After assessing more than 250 children, the Center Project results from […]

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WLC Spotlight: Co-Chairs Anu Reddy and Robyn Eckermann

UWATX is delighted to introduce our Women’s Leadership Council Co-Chairs, Anu Reddy and Robyn Eckermann. These ladies are excited to be part of one of the most powerful, female-driven philanthropic forces in Central Texas! Anu Reddy Anu Reddy grew up in India and moved to Austin twenty years ago. She is the dedicated mother of two boys and is a Regional Sales Specialist at VMWare. When asked how her membership with WLC has helped her advance her goals, Anu said, “I’ve always wanted to give more than just through a monthly paycheck contribution to a charity of choice. WLC gives me a chance to see the direct impact of my contribution. Professionally, I get to meet so many other amazing like-minded women from various backgrounds.” “I get to meet so many other amazing like-minded women from various backgrounds.” The WLC is committed to issues surrounding improving early childhood education and ensuring quality care for Austin’s youngest citizens. When choosing early education centers for her own children, Anu looked for facilities that had a reputation of excellence and that offered real-time footage so she could check on her children while at work. Anu is a self-proclaimed ‘foodie’ and enjoys trying new restaurants, playing tennis and reading. She is also a fan of Kendra Scott, a well-known female entrepreneur from Austin. Anu believes that generosity Makes Austin Greater. She is proud to be a part of the Greater Austin community, where people readily band together to help others. Robyn Eckermann  Robyn Eckermann, […]

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WLC Spotlight: Daniela Knight

With Parents’ Day 2014 just around the corner, it is UWATX’s pleasure to introduce Daniela Knight, mother of two, Registered Dietician, and recent inductee and executive committee member of Women’s Leadership Council (WLC). Daniela served as a Board Member of Austin NCL in addition to owning Austin Nutritional Education where she provided her expertise on diabetes control, weight loss and healthy eating habits. She also impacted the community through her outstanding work as a Senior Health Educator with The Austin Diagnostic Clinic and as a Clinical Dietician with the Round Rock Hospital. Daniela is excited to be a part of WLC, the most powerful, female-driven philanthropic force for improving early childhood education in Central Texas. For Daniela, being part of WLC is a chance to “get more invested in the community and connect with a diverse group of successful women”  Based on her personal experience as a parent, Daniela has seen first-hand how education and stimulation at a young age can positively impact a child’s success later in life. She views her involvement with WLC as a chance to become even more invested in the community and connect with a diverse group of successful women as powerful force for change. In the past, Daniela and her family were able to contribute to the community through activities with Girl Scouts, Booster Clubs and National Charity League. As her youngest child prepares to graduate from high school, Daniela is exploring new ways of giving back through WLC. Daniela hopes to utilize her public speaking […]

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