Inspiration for year’s end

If you’ve met our president, Debbie Bresette, you know how inspirational she can be with both words and actions. And she knows no stranger. And only sees the best in all situations.

I think every organization deserves a leader like ours – one that’s full of big ideas and passionate for what they do. Her personality shapes this United Way – making this a positive, ambitious, motivating and ever-moving-forward place to work.

So with 2013 coming to a close and our 90th anniversary just around the corner (2014!), we decided to sit down with our President, Debbie Bresette, to get just a little bit more inspiration until the new year.

Why have you dedicated your life to this work?

I’ve always thought that with the right people in the right setting, we could really move people to a place where we could have honest conversations about poverty. Before I worked at United Way I could see that the organization brought these people together – in the right place and at the right time – and that excited me. 

I don’t want to be involved with changing one person – I want our systems themselves to change to support more people – and doing this kind of work gives me great satisfaction.

Why does the work matter?

I never wanted to work in a job that had no meaning – I was born into this life to make a difference – or at least try. I’ve also seen many injustices in my life. As I grew up and realized there was all this prejudice out in the world, it set inside of me this hatred for all of the unfairness and injustice out there and it has made me want to play a role in building a community where everyone loves one another and isn’t torn apart by things that don’t matter.

 Everyday I open up my heart because I think everyone is related somehow. 

– Debbie Bresette, President, UWATX 

You think that’s achievable?

Oh, I know it’s achievable. I know because it’s something I work on everyday inside of myself. I work really hard everyday to not judge people and work to correct myself when I do. Everyday I open up my heart because I think everyone is related somehow. I try to talk with everyone with deep respect because I feel that we are all part of the same thing. 

I’ve dedicated my life to this because I think we’ve created systems to keep people impoverished and lesser than us – and that’s not okay. We have to come together to make this world a better place. I know that I can’t do it all, but I’m going to do my part.

I don’t want to be involved with changing one person – I want our systems to change to support more people. And I think that together, we can make this happen. 


Had an inspiring encounter with Debbie? Let us know in the comments – and donate now to support her vision of making Austin greater for everyone.

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