Meet Michele, A Passionate Early Childhood Champion

Women United educates, engages, and empowers women in Greater Austin. Each month we will spotlight and bring you a closer look into the lives of one of your fellow Women United Members. We are proud to celebrate women as philanthropic leaders and are honored to have so many amazing women in our community.

Q&A with Michele Scott | Owner, Square Move Realty

What do you love about Austin?

There are so many wonderful reasons to love Austin! 🙂 I am enamored by the vast Hill Country views, the hiking and biking trails that endlessly wind through the city, as well as the uniquely Austin local flair. From enjoying lazy afternoons on the lake with family and friends, to experiencing the live music and foodie scenes, Austin has something for everyone.

With all of the advantages of a big city, but with the vibe of a friendly small town, Austin strikes a uniquely perfect balance between hustle-and-bustle, and “keeping it weird”. Austin boasts a booming economy that offers exciting opportunities for families and people of all ages, as a result of a thriving startup ecosystem, several excellent universities, a growing biomedical industry, and the continued expansion of major companies opening offices here.

To sum it all up…Austin is an amazing city to call home!

How did you become involved with United Way for Greater Austin/Women United?

I had served as a member of organizational leadership for a Texas-based nonprofit and had also volunteered for other charitable entities prior to becoming involved with United Way for Greater Austin/Women United, and I really enjoyed my contributions in these roles. Following this time, through a series of connections, I came to meet the wonderfully inspired Senior Director of Donor Relations for United Way for Greater Austin, Michele Scherz.

Over coffee, Michele and I discussed our passions around equitable educational opportunities for all children in Austin, and in particular, the long-term impacts of a positive start to Pre-K. This discussion quickly segued into Women United’s advocacy in this space. Having three young children myself, I immediately empathized with those families in Austin who would benefit most from additional resources and support for their children. Noted author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell suggests, “Success is not a random act. It arises out of a predictable and powerful set of circumstances and opportunities”. I firmly agree with this sentiment, and I saw partnering with United Way as an avenue to advocate for our most vulnerable families, helping to change the circumstances of Austin area children, putting them on an early path to success.

Why have you chosen to gift your time, talent and resources through United Way and why are you passionate about early childhood care and education?

United Way’s overarching mission of improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good is a powerful NorthStar, and as a microcosm of this overall effort, improving outcomes related to early childhood care and education is a significant way to effect change.

I am passionate about ensuring that children and families in my local Austin community have the necessary resources and support to be successful… at the onset. Numerous studies have demonstrated that children with access to quality early learning are more prepared for kindergarten. When children enter kindergarten healthy and prepared, they do better in school and are more likely to graduate. These children become adults who are more prepared for the job opportunities of a global marketplace and to contribute to the strength of their communities. As the population of Austin continues to grow, I believe it is even more important to support the programs that will facilitate stability and equitable opportunities in our community. Supporting United Way gives me an opportunity to extend my reach to our Austin community through donations and volunteering.

How would you describe the value or impact Women United has brought to you personally?

Seeing firsthand the positive outcomes of supporting families in the Greater Austin area through Women United has had an immeasurable, personal impact. It has been wonderful to witness the humanity of volunteers coming together for a common good, and for such a meaningful purpose – specifically, to support our children. In earnest, what can be more important? Children are our collective posterity, and all children, irrespective of background or socioeconomic status, should be afforded equitable opportunities to have successful long-term outcomes. I have been energized by the powerful allegiance of Women United volunteers who share my passion to support early childhood education programs.

As a WU leader, what do you hope the group will accomplish over the next year?

Among others, there are two goals that stand out as key, strategic imperatives for the group. First, it would be impactful to expand our already wonderful partnership with Success by 6 to increase access to quality Pre-K programs for vulnerable families in our community. Secondly, an upward trend in membership growth is key to delivering long-term, sustainable outcomes. I would love to see our Women United membership grow by 25% over the next year… so expect to hear more from me on the wonderful ways you can get involved with Women United!

Thank you, Michele, for your dedication and support to the early childhood community. You and passionate champions like you make the work we do possible. 

 “Michele has been a dynamic volunteer leader over the past year lending her time and talent to strengthen our member programs and ensure that every member knows the impact of their investment. Michele also has one of the best smiles in Austin that brightens my day every time we meet.”

-Michele Scherz, Sr. Director of Donor Relations
United Way for Greater Austin

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