By Tracy Kucera, Director, Tiffany & Co. Pittsburgh, Ross Park Mall; WLC Member; Co-Chair, Bridges Society
Young women are our community’s future leaders; it’s critically important to get them inspired and committed to doing good work in our community. Their involvement will not only benefit the community but their own development as well, creating a circle of personal and professional development.
When we empower and inspire young women to get involved in their community to make a difference, everybody wins. Here are some ways we can all encourage the younger generation of female leaders:
Share Your Experiences
I was inspired to get involved with United Way after hearing several strong female community leaders speak of their experiences. I can still remember Maris Bondi of UPMC Health Plan, telling me about her involvement with United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council. Her enthusiasm and passion for the organization sparked my interest and compelled me to give back.
Extend an Invitation
The only thing better than hearing about something great is actually having the opportunity to be part of it. By inviting young women to go with you to community or volunteer events, you open their eyes to the opportunities around them. It’s that easy.
Last year, I purchased a table at United Way’s annual Women’s Leadership Council breakfast and invited other women to join me for a morning of inspiration. It felt great to share my passion for giving back with other like-minded women and tell them about how they can get involved, as well.
Show the Benefits
It’s easy to see how the community benefits from the great work of local organizations, but take it one step further. Empower young women to get involved by showing them how they personally can be impacted by giving back. Besides the warm feeling of doing good, young leaders can network and develop both personally and professionally by volunteering in their community.
Sponsor Their Involvement
There are many ways organizations can pave the way for young women’s involvement. Sponsor a table at an upcoming community event, bring someone to a networking lunch or host a volunteer or professional development event for women at your company.
United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council offers a program called TOGETHER Leading. Current members have the opportunity to sponsor a young woman, allowing the young lady to have access to everything WLC has to offer, without any financial commitment for two years.
When I heard United Way was offering this, I immediately stepped up and turned out to be the first member to participate. And I’m so glad I did. This program is the first step to building the WLC’s future.
Does your company offer support to those who give back? For example, at Tiffany & Co., employee donations to 501(c)(3) organizations are matched. By offering this incentive, our employees feel their time and dollars are making that much more of a difference.
It’s easy to take the leap yourself to get involved and give back to your community. But after doing so, it is important to share your experiences and encourage others to do the same. Young women can make a difference in our world and community; it’s our job to empower them and lead them to the opportunities to get involved.