How long have you been involved with United Way?

More than 15 years.

Why did you decide to get involved with United Way and Women United?

I love how the United Way helps in the community. Their approach to support low-income families in every aspect of their lives and to help them have a sustainable transition is admirable. The United Way really “gets it”. I love the affinity groups that the United Way offers and having the opportunity to serve with Women United has been an awesome experience. It feels special to work with a group of women who have the same passion as you do to support women in the community.

How do you link your professional and philanthropic interests?

I recently transitioned from a role of 17 years to a position more aligned with my passion to work in the community.  During this time, I have had the opportunity to work closer with organizations like the United Way and engage others by sharing how the United Way helps our community and how they can be a part of their mission.

What advice would you give to someone considering inviting the women in their life to get involved with Women United? 

I would share that Women United is a group of focused, like-minded, generous, women who have a mission to change the lives of all women, by providing support and encouragement.

#WhyWednesday: Lisa Walker Holloway

For Lisa Walker Holloway, community service is a family value. Learn why she gives, advocates and volunteers as a cabinet member of Cole Women United:

During Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating everyday “sheroes” like Lisa Walker Holloway and the members of our Women United groups! Women United members are champions of change in our communities —donating their time, supporting women’s advancement and advocating for better futures for Greater Atlanta’s children. Learn more about becoming a member of Cole Women United or Tocqueville Women United.

#WhyWednesday: Jasmine Howell

Growing up, Jasmine Howell’s mother taught her the importance of kindness and acts of service. Today, she passes on that lesson to the next generation. Hear why Jasmine gives back to Greater Atlanta as a Cole Women United board member!

Cole Women United is a group working to mobilize women from diverse backgrounds to be leaders in the child well-being movement. Alongside Tocqueville Women United, our Cole Women work to empower women in Greater Atlanta and remove the barriers that keep families from thriving. Click here to learn more about engaging in the important work that Cole Women United is doing across our communities.

#WhyWednesday: Stayce Michelle

Meet Stacye Michelle – Cole Women United member, Delta employee and tireless advocate for our communities! Today, she shares how her involvement with United Way began.

Are you ready to make giving a lifestyle? Everyone has a role in United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Child Well-Being Movement. To change the lives of 250,000 children by 2027, we need volunteers, advocates and donors just like you! Learn more about ways to get involved.

Letter from the Cole Women United Chair

Denise Smith
Cole Women United Chair, 2019-2020
Senior Director, Product Management
Corporate Solutions – HR Technology, Cox Automotive

My early inspirations came from a dynamic group of women and men in my family lineage who provided numerous opportunities to engage members of their community through volunteerism, advocacy, and networking at social events (Sunday Dinners). Education and civic leadership were core values for my grandparents. They taught each of their 11 children how to become philanthropic leaders.  From as early as I can remember, my father who was a boy scout and my mother instilled in us to master our purpose, image, and exposure.

My journey in philanthropy began with my time in girl scouts and volunteering experiences with the Special Olympics.  My brother and I volunteered for the Special Olympics, an amazing organization that was championed by my mother and father who were inspired by my sister Matrice who has an intellectual disability. The mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

In my adult life, I volunteered for numerous organizations such as Camp English, United Way Young Professional Leaders Advisory Board, Women In Technology, MVK Atlanta Advisory Board, Every Girl Shines Board of Directors, and Cole Women United for which I am proud to lead as Chair for the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

My philanthropic trek has been building for over 35 years. I attribute my inspiration to my parents’ family core values. They ensured that we lived the Girl/Boy Scout values, understood belonging, and that family involvement in activities ,including serving the community, were a part of our weekly routines. For me, voluntarily serving on a board means that you attend at least 90% of organization’s activities to make an impact to our community. I believe that you must immerse yourself within an organization’s mission to truly appreciate and support their goals. Communities need volunteers who are present in the moment and willing to share their time and/or treasure to improve the lives of others.

I am excited about the year to come for Cole Women United and behalf of the Cole Women United Cabinet, we look forward to engaging Cole Women Members to learn more about the Women United Advancement Initiative and how it ties to United Way’s mission of improving Child Well-Being!