As a young professional in the working world, the biggest challenge I faced was learning how to create meaning outside of my career. College offers endless opportunities to get involved in the community through organizations and university sponsored events, but the professional world is much more fragmented and the opportunities are much harder to come by, especially when moving to a new city. LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change.) gives individuals aged 22-30 the opportunity to experience a centralized community of people hungry to get involved.

Through involvement in the community, young professionals develop leadership, communication and organizations skills that prove to be invaluable in the workplace. In addition, the network of LINC members goes beyond our city to over 20 other markets, providing ample opportunities to expand your personal network and surround yourself with people who will push you in a positive direction. The most important way to build a purpose filled life is by getting involved with the community now. While it may seem like balancing a career and getting involved with the community can be a challenge, we are here to show you how.

Together, we have created an organization of individuals who are actively engaging in philanthropy, advocacy, volunteerism and leadership in the Atlanta community. United Way’s extensive network and ties to the community provide a tremendous opportunity to learn about where the greatest needs are in the Atlanta community. And it doesn’t stop here – many members further expand their involvement with United Way’s partner organizations outside of their LINC involvement. The opportunities for growth are endless, and LINC gives each individual the network and exposure to understand the needs of our community and make a difference.

When LINC was formed back in 2015, we were encouraged as a network to just “do good” stuff. We convened for happy hours and volunteering. What we have realized? That is not enough. To truly be involved now we need a new commitment to our members and city: to Show Up United. We have to take the lessons shared by the leaders that positively influenced our history, couple it with our innovative skills and talent to support action and education. LINC Atlanta is committed to providing those opportunities to you—our members and partners.

As United Way’s Child Well-Being reframes their work into four priorities: Strong Learners, Economic Stability, Brighter Futures, and College and Career Ready, LINC will focus on creating activities that promote action and education around one of these investment priorities each quarter. We encourage all LINC members and your networks to participate in these experiences, share your ideas by joining a committee, and helping us increase our impact through service.

Our first priority area will be Strong Learners focused on improving third-grade reading levels and overall educational outcomes in Atlanta-based communities with low Child Well-Being scores. Take five minutes to read more about this priority area, and then follow us on Instagram and join our Slack channel to stay in the know!

Mitch Hogan

2020-2021 LINC Atlanta Vice Chair

 

Want to connect with Mitch? Message him at linc@unitedwayatlanta.org.

Hello LINC Atlanta! While the world is ever changing around us, this community has continued to prove that it goes above and beyond to support each other in times of uncertainty. We as LINC Atlanta look forward to bringing the same level of leadership, impact, networking, and change as our years past.

Our upcoming year will be filled with monumental change across the nation and in Greater Atlanta. United Way is continuing its steadfast mission to bring the Greater Atlanta community the resources it needs to succeed, including you as LINC members.

Having been a part of LINC for almost four years, I know our Board will continue to bring Atlanta the kindness, activism, and desire to be active and get hands-on. As the 2020-2021 LINC Board Chair, I’m looking forward to our network growing and getting to know each other over the next 12 months. The individuals that comprise our young professional networks continuously challenge perspectives, bring fresh ideas to the table, and deliver on the need to tangibly transform this city we all call home.

In LINC, we look to connect young professionals with each other, the community, and impact opportunities that speak to their purpose. Whether your focus is on growing your professional network, solving needs around the city, or growing as a young voice in a large community, we look forward to lending a helping a hand in all of it. To help you achieve your goals, over the next 12 months we’ll host a number of virtual events, identify both virtual and non-virtual volunteer opportunities, and get to know one another as we all develop both personally and professionally.

Our year will be one to remember and I look forward to working with each of you to brighten our city. I urge you to reach-out with questions, or just to say hi. And while this year will look different than others, I look forward to LINC bringing the same positive energy and attitude it has always had as we kick-off the year.

Sincerely,

Rose Reardon

2020-2021 LINC Atlanta Chair

Want to connect with Rose? Message her at linc@unitedwayatlanta.org

United Way’s YPL, LINC asks ‘How are you?’

Affinity group looks to create dialogue around issue of systemic racism in light of recent deaths of Black individuals

George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man from Minneapolis, died May 25 after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground by a white police officer who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

Floyd’s death was captured on video, shared worldwide, and then set off a global movement of protests that quickly spread across the U.S. — protestors spoke out against yet another senseless and preventable death of a Black individual, and the unjust murders of Black people at the hands of police. These instances are common in Black communities, protestors say, and these deaths a byproduct of systemic racism in America.

The deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others related to racial violence remind us that even in the midst of a pandemic, there is another disease we need to fear, fight and prevent.

On May 26, the day after Floyd’s death, protests began in Minneapolis and spread nationwide as tens of thousands of people assembled in the streets to express their outrage and sorrow. Those marches quickly spread to Atlanta.

United Way of Greater Atlanta has always fought to end structural racism and upend the longstanding inequities that undermine the well-being of children, families and communities in our region.

There’s one way we can hope to overcome such division: by coming together and creating a dialogue around these issues.

With so much going on in the world, United Way’s Lead. Impact. Network. Change. (LINC) and Young Professional Leaders (YPL) network decided to reach out to its members and check in—to ask, “How are You?”

 

Here are some of the responses to the #HowAreYouATL tag on Instagram:

User @idasangel says while the movement has exposed certain things, these issues are nothing new for Black communities in Greater Atlanta and across the United States.

“Atlanta is my birthplace. I was raised here. And will forever serve here,” @idasangel writes.
“This movement has exposed systems, behaviors and beliefs that have sought to tear both this city and this nation apart.

“Lately, I’ve been feeling mentally drained, but this emotion isn’t new to so many of us.”

@johnsonkentara echoed that same feeling, simply stating “I’m exhausted.”

Also, via Instagram, @jenniferjakijohnson says these injustices are sickening.

“I know I am tired and sick from the injustices. It is undeniable [sic] a sad place to be in when you wonder if your Black son, brother, or father will return home safely,” @jenniferjakijohnson says.

@kd.noire thanked YPL and LINC for taking the time to ask a routine but important question.

“Asking ‘how are you’ maybe once seemed so routine and simple, but it is really vital to creating genuine connections,” @kd.noire says. “Thank you for asking and caring!”

We want to know how you’re doing.

How can you participate? We’re encouraging Greater Atlanta to join us in the conversation and share how you are feeling on social media using #howareyouatl and engaging with United Way’s Young Professional Leaders’ posts and stories here.

LINC Member Flashback: Jenny Jang
Director, Strategic Outreach & Engagement for Public Policy
Metro Atlanta Chamber

LINC: Tell me about your experience as a LINC member? What did your involvement look like?
Jenny: I have been with LINC from the beginning. In 2015, we didn’t have a formal board or anything. The same handful of people showed up to volunteer every time we received an e-mail from United Way. Two years later, I became the founding chair for LINC and served on a board with some amazing people that were always willing and ready to serve the community.

 

LINC: What is one of your favorite memories or moments during your time with LINC?
Jenny: For HoliDAY of Service, I had the chance to celebrate the holiday season by volunteering at Marietta Middle School, decorating cookies, and playing with Hispanic students as their parents learned to speak English in another room. This opportunity was very special to me because I attended the school as a kid, and I knew how special this was for the students and their parents. Growing up, I also was the only one who spoke English in my household; I saw the struggle of its limits my mom and dad’s immigrant tongues.

LINC: How are you continuing to stay involved in the community? How did your involvement in LINC affect your decision to give back?
Jenny: I served as a fiscal agent for Atlanta Partners of Education for the last five years, providing needs for our Atlanta Public School students and educators. I also started working with Thomasville Heights School two years ago to lead fundraising efforts to provide school supplies, coats, uniforms, and Thanksgiving baskets. The knowledge I gained and the relationships I built through LINC are what have allowed me to make a positive difference in our community.

LINC: What would you say to someone who is considering joining LINC?
Jenny: United Way LINC will provide various well-organized opportunities to serve our community. We can all make a difference in changing and improving the lives of others while serving as a role model for others and becoming a strong leader.

LINC: What is your favorite quote or personal mantra?
Jenny: May my heart be kind, my mind fierce, and my spirit brave.

LINC Member Flashback, Ashleigh Poff
Founder + Lead Event Manager, Rich Beyond Wealth

 

LINC: Tell me about your experience as a LINC member? What did your involvement look like?
Ashleigh: I’ve been a member of LINC since its inauguration. As a part of the nonprofit and conscious business scene, I’ve recommended LINC to my circles and have attended most of their events.

 

LINC: What is one of your favorite memories or moments during your time with LINC?
Ashleigh: One of my favorite memories is inviting 10 of my friends to attend a LINC event with me and all 10 of them showing up – WOW! We had a great time digging in the dirt, giving back, kicking back, and making the world a better place.

 

LINC: How are you continuing to stay involved in the community? How did your involvement in LINC affect your decision to give back?
Ashleigh: I dedicate at least 10 hours a month to volunteering, whether virtually or with LINC at events. LINC has helped me further cultivate the importance of supporting my city and community philanthropically when I can.

 

LINC: What would you say to someone who is considering joining LINC?
Ashleigh: Lead, Impact, Network, Change are seriously the keys to making life more enjoyable! Meeting people who care like you do [through LINC] is so necessary in this big world!

 

LINC: What is your favorite quote or personal mantra?
Ashleigh: I live the mantra of my business, Rich Beyond Wealth, “Possessions make you rich? I don’t have that type of richness. My richness is life, forever.” – Bob Marley

LINC Member, Anna Saraie
Attorney, Alston & Bird LLP

LINC: What inspired you to become involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s LINC group?
Anna: About two years ago, through participating in my firm’s United Way Campaign, I first learned about the many ways that United Way impacts our community. I participated in HoliDay of Service where I met a few members of the LINC Board and instantly knew that I wanted to be a part of this organization.

LINC: What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?
Anna: I fully support United Way’s current campaign promoting the well-being of children. I was shocked to learn that nearly 1.3 million children in the Greater Atlanta area live in communities with low or very low child well-being. United Way is taking steps to ensure that all children in the area are given the opportunities and the tools to succeed – I am glad that I can play a small role in helping United Way achieve this goal.

LINC: How do you balance your professional life with giving back? What motivates you to stay involved?
Anna: Balancing professional life with giving back to the community is not always easy, but the people in this organization have helped me stay engaged. The people I have met at United Way all come from different backgrounds, but we all have in common the understanding that it is critically important to give back to the community. Waking up at 8am on a Saturday to sort clothing for a foster care facility, wrap Christmas presents, or plant trees in the neighborhood is a little bit easier knowing the impact your contributions will have on someone’s life (and knowing that you’ll be serving alongside good friends!)

LINC: What would you say to someone who is considering joining LINC?
Anna: Come out to one of our networking or volunteering events! For me, participating in the HoliDay of Service event really opened my eyes to the amazing work that United Way does.

LINC: What is your favorite quote or personal mantra?
Anna: Go big or go home!

LINC Member, Brianna Maye
Brand Partnerships and Sports Marketing
Porsche Cars North America

 

LINC: Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s LINC group?
Brianna: As I began thinking about the next steps in my career, I knew I wanted to be a leader in both my role and the community. I wanted to find a way to give back in a way that is both fun and impactful. I heard about United Way and the programs they had to offer from my mentor and after looking into LINC and seeing the awesome work they were doing I was sold!

 

LINC: What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?
Brianna: I am most passionate about working with students and helping them prepare for college. I’m not so far removed from those days and I want to support others through that process as well. I’m really excited to share the knowledge and experience I have!

 

LINC: What is your favorite quote?
Brianna: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

 

Our annual holiday tradition was a record success! Nearly 300 young professionals and our partners joined us to serve at 12 different volunteer sites, bringing hope and joy of the season to hundreds of children and their families.

We addressed many barriers for children and families through projects like outdoor beautification, bike giveaways, donation sorting and more! We also enjoyed mingling at Eventide Brewing, where many were able to make new friends and memories in the spirit of giving back to our beloved community.

Last year we partnered with several young professional networks to get our members involved in the Child Well-Being movement, many of whom support United Way partner agencies. This year, the Urban League of Greater Atlanta Young Professionals and Salvation Army Echelon Atlanta Chapter answered our call to grow our impact event more by investing $1,250 to help us serve more children and their families at our sites.

Stacey Michelle chose to volunteer with FreeBikes4Kidz (FB4K) this year, a champion of Child Well-Being with the mission to help kids ride into a happier, healthier childhood. As a volunteer for their annual bike giveaway, Stacey assisted the kids with selecting the right sized helmet and bike, based on the child’s size, style and color preference. There were a lot of many wonderful choices of bikes and tricycles that the kids got to choose from. The warehouse was full of excitement and love. The kids were overjoyed and for some, this was their very first bike!

“As always, I enjoy volunteering with United Way. This year’s HoliDAY of Service has become my most favorite!” Stacey shared. “My most memorable part was meeting a family of four: two boys, one teenage daughter and a mom who is expecting her fourth child in early summer 2020. Their mother mentioned to me how she felt so blessed from the resources and services she received through United Way’s 2-1-1. This resource was her lifeline, which assisted the family with moving from out of a shelter into an apartment and also provided her the FB4K’s bike giveaway information!”

Join United Way’s LINC and YPL in making a difference in the lives of children and families throughout the year. Next up is SaturDAY of Service on Saturday, April 4, 2020. Whether you joined us or missed us for this day of service, you will not want to miss our April event. Mark your calendar to join the fun!

Check out the HoliDAY of Service photo album.

Interested in sponsorship? Contact Lauren Rock at ypl@unitedwayatlanta.org.

#WhyWednesday: Maria Torres

Maria Torres, Community Relations Specialist at UPS, has always been driven to make a difference. As a board member with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s LINC, she’s found her people and is fulfilling her purpose!

Maria says, “I always joke that I have a little ‘I want to save the world’ in me.” Today, watch Maria share her why and learn more about how she’s making an impact in our region alongside her fellow LINC members.

Ready to find your people? United Way’s LINC (Lead. Impact. Network. Change.) is a group of young professionals working to elevate their community and their connections—and you can be a part. Learn how you can get involved with LINC!

LINC Member, Maria Torres
Community Relations Specialist
United Parcel Service


LINC:
Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta’s LINC group?
Maria: I decided to get involved with LINC because I met Lauren at a UPS event and she told me so much about it that I had to check it out. The minute she mentioned community impact and being able to meet like-minded individuals, I was hooked. United Way and UPS have had a partnership for decades so I reached out to people who were once a part of LINC and they had nothing but positive things to say about it. I went to one meeting and knew this was something I undoubtedly wanted to be part of.


LINC:
What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?
Maria: I am most passionate about supporting their Kid’s Initiative, because kids are my priority when it comes to community impact. The impact that UW has made in just a year has been amazing, and I really want to see it continue, and be a part of it.


LINC:
What is your favorite quote?
Maria: “Never stop believing in the wild possibility that is you and your impact. Live in purpose. On purpose.”