Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta?

I have been a long-time participant in United Way campaigns throughout my career path in Corporate America. For over 35 years, United Way and area grantees have been the focus of my annual giving initiatives.  All through the years, no truer words echoed with each year’s campaign – “it’s the right thing to do”.

Who or what inspires you to give back to the community?

As a child, my parents instilled the importance of ‘giving back’ to those in need.  Our small family of 4 was not considered wealthy, but what little we did have, we shared with other friends and neighbors.  Each year, my sister and I bagged the clothes that we had outgrown and we took them to family friends who had children our ages.  When we arrived with the bags of clothing each year, I can vividly remember them running out to the car in anxious anticipation of tearing open the bags to find the clothes their size.  To this day, the image of those happy children and the smiles on their faces are etched into my memory.  To me, those clothes were old and worn; to them, they were brand new and beautiful.

Why did you decide to become a Cole Society member?

Genuine Parts Company has five Operating Principles and one of those is Giving Back to the community. By participating in the Cole Society Level, I know that my contributions are making a positive impact. I am assured that every dollar is utilized in the best way possible in making a difference in the lives who receive those funds.

What advice to you have for others who are thinking about becoming a Cole Society member?

It is a personal choice and financial sacrifice but give what you can. Always be assured that any amount you contribute will be allocated to organizations in your community that make the most difference in the areas of health, education, and income.

What advice do you have to navigate the COVID-19 crisis (from a personal and/or corporate perspective)?

We may be apart physically, but in our hearts, we are all in this together.  If every contributor would rise to the call of helping those in need, together, we can have a huge impact on those communities in which we live, work and play.

What inspired you to become involved with Young Professionals Leaders?

Although I have lived in the Greater Atlanta area for 5 years, I still felt disconnected from the community. Community service has been an important aspect in my life, and since moving to Georgia, I saw that YPL provided engaging and impactful opportunities in multiple spaces that allowed me to be amongst my peers. Interestingly, United Way’s positive impact has touched my life so many times and its initiatives have run parallel to my core beliefs for years now – I see it as a welcomed destiny to align my efforts with YPL.

What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?

All of it! I love teaching children, being involved with financial and health education, as well as organizing uplifting professional and entertainment events with the purpose of bringing the local community together. A connected community is so powerful that it can uplift and grow successful members of society for generations to come.

What was the turning point that made you realize the importance of giving back?

I hold a philosophy of Ubuntu – “I AM, because we ARE”. I have always felt that we are all tied to one another. My experience with hardship as a youth was a driver to push for better socio-economic conditions using education early on. However, the turning point to expand my efforts in the community was when BOTH of my parents died consecutively and unexpectedly while entering my 1st and 3rd year of college. That initial feeling of “losing everything”—my mind and spirit—was earth-shattering. All I could do was grasp from the depth of my beliefs to get through the next day, which was to help heal myself through helping others. I imagined that if I was going through this, someone was going through something worse and who could bear that alone? My empathy allowed me to just KEEP. PUSHING. ON. I looked up and I realized that dropping out of college or taking a break was not an option. And as the haze faded, I knew I was exactly where I needed to be. The people around me helped tremendously, and most were total strangers! That encouragement and support lit a fire in me to continue using my gifts and time to help others in need.

How do you incorporate giving back into your free time? How are you continuing to stay involved in the community during a pandemic?

I prefer to choose work that I really like to do; therefore, my efforts flow around me and are an extension of who I am. During the pandemic, I elected to engage in various uplifting opportunities, such as reading to children, or planning community events.

What would you say to someone who is considering joining LINC?

Why not have fun and engage with the most awesome people in town?

What aspects of your life motivate you to thrive and why?

I’ve learned to sit still, listen and love myself. In addition, my practice of gratitude has opened the joy and opportunity in each day. Why? Because life, itself is a gift.

What was your first introduction to United Way? What inspired you to become involved with LINC?

As a recent graduate I was looking for a young professional group to join where I could network and engage in community initiatives. After doing some research I stumbled upon United Way and connected with Lauren Rock. Sitting down with her over lunch really gave me the opportunity to express to her what I was looking for in a young professionals group and she was able to outline all the amazing things the United Way does for me. It was the perfect fit!

What aspect of United Way’s work in the community are you most passionate about supporting?

I am most passionate about improving educational outcomes for youth. I believe having a solid education can provide children with a path forward and an opportunity to follow their dreams. During the pandemic I think it has been challenging to offer the same type of educational outreach to youth but I am hoping once the pandemic is over to have more chances to tutor kids.

What was the turning point that made you realize the importance of giving back?

Ever since I was younger I’ve wanted to find ways to give back I think because I had a longing to make the world a better place. So whether that meant walking dogs at the pet shelter or donating clothes to others in need, I always found ways to be a part of my community.

How do you incorporate giving back into your free time? How are you continuing to stay involved in the community during a pandemic?

During the pandemic I have tried to lean on safer ways of giving back that I was already incorporating into my life. Instead of my normal in person volunteering I have given back monetarily to help my favorite non-profits stay afloat. Much of the work they do has increased, yet the funds have continuously been diminishing so I do my best to try and help financially.

What would you say to someone who is considering joining LINC?

If you are looking for a community of like-minded young professionals who care about their communities then join LINC!

Who do you consider an inspiration and why?

Building community and seeing positive change is an inspiration to me. It is one thing to want to solve a problem but it’s always beautiful when you have the opportunity to see things come to fruition.

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.

Youlanda Mack

IT Technical Lead for Oracle ERP and Cloud Applications, Cox Enterprises, Inc.

Youlanda Mack is a Tocqueville Society member and an African American Partnership (AAP) member with the United Way of Greater Atlanta. Her day to day includes managing data and infrastructures that run applications for all Cox companies (CEI Enterprises, Cox Communication & Cox Automotive). As an IT technical lead for ERP and Oracle Applications, she is responsible for the operational support of the PeopleSoft Human Capital Management (HCM) and Autonomous Oracle Integration Cloud Applications. Although Youlanda is quite busy with her professional IT career, she recognizes the importance of serving as a mentor and makes time for the Atlanta community.

Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta?

I believe I can help inspire and give of myself for the betterment of people who look like me. Giving back is part of my values, beliefs and it is truly a gratifying experience. The ability to make a difference in someone else’s life inspires me. Seeing disenfranchisement firsthand as a child and in my local community motivates me to contribute to equalizing opportunities for others in need. This can be something as simple as guiding a kid to go to college or guiding a kid to consider a STEM career. I like that the United Way of Greater Atlanta has a large pool of partnerships and relationships to help multiple families that experience personal hardships in life.

Who or what inspires you to give back to the community?

Philanthropy is part of my core to make a difference in the lives of others. I am inspired to give back because I know firsthand the difference philanthropy has made in my life when others gave me an open hand of help. I am a product of the communities that I now give back to and serve through volunteerism, mentorship, and financial assistance. More importantly, I give back because I see a reflection of myself in many of the children, people, and families in the impoverished communities that we service and donate to through the United Way. I have a personal commitment to myself to always give back. It is also an honor and privilege to share my successes and my story to help others know that you can rise above any situation or condition and become who you aspire to be regardless of your circumstances.

Why did you decide to become a Tocqueville Society member?

Becoming a Tocqueville Society member happened by default. As I earn and obtain more financial success, I give more to causes that I believe in like the United Way which supports multiple causes. I truly believe “To whom much is given, much will be required (Luke 12:48)”. I love the mission of Tocqueville Society to lead by example by giving of our time, mentorship, and financial resources. The act of Tocqueville Society members giving at a higher level shows true commitment to uplift local communities, improve their quality of life, and provide opportunities for the betterment of those communities. As we uplift others, we uplift ourselves. I am truly grateful and honored to be a part of a network of philanthropic leaders who encourage and make a difference by providing resources and funding for long-term progressive change.

What is something unique about you that most people would not know?

I used to work two jobs to help pay for my tuition while completing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Houston. One of my jobs was working as a courier for FedEx. The other job was working as a programmer for an internship at the Houston Chronicle newspaper. I was determined to minimize my college debt while attending college and driven to achieve my goal to complete my degree. Sometimes you must do things and treat experiences as steppingstones to get where you need to be. Always remember your circumstances do not define who you are and who you can become. People would also be surprised to know that I used to be a Flight Attendant for American Airlines.

What are the top priorities of your business/industry now?

I would say two key top business industry priorities are customer experience and cybersecurity. We do what we can to improve the delivery of the product or service to the customer in this digital age by responding faster with high quality and agility. I believe it is key to understand your customer by engaging them with conversations and make proper adjustments based on customer feedback. Cybersecurity works in parallel with customer experience by protecting sensitive data, information, company networks, and systems of employees, customers, and vendors from fraudulent activity.

What advice do you have to navigate the COVID-19 crisis (from a personal and/or corporate perspective)?

From a corporate perspective, I take full advantage of the tools provided by my company, Cox Enterprises, Inc. All employees received a free subscription to Headspace. Headspace is an online subscription that offers meditation videos and techniques to combat stress and fatigue which is elevated as a result of the Covi-19 crises. Headspace guides you through meditation and relaxation through breathing exercises. From a personal perspective, I follow the recommendations of scientists and wear a mask in public places and maintain social distancing. Also, I use the delivered breathing app on my apple watch. It works great with an animation of how you should breathe with small and big breaths. You will be surprised how much just intentionally breathing throughout the day will relax you and reduce stress with the apple watch breathing app. Lastly, I must tell you that I have a morning song that I listen to that I play via Alexa, Lovely Day by Bill Withers – it motivates me to have a great day.

Thank you, Youlanda, for your leadership with AAP and the Tocqueville Society. We appreciate the direction and intricate work you do daily to keep IT infrastructures safely operating during the pandemic and beyond.

To get more involved with AAP or with the Tocqueville Society, please connect with tocqueville@unitedwayatlanta.org.

Why did you decide to get involved with VIP and United Way of Greater Atlanta?

I was looking for ways to enhance my leadership skills and ability, when VIP popped onto my radar. I had been involved with United Way since I joined UPS in 2010 and I saw the Volunteer Involvement Program was a way to flex the ways in which I’m able to give back to the community.

How have you used your VIP training in the community?

VIP inspired me to seek a board position based on qualities that are important to me. Board participation is more about quality over quantity. It also served as a reminder to never forget the mission of a non-profit, which is to seek ways to serve and assist those in need.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining a nonprofit board?

Participate in VIP! It is a game-changing program with great insights and wonderful presenters and participants!

 

Malika Terry is a United Way of Greater Atlanta Tocqueville Society member and the Vice President of Rewards for UPS. She leads a team of experienced professionals in crafting and implementing the organization’s Total Rewards strategy for its 495,000 employees worldwide. This includes base pay, variable pay, equity, benefits, work/life effectiveness, global mobility, recognition and retirement.

For over 20 years, Malika has held leadership positions with responsibility for compensation, benefits and retirement plans, including executive compensation and executive benefit programs. She has worked for mid- to large-sized companies in logistics, hospitality, manufacturing, media, service, retail and banking. Her achievements include leading acquisition and divestiture activities, introducing parental leave programs, developing and implementing sales incentive plans and establishing salary structures for international locations.

Throughout her career, Malika has been driven by her passion to help companies foster healthy connections with their employees. Since 2011, she has shared her enthusiasm and expertise with other rewards professionals as a speaker and faculty member for WorldatWork.

She has volunteered with the Make A Difference Foundation since 2009 and currently serves as director of programs and planning. We sat down with Malika to learn more about why gives back to the Atlanta community and how she is navigating the pandemic with her family and colleagues.

Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta?

I decided to get involved with the United Way of Greater Atlanta, after relocating to Atlanta from Cincinnati, OH where I was involved with the United Way of Greater Cincinnati.

Who or what inspires you to give back to the community?

I am inspired to give back to the community because, giving is a part of my DNA. I have a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Georgia and a Master of Business Administration from Mercer University; and I am passionate about helping people and contributing to the business community. I have an opportunity to utilize my MBA in my day to day work activities, and although I do not work in the field of Social Work, I have a strong desire to give back to the community and volunteering gives me a sense of purpose beyond my day to day responsibilities. I am also inspired to give back to my community in order to set a good example for our two daughters, Gabrielle (7) and Danielle (6); they both are kindhearted and we want to continue to cultivate their compassion for others and their willingness to spend their time and energy helping to make the lives of others better.

What advice do you have to navigate the COVID-19 crisis (from a personal and/or corporate perspective)?

My advice is to find the best way for you to reduce stress as we all adjust to our “new ways of working” and interacting with family, friends, and co-workers. Leverage the programs that are offered by your company, especially if your company offers an Employee Assistance Program. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of Employee Assistance Programs and mental well-being benefits. If your company does not offer an Employee Assistance Program, seek guidance from your medical provider, community resources, and/or mindfulness applications or websites.

When asked about the benefits of becoming a Tocqueville Society member by way of the Global Payments Match, Malika shared that she decided to become a member of the Tocqueville Society after being introduced to the program as part of her UPS campaign. She said that she is “excited to be a part of this program” and joined because the match “enables participants to increase their contribution over a four-year period.” For those Cole, Young Professional Leaders (YPL) and other community members who are thinking about leveraging the Global Payments Match to become a Tocqueville Society member, Malika encourages individuals to get involved! She said the match is a great way for companies to “get more employees introduced to the various leadership levels within United Way of Greater Atlanta.”

Thank you, Malika for all the great work you do to engage 495,000 UPS employees! We are grateful for your involvement in the United Way of Greater Atlanta Tocqueville Society and in the Atlanta Community!

For those interested in learning more about Tocqueville Society and how to leverage the Global Payments match, please click here, or email Tocqueville@unitedwayatlanta.org.

Amy Rudolph is a key part of the Atlanta legal community. She is a Partner at Eversheds Sutherland and is the Deputy Practice Group Leader of the firm’s US Litigation Group and co-leads the US and global Professional Liability Practices.

In addition to her day job, Amy makes community a priority. She is a member of the United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Tocqueville Society Cabinet, serving on the Engagement & Retention Committee. She also serves as the President of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Appellate Practice & Educational Resource Center. We sat down with Amy to learn more about what is important to her and why she gives back.

Why did you decide to get involved with United Way of Greater Atlanta?

I have been a United Way donor through my workplace campaign since 1994, and over the years have led three United Ways campaigns at my law firm.  I decided to get more actively involved with United Way a few years ago, simply because of the opportunity it presented to work with others in the Atlanta business community to benefit the Metro Atlanta area … but as I have gotten to know United Way better, I have been incredibly impressed by United Way of Greater Atlanta’s Child Well-Being Initiative and the impressive results it has achieved just in the last 2-3 years.  It’s great to know that I’m part of an organization that is making a difference.

Who or what inspires you to give back to the community?

I was taught from a young age that much is required of them to whom much has been given.  I am incredibly fortunate to have a steady job and successful career; a stable, loving family; a quality education; good health; and a nice home in a safe neighborhood.  Too many people in our community are not able to say those things. I have been given a lot in my life, and I like paying it forward, being a part of helping to make others’ lives better.

Why did you decide to become a Tocqueville Society member by way of the Global Payments Match?

I have gradually increased my United Way pledge over the years since my first workplace campaign, so my financial commitment to United Way was already fairly significant, especially through Cole Women United and United Way signature events like the Women’s Leadership Breakfast and Leading a Life of Purpose.  I decided that the match was a good way to help me ease into Tocqueville-level giving.

What advice to you have for Cole, Young Professional Leaders (YPL) and other community members who are thinking about leveraging the Global Payments Match to become a Tocqueville Society member?

My advice is to think carefully about your overall philanthropic philosophy – what are your priorities, what causes and organizations give you the most fulfillment (and why), and where does United Way fit into that philosophy.  Many people prefer concentrating their giving into one or two primary causes where they can have significant impact, rather than making a diffuse array of smaller contributions that will help a lot of organizations, but only incrementally.  If you share that mindset, then United Way is an excellent way to concentrate your philanthropic efforts – and United Way, in turn, can direct your gift to the organizations most in need of it in Atlanta.  So many nonprofits are doing such amazing work in Atlanta, and you may never have heard of them, but when you do hear of them, it’s really inspiring.  United Way does that research, tracks down these inspiring agencies and their creative programs, and directs our donations to where they are most needed.  The match helps you ease into Tocqueville-level giving, while increasing the dollars flowing to United Way and the organizations they support.  It’s a win-win!

What advice do you have to navigate the COVID-19 crisis (from a personal and/or corporate perspective)?

What a weird time this has been …. I don’t profess any sort of expertise in this area, but from a personal perspective what seems to have helped me along the way is to keep to some kind of structure for the work week and to punctuate the weekends.  I try to keep to my normal schedule for work (albeit from my basement), to dress nicely for work (at least for what will show on video conferences!), and set aside time each day for family and “me” time, some reflection, and, time permitting, some exercise.  Proving that I am not an original thinker, I, like so many others, took up cycling in the pandemic, and I have really come to look forward to nice bike rides on the weekends!  I have been pretty determined to keep my weekends free of work and have used that time to rest, recharge, exercise, fix a nice breakfast, fire up the grill for dinner (or support one of our local restaurants via takeout, and a generous tip!), read a good book, go for walks in nature (while socially distanced, of course), and even organize a few kitchen cabinets!  It’s also important to reach out to others, even by phone or email, just to see how they are doing – I could do a better job of that.

Thank you, Amy, for your insights, leadership and support of United Way of Greater Atlanta and the entire Atlanta community!

For those interested in learning more about joining Tocqueville Society by way of the Global Payments match, please click here, or email Tocqueville@unitedwayatlanta.org.

We are thrilled to introduce LaShonda Foy, our Vice-Chair of Tocqueville Women United!   As a member of the Ivan Allen Circle, Tocqueville Society, and our Tocqueville Women United Cabinet, LaShonda is a community leader who is working to create lasting change for Greater Atlanta.  Tocqueville Women United is a group of female Tocqueville Society members and community leaders who help generate, organize, direct, and influence the activities and dollars of the United Way of Greater Atlanta.   

LaShonda Foy is an experienced financial services and insurance leader. She is a Senior Vice President and Strategy Leader for Wells Fargo – Wholesale Control. She has experience in strategic planning, enterprise global services, risk management, underwriting, operations, and business development. As a Strategy and Control leader, she has responsible for driving risk management transformation, business integration, new business initiatives oversight, and an enhanced control environment. LaShonda earned her MBA in Finance and BS from Florida A&M University. She also holds professional industry designations – Associate in Risk Management (ARM), Associates in Claim (AIC) and Associate in Underwriting (AU).   

LaShonda is committed to youth advocacy and financial literacy. In addition to her leadership role with Tocqueville Women United, she serves as a board member and troop leader for Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, and youth volunteer for Northpoint Ministries. She has also served on the Board of Directors for Atlanta Insurance Ministries, Board of Directors for Next Century Youth; Fundraising Officer for Integrity Children’s Fund; Board of Trustees for New Fellowship of Praise, and Mentor for Young Risk Professionals. Additional volunteer experience includes Junior Achievement, Hands on Atlanta, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Literacy Volunteers of Atlanta, and Ray of Hope Children’s Ministry.   

LaShonda is married to Devin Foy and has four daughters.  In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities, running, dancing, watching her daughters sporting events, and planning family reunions. Her personal mission is to help identify and develop the best in others; foster physical, spiritual, and financial health; and share a spirit of compassionate giving. 

Join us in thanking LaShonda for her leadership and passion! Follow Tocqueville Women United to stay up to date on those who are leading the charge and inspiring the change!  

Tocqueville Society Member
David Abee

David Abee truly embodies the spirit of what it means to “Live United.”

Although his day job is with Synovus, he dedicates countless hours volunteering on the Tocqueville Society Cabinet. Furthermore, he leads the Engagement & Retention Committee as its chair, seeking to ensure that each member feels recognized and appreciated.

 

Prior to his experience with United Way of Greater Atlanta, David served in volunteer leadership capacities with organizations such as the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, Junior Achievement of Georgia, Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, American Heart Association and March of Dimes.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved with United Way?
A: Early in my career at the age of 21, my employer at that time encouraged both giving to and volunteering with United Way of Central Alabama; I started with volunteering my time tutoring elementary students in Birmingham and giving $10 a paycheck. Over the years, I have continued to volunteer and give, with it truly being a life-changing experience.

I continue to give to United Way today as a Tocqueville Society member, fully confident that every dollar continues to make a difference in the lives of all those around us. I completely TRUST United Way is making a real difference with those who need it most.

Q: Who or what inspires you to give back to the community?
A: The small community-based nonprofit that is passionate about making a difference in our local communities… THEY truly inspire me to give back to my community and do everything I can to support their efforts. They are heroes!

Q: If you were to choose another career path, what would it be?
A: I would love to teach, and I would enjoy helping others learn. To be a teacher is certainly a calling! Along with teaching a subject or a course, teachers truly play an important role in teaching life to students and pouring into them!

Q: Where is your favorite spot in Atlanta to grab a bite to eat?
A: Chops in Buckhead is my favorite restaurant!  Whether for a business lunch, a casual gathering with friends, or a wonderful dinner in the main restaurant or Lobster Bar… Chops is a great experience!

Q: What has Synovus done to support its customers and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: For the Synovus team, this COVID-19 pandemic has renewed the belief in our company’s purpose – to be here for our customers and communities, in good times and when hardships come; to be accessible, present, and to personally partner to meet the most critical needs. To say it’s been a silver lining — a true privilege — to stand beside our customers and to support our community healthcare heroes, organizations, and businesses in various ways would be an understatement. There have been so many defining moments for our company’s team members over the past several weeks.

I am especially grateful for the opportunity to have helped thousands of our small business customers through the Paycheck Protection Program (P3). To date, we’ve been part of distributing almost $3 billion in P3 funds to thousands of small business customers who employ nearly 340,000 individuals across our Southeast footprint. For the thousands with whom we at Synovus have celebrated success, I am deeply humbled by their stories as well.