United Way Women’s Forum Focuses on Social Issues

Social issues like public health and access to education can only be addressed if members of diverse sectors of the community come together, speakers at a forum of women business and community leaders said Wednesday. That was the central message of United Way of Central Maryland’s first Women’s Leadership Council Forum, which focused on ways to make progress in such areas as financial stability and homelessness. The event in Baltimore Wednesday brought together about 400 attendees on the 15th anniversary of the Women’s Leadership Council’s local chapter, made up of a group of women philanthropists and advocates. Many of the most pervasive social issues disproportionately impact families, and are therefore of special interest to women, several panelists at the forum said. “We as women bring a very unique perspective to our work, it doesn’t matter what we do,” said Stacey Stewart, U.S. president of United Way and the moderator of a panel on community needs. “The perspective I bring as a woman, as a mother, leading this network of 1,200 United Ways around the country, that perspective on how United Way makes a difference in the lives of families and children hopefully adds value to all the work we do.” But in order for women to ensure their perspective is taken seriously, said keynote speaker Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s Morning Joe news program and author of a book called “Knowing Your Value: Women, Money and Getting What You’re Worth,” women first have to learn to negotiate with confidence. “You can help more people if you increase your value,” Brzezinski said. “You’ve got to be really confident and clear and effective about how you communicate your value. This is the one area where I think we all still struggle.”

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United Way Women’s Forum Focuses on Social Issues