Unleashing the power of women


By Julie Capaldi - Contributing Columnist



Fifteen years ago, I attended a United Way symposium about women in philanthropy hosted by my friends at United Way in Anderson County. There were a lot of amazing and passionate women in attendance, all who shared a common goal for changing their community. I came back to Pickens County on fire and ready to dive in head first.

“STOP”, my inner voice said. “You are not ready.” At the time, we were funding some amazing programs, but we hadn’t honed in on our community impact plan.

One thing I’ve learned in this job is that there is a right way to affect community change, and that my natural instinct to “react” in the moment would not work here. I never expected it would take fifteen years to be ready, though.

If I could, I would shout from the rooftops that “Women United” is finally here. “Women United” will change Pickens County and I can’t wait.

“Women United” is a powerful, global network of 70,000 women from 165 communities and 6 countries, all focused on building stronger communities. Since 2002, Women United has invested $1.5 billion in local solutions to address local problems.

Pickens County “Women United” is joining that powerful philanthropic force. Founded in 2015 and led by an amazing group of women from Pickens County, our “Women United” shares a common sense of purpose and fierce commitment to improving the lives of children by supporting programs like Camp iRock.

Throughout the year, “Women United” has hosted social events, educational programs, volunteer activities and networking opportunities for women. Recently, we offered a financial education program to a local women’s group featuring an estate planning attorney.

At Christmas, we hosted a door decoration party. The dynamics, the camaraderie and spirit of both groups of women was uplifting. The energy was electric.

I am so excited that my heart is pounding as I write this article. It’s that important to me. Never in my whole professional life, have I been more sure that we are about to transform children and families in ways that have never been possible. OMG, I can hardly stand myself.

The force is about to be unleashed and we invite you to join us at our inaugural luncheon on Thursday, February 23rd at Occasions at Wedgefield in Central.

Keynote Speaker Nataly Kogan is a successful entrepreneur, speaker, former venture capitalist, and founder and CEO of Happier, a company on a mission to help millions of people and organizations realize their full potential by providing them with tools to practice scientifically proven habits that fuel their emotional well-being.

From her teenage years as a Russian refugee learning English in the projects outside Detroit, to becoming a leading venture capitalist in a predominately male industry while still in her twenties, Nataly has continually achieved at the highest of levels.

Despite these accomplishments, Nataly found herself vastly unfulfilled and began a journey which led her to leave her executive position with PayPal and launch Happier, to an overwhelming global response.

Nataly is a nationally recognized expert on entrepreneurship, leadership and wellness and has been featured in hundreds of major media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune and Time Magazine.

She is a sought-out keynote speaker, having appeared at events at Million Dollar Roundtable, Gillette, eMoney, Fortune’s Brainstorm Tech, MIT’s Breaking The Mold Conference, Blogher, SXSW, the 92nd St. Y, Harvard Women’s Leadership Conference, TEDxBoston, and many more.

I personally, have downloaded Nataly’s Happier Application and love it so much. Even though I haven’t met her, I feel like we are somehow kindred spirits. We have both learned how much better life can be when you live with an attitude of gratitude. I am so thrilled to have her as our keynote speaker at the “Women United” lunch and know you will love her, too.

Pickens County women are going to change our world through “Women United.” Visit www.uwpickens.org/involved/wlc to learn more and to register.

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By Julie Capaldi

Contributing Columnist

Julie Capaldi is president of United Way of Pickens County. She can be reached at [email protected] or 864-850-7094, extension 101.

Julie Capaldi is president of United Way of Pickens County. She can be reached at [email protected] or 864-850-7094, extension 101.

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