A little bit about me:
My name is Cherie; I am a California native that moved to Utah in 2011. Before I left California, I spent five years working for United Way California Capital Region in Sacramento. Naturally when I moved to Utah, the first place I looked for work was UWSL. Being a top company to work for in Utah, of course there were no open positions when I looked. Fast forward five years later and here I am, working my dream job. I am beyond passionate about the work that United Way does, across the entire U.S. and internationally, and I’ve always been proud of the fact that I have the opportunity to be a part of it — a part of changing the community and changing our world.
When I moved here, the first thing I noticed was UWSL’s presence in the community. Not only were there billboards up and down the I-15 corridor, there was a presence among the community and corporations. The community has an understanding of UWSL in regards to donations, but also to the amazing work that is happening with partners in our service area. As someone that came from a different United Way, this was a dream!
UWSL and our Promise Partners ARE changing the community. Over the last five months I have been learning, seeing, and talking about how we are doing just that. As a Corporate Engagement Advisor, my role is to educate companies and individuals about our work. This is no easy task, because our work is complex, multi-faceted, ever-changing, and literally takes a very large village to accomplish. Through various events, volunteer opportunities, and community school site visits I have been seeing our work in action — but it really hit home last week at the annual Legislative Preview Breakfast.
Guests were able to hear from five very different individuals in the form of a Q&A panel; Dr. Sydnee Dickson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction; Speaker Greg Hughes, State of Utah; Nolan Karras, Co-Chair, Education First; Representative Carol Spackman Moss, State of Utah, and President Wayne Niederhauser, State of Utah. During the breakfast there were a number of polling questions — specifically a question about the biggest need in our schools to keep kids on track to graduate. After hearing from the panel, it was obvious that the answer was complex and would take important partnerships, and was largely focused on providing more attention to the students/families within our schools.
During the remainder of the discussions, what I couldn’t get out of my mind was the work that UWSL is doing and the impact it is truly making. The need that these individuals discussed is exactly what United Way of Salt Lake is working to accomplish within community schools and in our neighborhoods. This panel truly helped tie it all together for me. You could say this was an “ah-ha” moment; I talked about it all day, thought about it all day, and even went home and talked to my family about it that evening.
If you are reading this and have never attended our Legislative Preview Breakfast, definitely consider placing it on your calendar for next year; it was one of my favorite events so far.
In the end, I have lived in the Salt Lake area for just over five years now. When I first moved here I had my opinions about the state. Maybe it lacked diversity or had some “quirky laws”, (as Dr. Sydnee Dickson calls them). But my time at UWSL has changed much of those opinions for me.
This community is beautifully diverse, filled with loving and giving individuals, and a model for how we can create change, together. Changing lives in our community is my passion, and to see that this amazing organization is focused on and actually doing that makes this one of the sweetest experiences I have ever been a part of. Although I get homesick from time to time, I love this community and will continue to push and strive for lasting change. Join me?
Find out more at uw.org.