WomanUP | Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce

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WomanUP is an initiative of the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce focused on "women in business who wish to build a strong network of women intent on inspiring one another to achieve individual potential; supporting each other in business endeavors; and creating a legacy through mentorship".

On Feb 14, several United Way staff members attended the latest in a series of WomanUP events; focussing on lessons from a panel of women - how they arrived at where they are now – how they learned what TO do and what NOT to do when making meaningful connections with others in the business world. The moderator was Victoria Dunkle (Park Ridge Health) and panel members included Suzanne DeFerie (Asheville Savings Bank and former United Way Board Chair), Jael Ratigan (French Broad Chocolates), Flori Pate (Dig Local), and Zurilma Anuel (Carolina Small Business Development Fund).

Reflections from United Way staff

I appreciated the candor, vulnerability, and humor the panelists shared in respect to how challenges and going to unexpected plan B (C or D) helped shape them and their careers to what they have accomplished to this point. They reflected on set-backs which were very scary at the time, but ultimately taught them perseverance and the hindsight not to view a change in path as failure. I was glad to take away valuable reminders about: conscious self-learning via mentors / books, quietly and humbly proving others wrong when doubt is placed on your abilities, and to celebrate others…lift them up with you. - Elizabeth Allen, Leadership Giving Manager | United Way


It is always a powerful experience to sit in a room full of engaged and influential women. As I looked around the room I saw a group of women who make things happen for our community each and every day. That alone was incredible. The panelists were inspiring and diverse. They each had their own, unique story and perspective. I left the event feeling, warm, encouraged and confident. - Kris Dionne, Resource Development Manager | United Way

United Way's Women United

United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County mobilizes women to use their energy, talent and passion advocating for social change through Women United (formerly WLC/Women's Leadership Council).

Women United demonstrates the powerful impact women can make when they pool their individual talents and financial resources. In just two years we have over 200 members who are contributing close to $300,000 to United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County and are vocal advocates of our efforts to support students, families and communities through the Middle School Success Initiative.


I am grateful for the opportunity to lead Women United which consists of passionate, strong, and caring women in Asheville and Buncombe County. The true pleasure is in galvanizing women who put the best versions of themselves forward to support our community via volunteerism, financial philanthropy, and creative ideas. It is a magnetic group of women who support one another in friendship, professional, and civic goals. Elizabeth Allen

Contact Elizabeth for more information about Women United.


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