Women United Spotlight: Kathy Volatile

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We love puttting the spotlight on some of our standout volunteers and donors. Kathy Volatile is one of those people. She has been a great supporter of our work and Women United and we hope you get the chance to meet her at one of our next events.

Pictured: Kathy and her husband (and former United Way board chair) Dr. Leon Elliston.




Why do you volunteer and give to United Way?

I first became interested in United Way because my husband, Leon has been super involved with United Way ever since I met him and has a such passion for the organization, particularly for the programs involving children. As I became involved as a volunteer, first with Girls in Charge and later with Homework Diner, I quickly realized how many people's lives are enriched just one of your Programs, Middle School Success. I truly believe that Western North Carolina would not be the same without United Way.

What small act of kindness were you once shown that you will never forget?

There have been many and I don't  know why this one stands out but I suppose that when we are children, an act of kindness from an adult, who is not a family member stays with us always...I was four years old and 2 nights each week stayed at the Dance Studio with my Mother waiting for my older sister to finish her ballet class. I remember trying and trying to tie my shoes and it was just not happening. The dance instructors mother, who was Parisian and helped him run the studio, lifted me to her desk and together, we practiced over and over until I got it ,just like the dancers inside the studio were practicing their steps. It may sound crazy but I still remember her face, her beautiful accent and her kindness.

A hero is someone who...

... gives of themselves for the greater good of others, even when no one is looking.

What activities make you lose track of time?

A long yoga class, swimming, a great novel and spending time with Leon.

What's something new you recently learned about yourself?

That I can start a new business at age 61 and love it!

What three questions do you wish you knew the answers to:

  • Why am I so fortunate in so many ways?
  • Why are people so inflexible and divisive?
  • How can one look at all of the natural beauty of our Earth and not believe in a higher being?

What is the best advice you can offer to young women and young men as they start their careers?

Take risks early and do something that you love. If you do what you love, then going to work will not be a chore. If you don't know what you love, try something! So many young people to day do not seem to know what they want to do with their lives. Perhaps that comes from being exposed to so many different options that making that choice and taking the initial step is difficult. But, you must move in some direction. Do not be stagnant because you don't absolutely know what you want to do with your life.  If you go down a road and it is not the one for you, you can then try another path but I truly believe that not to move ahead is to move backwards. Don't be afraid to make a choice, if you go down a path and it is not right for you, the connections that you will
make along the way may lead to another option. Be nimble!