With United Way of Rhode Island’s sixth Annual Book Drive kicking off April 24, who better to talk with than a member of one of its founding groups—Women’s Leadership Council (WLC). Liz Goodermote serves on WLC’s Executive Committee, Membership Committee, and is passionate about childhood literacy. She is also preparing to spread the word about WLC by running in a certain iconic marathon (hosted by our neighbors to the North), but I’ll let her tell you more about that.
Jason: How did you first get involved with WLC?
Liz: Through a client at a previous employer; she told me about WLC’s advocacy work and their volunteer opportunities. She also said it was a great way to meet influential women working hard for change. After introducing me to Natalia Lima, the two of them convinced me to join; I felt it was a good fit. More importantly, I knew I could help make a difference and that the experience would help me grow as a woman.
Jason: Speaking of personal growth, how has your service through WLC helped you to grow?
Liz: Being one of the younger women there, I have a unique generational perspective. Many women [my age] don’t realize that philanthropy enriches your life, but WLC helped me find that missing piece of my life early.
Jason: WLC is a founding member of United Way of Rhode Island’s annual Book Drive, an event that has helped a tremendous number of children throughout the Ocean State. What does the success of this event mean to you and the other members of WLC?
Liz: Oh, my goodness, a tremendous amount, because one of our fundamental goals involves increasing childhood literacy. Many underserved children don’t have access to books, but we help put books in their homes at no cost to their families. We send kids home with so many books, which encourages them to read; that’s amazing.
Jason: What would you like your lasting effect on WLC to be?
Liz: I hope to leave it a little bit better than the way I found it. I’m preparing to run the Boston Marathon, and I’m using it as a platform to raise money and awareness for WLC; hopefully, we get a few new members enrolled. If I’m able to help WLC grow, then I’ve achieved my goal of leaving the group a little better then I found it.
Jason: Being on the Membership Committee, what would you say to a woman who wants to help the community and is considering WLC?
Liz: What I love about WLC is there are so many different levels of participation; some women want to be more involved than others. Some women help by making donations, while others contribute by volunteering to teach children through the STEM Program, or by sorting books during UWRI’s annual Book Drive. It’s up to the individual, their personal interests, and what they want out of it. You can serve on committees, or not do much at all, both are fine. What’s important is that we all share a common goal—to help. Like I mentioned earlier, childhood literacy is WLC’s largest platform. I don’t have children, but I understand how important education is. If we are going to talk about moving the entire community forward, we must start with education and invest in children learning to read in elementary school. We can spend a lot more money later on, or help guide them when they’re young. If we did this, our chance of success would be so much greater.
For more information on joining Women’s Leadership Council, please contact Natalia Lima at Natalia.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interview by: Jason Boulay, UWRI Communications Coordinator, Strategic Marketing & Communications