Inspire, Empower, Transform: Celebrating the Strength and Resilience of Women in Our Community.
The 8th annual Women United lunch hosted by the United Way of Charlotte County (UWCC) took place this week after months of meticulous planning led by Jill Swan, the Family Empowerment Director, and her dedicated committee. The event showcased the announcement of the Woman of Courage and Woman of Distinction, with their intersecting lives and inspiring stories shared among a room full of compassionate women.
In tradition, our Woman of Courage tells her story, the real story, not often told, the one that rests within the protected walls of her heart, clamoring to be expressed and needing to be heard. Hearing this story each year is intended to be a cathartic “hear me roar” moment for the woman of courage, reframing their trauma to a charge for the future. But it is also intended to spur action among those who hear the story.
As Brianne Edmundson shared her journey with trauma and addiction, she claimed, “This didn't just start with me. Most of the time it doesn't start with us as children. In the beginning, as toddlers, we don't know what's right and wrong, or who's black and white, what's bad and good, or even what manners are. It's our parents or our caretakers that are supposed to teach us love and everything we know…. Unfortunately, a lot of us don't get to learn that stuff.” Every single person attending the lunch honored her with their listening ear. We listened for the walking angels and the missed opportunities, of which there were many.
Just as the room didn’t know what to do with their emotions after hearing from Brianne Edmundson the 2024 Woman of Courage, the announcement for the 2024 Woman of Distinction was to be announced. Kelly J. Evans of Smugglers Enterprises & Foundation was recognized for her years of commitment and investment to not only the staff she employs but to the many philanthropic investments of the Foundation. Kelly was also scheduled as the keynote speaker and she actually did not know she would be receiving the award. Her keynote message at the lunch, left each of us hungry for what makes this big-hearted woman tick, captivated us with her compassion, lived experience, and her love for our community.
To read the full column in the Charlotte Sun, click here.
The 2024 Women United Luncheon Committee includes:
Event Chair: Julie Lang
Committee members: Kelly Carr, Alexia Martin-Comber, Kelly Pomerville, Shannon Vianello, Geri Waksler, and Lori Weisensee
United Way: Jill Swan