We had the good fortune of connecting with Laurie George, Ph.D. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laurie, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Hi! Yes, I’m happy to share about our work. United Way of Palm Beach County provides our community with access to basic needs: a quality education, a place to live, ﬁnancial stability, good medical care, and enough to eat. Our team is focused on creating an equitable and respectful community filled with opportunities. As the President & CEO, I view every decision, every program, every solution through the lens of equity and how we can do the most good for the most amount of people. During crises like hurricanes or a pandemic, we are nimble to quickly respond to emerging needs. I am so proud of the ways our team pivoted during the pandemic to meet needs like hunger relief, help close the digital divide so kids can learn from home, and support other nonprofits struggling to keep their doors open and care for the surge of people in need. Our incredible network of volunteers and generous donors continue to step up in a big way to provide support for the people in Palm Beach County.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
United Way of Palm Beach County is in the business of impact. Our organization is one of the top performing United Ways in the network of 1200 chapters nationwide. It has taken grit, innovation, and focused energy to get to this point, but the most important quality that sets our team apart and pushes us to the next level every day is compassion. Compassion is the top quality I look for when considering someone for our team. For me, it means that we are constantly keeping the people of Palm Beach County, our neighbors, at the center of our work.
It’s also about asking the right questions to respond to emerging needs. Who in our community is hurting? Why are they hurting? How can we help in a way that empowers them and gives them an opportunity to live out their full potential? These focused questions infuse action into our compassion and help us make data-driven decisions that result in long-lasting change for kids, families, veterans, and seniors in our community.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hands down, one of my absolute favorite things to do is paddle board. Palm Beach County has truly stunning places to explore by paddle board! I love taking visitors to the Riviera Beach Marina, paddling over to Peanut Island, and then snorkeling around the island. We are truly spoiled to have such beauty right in our backyard!
Palm Beach County is also home to great local, live music and amazing green markets. My husband and I love to take visitors to many of the restaurants along the water in Jupiter like U-Tiki, Guanabanas, and Square Grouper.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have been blessed to be surrounded with an amazing support system throughout my life. I owe much of my success to the encouragement of the women closest to me – my mom, my sister Lisa, and my daughters – as well as my wonderful husband, Jim. They have inspired me more than they will ever know!
I would be remiss not to mention one group of Palm Beach County women who walked alongside me and were “in my corner” during a significant moment in my life. I received unparalleled mentorship and encouragement from the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches when I considered applying for the role of President & CEO of United Way of Palm Beach County. They gave me the courage and inspiration to go for this higher position (one that had never been held by a female in the organization’s nearly 90-year history!). Every step of the way, I was met with encouragement and support, and they continue to be a huge part of my success in this role.
Life has a funny way of bringing everything full circle. A few years after this sisterhood cheered me on to becoming the first female President & CEO of United Way of Palm Beach County, I had the honor of receiving Executive Women’s annual Women in Leadership Award (WILA) for the Nonprofit Sector. This was a tremendous honor in my career and beautifully illustrated the impact that can happen when women empower other women.
Tracey Benson Photography Lila Photo (Headshot)