Karla Isley, President & CEO | United Way of Cass-Clay

Written by: Brady Drake

The Potential is Endless When We Focus on Building Strong Leaders

At United Way, we believe that bringing people together to learn, grow and connect is key to unlocking the potential that is all around us. Our community has the foundation to continue to grow in business and population, as well as create opportunities for everyone to find success. At the core of making this happen is building strong and passionate leaders.

Each year, United Way invests in a group of 35 women to encourage them on their leadership development journey through the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program. The purpose of the program is to strengthen leadership skills and confidence, enhance the impact of women across our workplaces, homes and community and above all, inspire collaboration and unity. Since 2009, 455 women have participated in the program and continued on to make lasting impacts within our workplaces and greater community.

This year’s class is no exception. When you look into their eyes, just eager to learn and grow, we know they too will go and make positive change in our community.

We know we will need innovative, strong leaders to find solutions to our communities’ biggest challenges. United Way works to bring together community leaders, nonprofit organizations, companies, volunteers and donors to find solutions to community issues such as preventing hunger and homelessness, preparing children to succeed, and strengthening families—all with the root goal of lifting people out of poverty. These challenges impact each of us as leaders and community members. You can learn more about United Way’s mission at unitedwaycassclay.org

We also invite you to get more involved with us. There are many ways you can take action to help, advocate, learn and grow with United Way. Visit unitedwaycassclay.org/get-involved/ to find out about the different opportunities available. Whether it’s the 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership program for 2024 or our Lead UNITED network that provides year-round, unique volunteer and leadership development experiences, we have a place for you.

Together, we can take on our communities’ challenges. Together we will inspire each other to be the best leaders we can be—the future of our community depends on it.

As you read about each of these extraordinary women, I hope that you are inspired to continue your own leadership development journey—let their tenacious excitement to learn, be a light that reignites your own passion to be the best version of yourself.

As each of us learn and push ourselves to develop our leadership skills, our workplaces are enhanced with more talent. Our community becomes a better, stronger place to call home. This can exponentially change our community’s culture and values for generations. This is why we continue to host the 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program and why we inspire our community to become better leaders by getting involved.

“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.” -Angela Duckworth

“The better you are at surrounding yourself with people of high potential, the greater your chance for success. “ -John C. Maxwell

“We never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it. “ -Travis Rice

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.