I recently had the privilege of attending a CEO Fireside chat hosted by the United Way Young Leaders Society (YLS) featuring Dorri McWhorter, CEO of YWCA Chicago. It was a unique opportunity for me to meet YLS Premier Members and engage one-on-one with Dorri. I have seen and heard of Dorri through her leadership with the United Way Women’s Leadership Council, so I was especially thrilled to meet her on a more personal level.
We started off the roundtable chat with introductions, and then Dorri jumped right into speaking about her background and her leadership philosophies as the CEO of YWCA. YWCA is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
Dorri was a refreshing and insightful speaker from both a business and non-profit perspective. Dorri has always been engaged with community organizations through her involvement on a number of boards. Until recently, we learned that Dorri has been in accounting, finance and business roles throughout her career. She spoke about the ways her background impacts the way she leads at YWCA. Not only did I learn about the abundant services YWCA offers, but I also learned about viewing an organization through a business lens in order to maximize the leverage of resources for community impact.
The concept of social enterprises was a key focal point in the conversation. We learned about the ways in which Dorri’s leadership has impacted the initiatives of YWCA. Social enterprises apply business strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being, rather than maximizing profits for external shareholders. We learned of new YWCA initiatives and how diversifying revenue streams allows for expanding the organization’s program offerings. I particularly enjoyed hearing about Dorri’s leadership and the social enterprise concept and I am proud to have been a part of the conversation. I walked away with a fresh perspective as a donor and fundraiser.
Post submitted on behalf of Angela Marie Wells, YLS Ambassador, 2012-13 YLS Executive Chair