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On Oct. 27, Carol Jackson passed away. She worked as Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Macy’s, Inc., and served as a member of the Women United Global Leadership Council.

We celebrate Carol Jackson’s achievements with Women United –  and in the world.  If anyone exemplified the power, focused energy and servant leadership of Women United, it was Carol.

She joined our Women United Global Leadership Council and its Leadership Committee last year. But she’d become a powerful force long before. She developed a vision to organize United Way women across California, and she translated that vision into reality. In California, Women United has driven effective policy advocacy and innovative board leadership initiatives – all because of Carol.

I first met Carol in 2013 through Pete Manzo, President of United Ways of California. Pete mentioned that we'd want to meet someone with dynamic ideas. And dynamic they were! A volunteer with United Way, Carol served as the board chair of United Ways of California and as a board member of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. She believed strongly in increasing opportunity for low-wage families, and she thought that women leaders across California would welcome the opportunity to meet one another, share inspiration and exchange best practices. She brought both passions together.

Barely a year later, Carol spearheaded the first California dinner for United Way women’s leaders. This was after our Capitol Day, a long day of productive meetings with state assembly members and senators. At dinner, we strategized about how to raise our visibility and voices.

Of course, Carol raised the stakes. When we arrived for our 2015 Capitol Day briefing breakfast, Carol presented us with scarves of blue and gold, the California state colors. (Keep in mind that she’d been a leader at Macy’s, so she was always a woman of substance and style!)  We wore the scarves during a recognition ceremony Carol had organized, in which Sen. Hannah Beth Jackson, Chair of the California Legislative Women's Caucus, recognized our movement on the Senate floor. In our subsequent Capitol visits, legislators asked what the scarves meant. We answered by addressing our public policy issues, and touting the coordinated women’s leadership within United Way. Substance and style, indeed!

At 2016’s Capitol Day, Carol orchestrated a legislative advocacy training session, aimed at emerging women leaders. And at our recent 2017 Capitol Day, we inaugurated a California Women’s Breakfast. Carol welcomed us to that half-day meeting, where we shared policy priorities and fundraising ideas from our leaders throughout the state and at United Way Worldwide. We solidified a commitment among the California Women United chapters to grow our network and to collaborate beyond our annual meeting.

It was a privilege to work alongside Carol, and to learn from her. In our Women United Global Leadership Council Leadership Committee, she developed strategies for increasing the numbers of women on nonprofit and corporate boards. She also created a replicable vision for women’s regional collaboration, some of which we’ve shared in this posting.

Carol’s legacy will continue to guide us. She’s made us feel that we can accomplish anything we set our minds to.

Michelle Branch
Vice-Chair, Women United Global Leadership Council