Welcome back to our Women United Spotlight series. This week we are continuing to spotlight its members. Join us in learning more about Karen Jones and her connection to Women United. If you would like to learn more the organization, click here.
When did you join Women United?
I believed I first joined Women United (formerly Women’s Leadership Council) in 2006 even though I was a leadership giver to United Way prior to 2000.
What is your professional background?
I have always loved science and prior to graduating from Beaver College (now titled Arcadia University) with a degree in chemistry, I volunteered in the lab at the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office. After graduation I moved to Dallas, Texas with family and started my career with Abbott in Research and Development. I recently retired from Abbott in 2016 after 33 years, and worked in various areas in Quality, Manufacturing, and Program Development in Texas, California and Illinois. While working at Abbott, I continued supporting my community by volunteering with various groups involving youth and, in the last 14 years, volunteered with a STEM-based organization for elementary girls called the Chocolate Chips Association.
What inspired you to be a part of Women United?
Growing up in inner-city Philadelphia, United Way was always a part of my life, but on the receiving end. As an employee of Abbott, each year we had an opportunity to donate funds to non-profit organizations, and I started donating to United Way to help in their mission to support youth. One year, I decided I wanted to be involved not only in donating but personally. I attended one of the Get Acquainted sessions for the Abbott Women Leadership Group and loved the vision of the organization and the passion of the members.
What does early childhood education mean to you?
I believe all children should be given a chance to succeed, and as a mother of three adult children, and now a grandmother of a busy 2-year-old, education of our youth is even more important to me. Our youth need the support of early education since many of them do not receive the academic support at home. This lack of education places them further behind the curve when they enter elementary school.
What has surprised you most about being involved in Women United?
The women themselves. The love and passion that the women of our group show for the mission of supporting the Lake County youth, and the power of many is powerful. It has been a profound experience to watch strong women come together and support early child education for children from many different communities. We can watch and see the growth for these youths when we offer support early in their educational career. I have also enjoyed the friendships and fun of bringing women from different backgrounds together for a common cause. And the mentorship. I love learning from these ladies.
What does Women United mean to you?
It means our youth have more opportunities to succeed because they have strong, dedicated, wonderful women behind them, supporting their early education. Personally, it also means I have an opportunity to learn from some great ladies.
What would you say to a woman who is interested in becoming a member of Women United?
If you are interesting in meeting extraordinary women that look outside of themselves to support the future generation, that donate their time and talents to aiding in early childhood education, and you want to have fun, join us.