Q&A With Traci Elder – YWCA Volunteer, 40 Under 40 Award Winner and Lover of Purses
For Traci Elder, a love of purses turned into a passion for community service and paying it forward. Traci was introduced to YWCA Minneapolis’ Circle of Women event by a friend in 2014 and continues to volunteer on the Circle of Women Purse Committee.
How did you become involved with YWCA Minneapolis?
My friend, Stephanie Ball-Pierce, became the co-chair of the YWCA Circle of Women Purse subcommittee. She knew I loved purses and thought I might get a kick out of helping solicit bags from local stores for Circle. To me it was a simple equation: purses + good cause = yes!
Why do you choose to support this organization?
I wholeheartedly believe that we can make lasting change in our community by focusing on empowering women from early childhood onward. I’ve been so blessed in my life – financially secure, great education, a strong family network. So many women have not had the privileges I have enjoyed. I want to pay it forward and help enable women to change their lives.
What has been the most rewarding part about working with Circle of Women?
Without a doubt, it’s hearing the personal stories of women who have benefitted from YWCA’s services speak at Circle. Their messages are so powerful, genuine and honest. It’s refreshing and moving to be a part of something that has such deep impact for so many.
Please tell us about your recent 40 Under 40 Award.
Every year, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal names 40 leaders who are under the age of 40 — effectively a list of “up and comers” to watch. To my huge surprise, I was selected this year! It has been an amazing, humbling honor to be considered a peer to such an accomplished group.
Do you have any advice for young women looking to become involved in philanthropy?
Simple: find your passion and follow it. Then, offer up what you know you do best and volunteer for the activities that give you energy. You’ll increase your impact if you are doing something you do well, for a cause that you love.
Please tell us about your profession.
I’m currently VP of Marketing for Little & Company http://www.littleco.com/. We’re a creative agency based in Minneapolis that builds brand identities and experiences for the likes of Target, U.S. Bank, Lowe’s, the Gap and more.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Just a thank you to everyone at YWCA Minneapolis who give so much every day to help others. You guys are an inspiration and I’m so glad to have met you all!