Engage for the future: Supporting women and racial equity causes
Since 2017, Ashlie Bagley, Director of Human Resources of Interconnection Systems Americas division for Safran Electrical & Power, has been strongly involved in United Way of Denton County, a local branch of the global organization dedicated to improving community lives. She successively supported the launch of Women United, a women’s affinity group, and co-chaired a Racial Equity Council. Interview.
How did you come to support the Denton County development?
I’ve been serving on the Board of Directors with United Way of Denton County since 2017, supporting previously as Leader on Loan Chair, which is a leadership and project management training, and Industry Campaign Co-Chair. In 2020, we decided to launch Women United, a women’s affinity group. I was asked to participate on the Leadership Team to plan the launch. We set our mission: to inspire, educate, and motivate women to become positive change-agents within our community as we continue to respond, recover, reimagine and rebuild Denton County through philanthropy, leadership, and volunteerism. Safran Electrical & Power has been a long-standing corporate partner of United Way of Denton County. Through our corporate giving, we allocate resources to specific programs and events. We decided to be the inaugural corporate sponsor for Women United as it tied directly to our Women@Safran initiative.
How did you give life to Women United?
I chaired the Membership Committee in 2021 and we organized three major events. First, a virtual Wine & Cheese event, for which we partnered with a local specialty cheese store to make custom cheese boards, with a wine pairing, for pick-up. We invited women from across Denton County to join the virtual event, which included education about United Way of Denton County. The women really enjoyed the opportunity to connect over a shared mission and some laughter! We grew to 90 inaugural members. The second event was Purses with a Purpose, which aligned to Women’s Awareness Month and International Women’s Day. We provided 30 purses with $1000 gift cards in each one and supplies to lower income women with families, and an additional 20 purses with supplies and no gift cards which were then dispersed throughout the community with the help of our local non-profits. The third event was a book club, followed by stocking and running a snack station at a local library event for families. In 2022, we are launching a women in the workforce interview skills campaign.
You are also co-chairing the Racial Equity Council, what is its aim?
We launched it in 2020, following social unrest across the US, to improve racial equity in the Denton community. We starting working on team formation, creating a structure for the council, and initial objectives. Some of our first initiatives were to facilitate monthly discussions in racial equity, to get the Board of Directors aligned on the need. We then moved into defining a racial equity statement. Finally, we updated the organization’s five-year strategic plan with a racial equity lens. In terms of my role, I represent as the Board co-chair of the council and work alongside a Staff co-chair. I facilitate the council meetings, speak on behalf of the council at Board meetings, and I’ve facilitated the discussions in racial equity we’ve hosted. Because the topic is quite sensitive, I strive to support as a vocal and active co-chair. In addition, because my occupation in HR deals with the subject of race and sensitive matters, I’m familiar facilitating difficult discussions. Today, we are preparing to partner with the Denton Chamber of Commerce to further racial equity initiatives across the business community.
Which personal gratification do you take from doing that?
It’s very rewarding to give back to the community where I live and work. In addition, giving of my time and resources to help the advancement of women and address important social topics around race is extremely gratifying. I also look for opportunities to engage my family. My kids participated in some events & are learning the importance of giving back and building up others.