Women Coming Together for Positive Change within the Community

Empowered women empower women. It’s the belief that women should be encouraging each other to be and do their best, and in this new decade, it has become a rallying cry for United Way of Southern Nevada’s Women United. Members focus on lifting each other up to achieve success, but they take it one step further. Empowered women empower women—and their community.

As a founding member of Women United back in 2008, Rhonda Clausen was drawn to the group by that very idea. “Women who come from all different backgrounds, walks of life, places in their careers and home and family life—the one thing we all have in common is that we want to make impactful change in our community,” she said. “We know it can be done, we know we can make a difference, and that’s what brings us together.”

“One of our members has said that we are greater than the sum of our parts, and I couldn’t agree more,” shared Monte Smith, who led the group as a co-chair. “It’s not just professional networking, it’s not just a social club, it is not just business development. We all are here to make a difference, to make a contribution.”

The founding members of Women United led the charge to change Southern Nevada for the better, bringing members together to help improve their community and grow as individuals. Women across the valley took notice, including current Women United chair Michelle St. Angelo.

“After spending years looking for a women’s group that would satisfy my craving for mentorship, growth and making a real difference, Women United was it! These ladies work hard to impact each other and our neighbors in ways you can’t even imagine,” Michelle said.

This impact can be seen in how Women United has empowered organizations throughout the community, like Leaders in Training. LIT founder Erica Mosca was so inspired by the members making a difference that she joined the group herself. “As the founder & executive director of a non-profit supported by Women United in the past, I knew firsthand the strong community impact these women on the move have,” she explained. “I wanted to contribute my on-the-ground experience as well as learn from the multitude of inspiring, successful and collaborative women.”

Now that the group has grown to over 100 members from all different backgrounds and stages of life, members are looking forward to the future and how they can leave a legacy of change for generations to come. It starts with the Emerging Leadership Award for Women, a member-funded scholarship helping local young women pursue their dreams of graduating college. Eight women have been selected to receive the scholarship, along with the support and mentorship that comes from the members of Women United.

Milena Avagyan, a freshman at UNLV, says that receiving the scholarship is one of her most treasured accomplishments. “I get to be a witness of multiple women making changes on a daily basis to improve our community. These women have made an influential and inspirational mark on me and my future actions.”

Mey Mey Heng, another recipient, values the guidance and experience that members can share with someone just starting out. “We have a wonderful support group of ladies who are successful and have provided great leadership. It’s very inspiring, knowing you have someone there to look up to, to be a mentor and give personal and professional guidance.”

By empowering past, present and future members to use their collective strength to make a difference for their fellow members and their community, Women United is creating a better future for Southern Nevada. Join them at