Ali’s Story

Where Community Service and Professional Growth Meet

Ali Ferguson

Ali Ferguson is interested in serving her community and networking with other young professionals at the same time. That’s why the Tulsa Area United Way’s new Emerging Leaders Society (ELS) is a perfect fit for her.

“The Emerging Leaders Society is where community service and professional growth intersect,” Ali says.

As an HR business partner with Williams, Ali represents the next generation of community leaders and philanthropists.

“Young professionals in their 20s, 30s and 40s are very interested in community service, but they may not know how to approach philanthropy,” said Heidi Braver, staff liaison. “One of our goals is to help them understand and become comfortable with the concept of philanthropy.”

The ELS offers a Mentor Program for young professionals who support the United Way at a certain level, pairing them with business and community leaders who are members of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society. ELS also offers a leadership speaker series and regular networking receptions for all members.

“The mentoring and networking opportunities have been invaluable,” Ali says. “But it’s more than that – it’s about making your community a better place.”

ELS members regularly tour United Way partner agencies, learning first-hand the needs of their community and how they can get involved.

“I think our generation will approach community leadership and philanthropy in a slightly different manner,” Ali says. “We may take a more hands-on approach, rolling up our sleeves in addition to offering financial help.”