Abingdon, VA (September 19, 2016) – United Way of Southwest Virginia will host the Unite SWVA Leadership Summit on Tuesday, October 18, 2016.  After three years of gathering input through the Southwest 2020 Summit, the time has come to act on the collective vision.  Southwest Virginia needs a strong and healthy workforce for the jobs of today and the opportunities of tomorrow.

The Unite SWVA Leadership Summit focuses on cradle to career initiatives in education, financial stability and health that will benefit every citizen of Southwest Virginia. United Way of Southwest Virginia convenes partners to help break the cycle of poverty and lead more families and individuals to financial independence. The Unite SWVA Leadership Summit is the only event where top executives and community leaders from education, health care, industry, manufacturing, small business, government and nonprofits all across Southwest Virginia gather to share their strategies, experiences, and best practices on becoming more collaborative in today’s challenging economy.

Community members who attend the Unite SWVA Leadership Summit will hear from leaders inside and outside the region about ways to work collectively. This year’s Unite SWVA Leadership Summit keynote speaker is Emory, Virginia native Ron Culberson. Ron is on a mission to change the workplace culture so that organizations are more productive and staff are more content. As a speaker, humorist, and author of three books, Ron uses his experience as a hospice social worker and leader to create insightful and practical messages that help his audiences become more successful.

In addition to the keynote the event will play host to 16 workshop sessions, and Trailblazer Awards will be given in three categories: Education, Financial Stability, and Health. Organizations that have successfully created and/or supported community partnerships that improve Southwest Virginia are eligible to be nominated for the awards.

The 2016 Trailblazer Awards will be presented by Todd Haymore, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade; Pamela Kestner, Virginia Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources; and Dr. Michael Robinson, Director of A. Linwood Holton Governor’s School.  Past Trailblazer winners include Dickenson County Schools, The Southwest Virginia Advance Manufacturing Center of Excellence, Mr. Jack Kennedy, Mountain Youth Drama and Pulaski County Drug Court.  To nominate a team for the Trailblazer Award, visit www.netnswvarelief.wpengine.com/uniteswva.

The Unite SWVA Leadership Summit will be held on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Virginia.  Registration for the event is open until October 4, 2016.  For more information about the event, to sponsor the event, or to purchase tickets, visit www.netnswvarelief.wpengine.com/uniteswva.

ABOUT UNITED WAY OF SOUTHWEST VIRGINIA

United Way of Southwest Virginia is a volunteer organization providing support and visibility through tools, partners, advocacy, and other resources to advance the common good.  United Way mobilizes thousands of people to give, advocate and volunteer to improve education, help people achieve financial stability and promote healthy lives across Southwest Virginia.  United Way of Southwest Virginia covers over 5,860 square miles, approximately 15% of the state of Virginia, and more than 350,000 residents in the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and the cities of Galax and Norton. For more information on United Way of Southwest Virginia, visit netnswvarelief.wpengine.com.

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United Way of Southwest Virginia is a volunteer organization providing support and visibility through tools, partners, advocacy, and other resources to advance the common good.  United Way mobilizes thousands of people to give, advocate and volunteer to improve education, help people achieve financial stability and promote healthy lives across Southwest Virginia.  United Way of Southwest Virginia covers over 5,860 square miles, approximately 15% of the state of Virginia, and more than 350,000 residents in the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, Wise, and the cities of Galax and Norton. For more information on United Way of Southwest Virginia, visit netnswvarelief.wpengine.com.

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