Elizabeth Smart to speak in Pittsburgh for United Way women’s leadership event | TribLIVE.com

Elizabeth Smart to speak in Pittsburgh for United Way women’s leadership event

Nicole C. Brambila
Elizabeth Smart in September 2018.

Kidnapping victim Elizabeth Smart will share her story of hope and survival with nearly 800 women during this year’s United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Women Leadership Council’s campaign kickoff.

The luncheon starts at 11:45 a.m. on Sept. 13 at the Wyndham Grand Hotel in Downtown Pittsburgh.

The local Women’s Leadership Council created the United for Women initiative in 2012 to provide support for women in crisis. According to the United Way, the council is the third largest of its kind in the U.S. The group has more than 2,000 members and raised more than $9 million, two campaigns ago.

“As a group, we are committed to implementing permanent, positive change in our communities and empowering those who might otherwise feel powerless; especially women whose lives are transformed thanks to United Way’s United for Women initiative,” Tami Minnier, committee co-chair and UPMC’s chief quality officer, said in a statement.

Smart, 31, was kidnapped from her Utah home in 2002 when she was only 14. After being held captive for nine months, a passer-by recognized her captor after his photograph appeared on an episode of “America’s Most Wanted.”

She has since become a staunch advocate for vulnerable women and children, having started The Elizabeth Smart Foundation in 2011, which works to end victimization.

Organizers said Smart embodies the resilience its programs hopes to instill in local women facing an unexpected life event.

“Women are born connectors,” Stacy Juchno, committee co-chair and PNC general auditor, said. “When women put their minds together and dare to make a difference, anything is possible.”

The United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania serves the following counties: Allegheny, Butler, Westmoreland, Fayette and southern Armstrong.

Registration for the Sept. 13 event is available online through Friday. Tickets are $65.

For more information on the Women Leadership Council, click here.

Nicole C. Brambila is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Nicole at 724-226-7704, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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