Women United Spotlight

WOMEN UNITED IS ENGAGED IN OVER 165 COMMUNITIES ACROSS SIX COUNTRIES ...  and is at the forefront of United Way’s mission of uniting our community and leveraging resources to improve lives. Our Escambia County chapter is focused on education, with an emphasis on early literacy. Together, we create lasting change to lift up entire communities. 

This month we would like to recognize Donna Edwards for her contribution and dedication to United Way of Escambia County.

Employer: Semi-retired; previous employer - Intel Corporation

Position/Title:  Director, Shared Value Initiatives


Tell us about yourself.
I recently relocated full-time to Pensacola from Portland, Oregon. I’d purchased a condo here a couple of years ago to spend the winters here and the summers in Oregon. I found that I was spending about 3/4ths of the year here, so decided to live here year round.  My family is in NC so I wanted to be able to spend more time with my 91- year- old mother. Career wise, I graduated with an industrial engineering degree from NCSU, and an MBA in finance from SMU. My work has focused primarily on business development, operations, and strategy. I was on the board and served as Chair for a large nonprofit in Portland, and worked actively with several other nonprofits.

When and how did you first become involved with United Way of Escambia County?
A couple of years ago I saw an article in the Pensacola News Journal. United Way was offering nonprofit training and a chance for people to learn about potential opportunities. I attended and volunteered to participate on the Investment Committee, which I’ve done for the past two years.

What do you love most about United Way of Escambia County?
I’ve been very impressed with United Way’s progressive approach in nonprofit management, and business collaboration to make a real difference in the community. 

What is your favorite memory or event with Women United?
I loved packing the Tummy Bundles at the Manna Food Bank, knowing it would help provide nourishment to the kids and their families.

What compelled you to join Women United?
Having been very active in Portland nonprofits, I knew I wanted to become involved in the Pensacola community. I found that Women United offers a wonderful blend of opportunities to serve those needing a hand-up while utilizing multiple skills to provide an enriching volunteer experience.

What is the best advice you can offer to young women and men as they start their careers?
It’s all about relationships. It doesn’t matter what position or industry you work in. Always nurture and build strong relationships.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?
Leading the first cross-Intel supply chain vision and strategy team. This was in the late 1990’s when supply chain concepts were just emerging for an end-to-end vision. I was very proud that I built a strong, influential team across the company to define and implement the strategy.

What aspect of your work are you most passionate about?
What most excites me is a Shared Value and Collective Impact vision for the world in which policies and operating practices will enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities. I believe for-profit and nonprofit companies will collaborate effectively to make money and solve social problems! 

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Go on a night dive with manna rays off the Kona Coast in Hawaii. It is the most beautiful and graceful display of Mother Nature that I have ever witnessed!

If you could trade places with any other person for a week, famous or not, living or dead, real or fictional, with whom would it be and why?
Oprah. I love her deep love for humanity and furthering the growth of our awareness of the soul connection we all share.