Leading the Way for Social Impact: A Conference for the Game Changers

Date: April 16, 2018


It’s 9:30 on a Friday night, and instead of happy hour networking or mapping tomorrow’s volunteer event location, a committed group of United Way’s Emerging Leaders United (ELU) members are finalizing schedule details for the seventh annual ELU Conference for young professionals.

This year’s event, with its impressive line-up of keynote speakers, panelists, tabletop exercises and workshops, will be held on Friday, May 11, 2018, at the Baltimore Four Seasons Hotel. The all-day conference has drawn central Maryland’s most involved and influential young professionals as well as consistently high marks for its content and networking and friend-making opportunities.

“ELU’s leaders wanted to create an event that would show the substantive impact that young professionals have in our community, and how advocacy and volunteerism can drive societal change,” said ELU Director, Jeremy Rosendale. This year’s theme is Leading the Way for Social Impactand topics range from social innovation and creating action for good to entrepreneurship and professional development.

Henry Timms, founder of #GivingTuesday and author of newly released book and anticipated bestseller New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You will present the closing keynote address. New Power lays out the most important skill of the 21st century: the ability to harness the energy of the connected crowd (for better and worse). New York Times columnist David Brooks calls the book “the best window I’ve seen into this new world.”

As a testament to the value United Way of Central Maryland places on those who use their gifts to change lives, the organization will leverage the conference to present its coveted Philanthropic Five Awards, which recognize five young professional leaders nominated by their peers, colleagues and friends and who display an extraordinary commitment to communities and causes. This year’s winners include Ashley Fennig, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Alex Montanio, Gordon Feinblatt LLC, Derel Owens, Top-Notch Kidz, Shantell Roberts, Touching Young Lives, Inc. and Meredith Zoltick, Baltimore Harm Reduction Coalition.  Read here for more details on the awardees.

Those who’ve attended the conference in the past have remarked on the quality of the speakers, the inspirational nature of the event, and the ability to network and socialize with other like-minded professionals.

According to one attendee, “The ELU Conference provided me with the ‘ah ha’ moment to reignite my passion and drive to give back to the community and to stand up to make a difference.”

ELU Chair Whitney Harmel sums up the annual event, “It’s been terrific seeing so much learning, networking, and philanthropy all under one roof today. That’s what ELU’s all about. We all have our own paths, and ELU is where these paths converge to create something powerful,”

After the closing panel, attendees are invited to enjoy a networking cocktail hour.

The 7th annual Emerging Leaders United Young professionals conference is May 11, 2018 at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore. Register today!


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For more than 90 years, United Way of Central Maryland has been improving lives in the communities it serves: Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County, Maryland.

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