United Way of Western Connecticut Adds to Board of Directors and Renews its Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work

United Way of Western Connecticut announced additions to its Board of Directors at its annual meeting and 80th anniversary celebration held earlier this week. Two new members, Tim Ackerly and Tracy Ellis Williams, were elected and will assume their positions immediately.

In addition to the new members, the organization moved to update its bylaws to add a board-level Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee. Carmen Hughes, a current Board Member, will serve as the inaugural chair. The Board of Directors is comprised of local community leaders representing Stamford, greater Danbury, and greater New Milford, who oversee the governance and strategic direction of the organization.  

“The latest changes to our Board of Directors bring a sense of excitement and anticipation as we enter a new year,” said Isabel Almeida, President of United Way of Western Connecticut. “With the addition of these two new voices, we gain their expertise and a new and important perspective that will help guide and inform the ways we continue to serve our community.”

Tim Ackerly is a Managing Director at Deloitte, located in Stamford, Connecticut, where he brings more than 25 years of experience to clients. His work is based both domestically and globally, leading clients to improve their growth, operations, technology, risk, and compliance. Ackerly received a Bachelor’s Degree from Lafayette College in Business and Economics with a focus on Accounting and Finance. His career has spanned multiple sectors of his industry including Life & Annuity, Property & Casualty, and Reinsurance.

Tracy Ellis Williams serves as Counsel at Shipman & Goodwin, located in Stamford, Connecticut, where she represents national and regional companies in commercial litigation and arbitration matters including contract disputes, employment discrimination, securities, intellectual property, product liability, commercial foreclosure litigation, and bankruptcy-related litigation. Williams received her Bachelor’s Degree from Western Connecticut State University and went on to attend Pace University School of Law. She is part of the Connecticut, Fairfield County, and New York Bar Associations. 

The board-level Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee has been established to help propel the organization’s existing commitment to racial equity. Over the last several years, United Way of Western Connecticut has addressed internal policies and practices with the support of a cross-functional equity working group, has increased staff-wide and Board level DEI training, and led numerous public equity challenges to engage the community in this work.

Carmen Hughes serves as the DEI Officer for the City of Stamford where she is responsible for developing policies to attract, retain, and promote a diverse workforce within the City. Prior to that, she was the Founder and CEO of Edelweise Consulting. Hughes received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Howard University and has been awarded numerous certifications. She has served on the Board of Directors for United Way of Western Connecticut since October of 2021 and had been a member of United Way’s Stamford Community Council since 2017.

“I am honored and excited to serve as the first Chair of the newly established DEI Committee," said Hughes. "Over the past couple of years, United Way of Western Connecticut has taken bold steps to demonstrate their commitment to incorporating diversity, equity and inclusion into their culture and the way they do business. As Chair of this committee, I look forward to working closely with their DEI Director to help strategically build and move forward with DEI governance.”

Serving alongside the members mentioned above are Cheryl Bakewell (Chair), Ken Weinstein (Vice-Chair), Mark Ouellette (Secretary), Eric Duenwald (Treasurer), Doreen Bentson, Paul H. Bruce, Luis Diez, Aaron Meyer, Dr. Michael Stern, and Katherine Webster-O’Keefe.

For more information on the Board of Directors and Community Councils, click here. To learn more about United Way of Western Connecticut’s mission, click here


United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) improves the lives of hard-working households called ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) by mobilizing the resources of local communities to create lasting change. Through innovative programming, expanded partnerships, and strategic community investments, United Way of Western Connecticut serves ALICE households across Northern Fairfield County, Southern Litchfield County, and the City of Stamford. A United Way report published in September 2020 revealed that in Connecticut, more than 1 in 4 households has earnings above the Federal Poverty Level, but below a basic cost-of-living threshold. Combined with those who live below the poverty level, 38% of all households in the state are experiencing financial hardship. UWWC is committed to ensuring that every child enters school ready to learn, every family is financially stable, and every community is healthy and strong. For more information about United Way of Western Connecticut, visit www.uwwesternct.org and follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube


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