Anne Chow has made another big move that further reinforces her status as a trailblazer for women in business.
When Chow took the role of CEO at Dallas-based AT&T Business, she became the unit’s first female and woman of color to hold the position. Chow has been with AT&T for nearly 30 years, holding diverse positions from engineering to product management, all of which poised her for more success as the company’s leader heading into a new decade.
Now, United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has announced that Chow will serve as its annual fundraising campaign chair—the first female CEO of a global company to do so.
Chow follows a long line of global executives and community leaders, including AT&T’s own Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson, who served as the campaign chair in 2011. She succeeds Tom Falk, former executive chairman of Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and his wife Karen.
In taking on the year-long role, Chow will chair United Way Dallas’ 96th annual campaign. The 2020-2021 effort will start July 1, and with Chow at the lead, it will ramp up with workplace campaigns this fall.
“Anne has long believed that ideas, invention and innovation thrive at the intersection of technology and people,” Jennifer Sampson, McDermott-Templeton president and CEO of United Way of Metropolitan Dallas, said in a statement. “Her service as an ethnically diverse, female CEO is historic, and we are incredibly grateful to have her and her team at AT&T as a powerful, change-making force to accelerate solutions for our community’s healing and good.”
United Way has three pillars of community impact: education, income, and health. United Way Dallas said Chow will focus on improving community health given the long recovery period North Texas is facing following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chow has made a commitment to ensuring every person has the opportunity to thrive.
This year’s campaign will launch United Way’s Aspire United 2030 Goals, which United Way describes as “underscoring the aspiration that every North Texan has the opportunity and access needed to develop their full potential.”
Chow notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone in Dallas’ community. Many have lost loved ones, felt a severe impact on their income streams, or experienced new concerns over how to care for family.
“Often, the impact is less overt—the mental toll from self-isolation or new feelings of anxiety being in crowded spaces, trying to juggle work and home life given the forced commingling of the two as living spaces became workplaces. In all cases, it has impacted our health in some way,” she said in a statement. “The global pandemic is a once-in-a-generation health crisis, but it also triggers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create new solutions which will help us emerge as a stronger community and society. Now is the time for Dallas to prove that ‘we’re all in this together.'”
An important aspect of the pandemic that Chow hopes to hone in on is how disproportionately affected underserved communities are.
“There is a disproportionate burden of illness and death among racial and ethnic groups from COVID-19,” she said. “Marginalized communities don’t have access to affordable, adequate healthcare. These groups often go without health insurance, paid sick or family leave benefits, stable or affordable housing, as well as food security.”
Per United Way Dallas, studies show Black people are more than 3.5-times likely to die from COVID-19 and Latino people are twice as likely, as compared to white people. The organization points out that the pandemic has exposed deep fault lines of inequality in the public health and healthcare systems.
It also points to the more than 130,000 children in North Texas with emotional disturbance or addictive disorders. If mental health isn’t improved, these youth will have a harder time getting a quality education, United Way Dallas said.
“We all have a role—corporations, nonprofits, and leaders across the metro—in supporting each other as the North Texas community not only responds and recovers but reinvents itself,” Chow said. “We can’t go back to the way things were. This campaign is all about taking action today to ensure a better tomorrow.”
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