Girl Scout and President and Chief Executive Officer
Mile High United Way
Standing on stage before 1,000 women united to make a difference, raise their voices, and change the world felt like a real-life love letter for Christine Benero, president and CEO at Mile High United Way. These were women she admired, who inspired her; and now, she had the opportunity to inspire them.
“To lead, is to inspire,” she says. “To first listen – to understand – to learn – to seek out voices not at the table – and then have the courage to follow my own heart and beliefs.”
Every day Christine inspires, not only those 1,000 women, but those she works with at Mile High United Way, those served by Mile High United Way, and many others in the community.
For over 130 years, Mile High United Way has worked to advance the common good and believes all children, individuals and families should have the opportunity for success.
Christine credits her supportive network for her own success.
“I have been fortunate enough for my entire life to be surrounded by people who believe in me, people who are wiser and stronger and are always there to cheer me on and are not afraid to challenge me,” she says. “I have always had an extraordinary network of women in particular, beginning with my mother, who hold me up and are always there as my champions.”
Christine’s Girl Scout experience set her on a path of finding her voice and starting a life of service.
“I loved everything about Girl Scouts – I loved the uniforms, and I loved my sash and badges,” she says. “I could not wait to earn a badge and loved all the varied topics I could learn. I was a terrible seamstress, my Mom not much better, so all my badges were pinned on my sash. But I wore them proudly.
‘I loved the friendships, and I began to find my voice,” she says. “I learned the power of connections and what it meant to be a part of a team (a troop). It was the beginning of my understanding of service and that I could make a difference, even if my badges were pinned on!”
No matter how the badges are held on they represent achievements – something Christine has certainly continued to accumulate.
Before joining Mile High United Way, Christine was the CEO of the American Red Cross Mile High Chapter, she served as director of the Office of Public Liaison for the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington, D.C., in two Presidential administrations, and was the vice president of the National Civic League. She has served on numerous community boards and been named to a wide variety of leadership lists.
If she was still pinning her achievements on a Girl Scout sash, it would surely overflow. Her advice to girls and young women is to always know there is someone cheering you on.
“Even when you are afraid or unsure, know there is someone nearby who believes in you and cheering you on wildly – and that will get you through until you begin to believe in yourself.”