Lifting Up Women 4 the Future

By Hannah Murphy   |   May 20, 2024
ERA Coalition March on December 13, 2023 in Washington, D.C. (l to r) Tiffany Shlain (Let it Ripple), Eleanor Smeal (Feminist Majority Foundation), Christian F. Nunes (NOW), Dr. Nancy O’Reilly (Women Connect4Good), Keri Edwards.

For Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, the mission of Women Connect4Good is intensely personal. Growing up, she felt that life looked easier for boys and noticed society did not value girls in the same way, so she was a tomboy. But things changed when she had her own children – all daughters – and knew she had to leave a legacy for them. “My first daughter came, my second daughter came, my third daughter came, and I went okay – I’m getting the message,” she says. “Finally, I realized I had to leave something for them” and in doing so, explore “my own need to understand and become a woman.” That road led Dr. Nancy to become a renowned psychologist, author, and philanthropist who deeply believes that women helping women is our greatest self-help tool.  

Connections 4 Good

In 2011, Dr. Nancy founded Women Connect4Good, Inc., a 501(c)(3) social-profit foundation focused on championing women’s equality and advancement in the workplace, in politics, in business, in society, and beyond. Women Connect4Good empowers women by supporting  organizations that work toward the advancement of women and girls. 

Above all, “our goal really has always been about connection,” says Dr. Nancy. Connecting people opens the door for collaboration, innovation, and growth. To achieve this, the foundation utilizes a multi-pronged approach: They share women’s stories, expand women’s leadership, uplift tomorrow’s female leaders, promote diversity and inclusion, advocate on behalf of all women, and identify and engage male allies. 

Some of the successful programs they’ve supported include Take The Lead’s 50 Women Can Change the World programs, through which select women participate in a cohort in their industry and support and sponsor each other’s advancement and success; Diversity Woman Media’s Business Leadership Conference, a premier leadership conference where attendees learn from some of the most influential thought leaders and executives from across the nation and the world; The National Women’s History Museum, which brings to life the countless untold stories of women throughout history, and their own initiative, the Lift Women Up campaign. 

Dr. Nancy and her team are gaining momentum with this newest initiative, a free-to-join community of like-minded “female warriors,” which has grown to at least 5,000 members since its launch in 2020, just as COVID-19 lockdowns took hold. Indeed, the pandemic forced Women Connect4Good to scrap many of the videos and community actions it had planned for the campaign – instead pivoting to share special free content focused on helping women navigate unprecedented circumstances, while also helping them balance family responsibilities, workplace challenges, and their personal well-being. It was also an opportunity to seize the moment to reframe the conversation around many of the issues women continue to face. 

Today, participants receive weekly emails and calendar reminders with advice and resources around uplifting themselves and other women. Dr. Nancy explains the key is “community building.” When women “lift as they rise – you take someone else along with you,” which advances more women to leadership positions and changes the shape of organizations.

Women supporting women in this way not only creates greater gender diversity but is also good for business and employees. Studies show that growing the number of women on boards and in top roles boosts an organization’s financial performance, correlating with higher returns on equity, higher valuations, and lower earnings volatility. An academic study published in the Journal of Business Research in 2023 found that employee productivity also improves with female representation. 

Partnerships 4 Good

Since Women Connect4Good’s inception, the social-profit foundation, which is privately funded, has partnered with more than 300 organizations and gifted more than $10 million. 

As part of its dedication to connecting people in order to facilitate growth, expand expertise, and create new resources, Women Connect4Good has supported the mentorship program at World Pulse, an independent, women-led social network, for the past three years. 

With the help of Dr. Nancy and Women Connect4Good, the mentorship program pairs mentees and mentors across 25 countries to support one another in a global knowledge exchange so they can bolster opportunities to change their communities for the better. 

Women Connect4Good also emphasizes the importance of working with male supporters and sponsors. “We’re not going to get anywhere alone. If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together. We have to ask for help from them,” Dr. Nancy says. Indeed, the foundation fields dozens of requests for collaboration but only accepts the ones that align closely with its work. But “if we are not the right fit, we try to find the right fit for them,” says Dr. Nancy. 

Politics 4 Good

Partnerships around advocacy are another major part of instigating change. Such action supporting the safety and security of women, allowing for personal health decisions, as well as equal pay, for example, must be taken not only to further gender inclusion, but to stop the erosion of women’s rights. “It is crazy to think in the year 2024, that women years and years ago had more rights than women today. We’re going backwards. We can’t allow that,” says Dr. Nancy. 

Last December, Dr. Nancy joined the ERA Coalition and other organizations such as the Fund for Women’s Equality in marching from Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., to the U.S. Capitol via the White House. She also spoke at an Equal Rights Amendment congressional reception at the U.S. Senate, urging those present to engage their superpowers to effect change and reminding them that when “we connect our partners and friends, we open the door to collaboration, innovation, and momentum.”

For Women Connect4Good, success is “the people and the places we’re getting in front of, and who’s standing there with us,” says Dr. Nancy, pointing to her array of partners and their impact. Success is “the organizations that are coming to us now because our value has been understood and our significance has been understood.” But completing the mission is far from over. As Dr. Nancy reminds us all, “We have more work to do.”


Women Connect4Good

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Team Leader, Women Connect4Good, Inc.: Melissa Miller Young


At Women Connect4Good, our mission is simple – women (and men) supporting women, without exclusion.

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