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Profile in Philanthropy: Erica Younkin, Empowerment Council

// June 1, 2022

Meet Erica Younkin, Long-Time Empowerment Council Member

Erica Younkin of Denver has been an Empowerment Council member for six years. She is the founder of BRANDcrafted Marketing. 

If you had a personal philanthropic mission statement, what would it say?

Be good to your fellow passengers on this planet.

What about our mission inspires you?

I appreciate how WFCO combines Community, Philanthropy, and Impact. It feels like a hub of people and progress. It’s very inspiring.

What keeps you engaged in Empowerment Council after six years?

I continue to be a part of the Empowerment Council because I want to continue supporting the important work done by WFCO. I also want to meet other Colorado women who share this value and who I can learn from through their diverse interests and backgrounds.

What do you believe is the most pressing issue women and families are facing in Colorado?

Salaries, wages, and child care. We need to unburden women by removing those barriers for a better, more flexible life for women and their families.

Who is your Shero?

My mom. She was one of the first subscribers to Ms. Magazine in 1971. She was questioning negative and limiting opinions about women and people who are part of minority groups from a very young age. She found ways to speak up and be in support of others whenever she could.

What is the best personal decision you’ve ever made? Why?

I left a job with a Fortune 500 company and started my own marketing consultancy. I didn’t realize my full motivations at the time, but looking back I can see the company had a culture that believed people at the top held the power and should never be uncomfortable. There was an expectation for all of us to act a certain way to support that system.

I’m glad there has been a renewed focus on company culture the past few years. Whenever we onboard people at BRANDcrafted we tell them, “You don’t need to perform. Just be yourself.”

If you had to teach a class, what would it be?

It would be so fun to teach a dance class. Small hurdle… I have less than a year of ballet classes under my belt, but I love to dance. I love how happy it makes people.

What is the most pivotal moment in your career?

I got hired by Nickelodeon in New York for a Digital Marketing Producer role. I didn’t have much online experience, but it was 2005, so digital marketing was still pretty new. I learned from some of the smartest, most talented people. Everyone was super supportive and ready to figure it out together.

What would you tell your 15-year-old self?

Relax. 95% of what worries you doesn’t really matter.

What is your favorite place or activity to do in Colorado?

I love skiing. I’m grateful that I learned how to ski when I was young. The downhill is fun, but sitting on a chairlift in the tree tops is a special place for me.

At what point in your life did your personal philanthropy become important to you?

My parents always talked to my brother and me about what organizations they were supporting and why. When I started my business, I decided I would give back at least 1% of all profits each year. As a consultant, I bill clients hourly, so I get to control my salary. I’m very aware that’s not the reality for a lot of people.

Who would you be your dream speaker for the Annual Luncheon?

Audrey Hepburn. I know that’s not doable, but I wish she could share her experiences and wisdom with us.

Should pineapple exist on pizza? What is your favorite pizza topping?

Pineapple on pizza? Not for me. Mushrooms and onions all the way.

What is the most binge-worthy show? No judgement😊

The Home Edit. There’s not a lot of stuff in my house to begin with, so I enjoy seeing other people’s chaos transformed into tidy spaces.

Interested in Empowerment Council? Read other profiles in philanthropy and contact Kaylyn Fern, development officer, at kaylynf@wfco.org or 403-802-7290 to get involved!

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