Susan L. Taylor to Serve as Keynote Speaker at UNCF Virtual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon

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Mashari Grissom UNCF Communications 202.854.0007

Presented by Wells Fargo, this fundraising event will deliver impact to both HBCUs and their students, fundraising event honors the pioneers of the past and the innovators of tomorrow

The 18th annual UNCF Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon in Charlotte, NC is moving online this year, set for 12 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 26. The virtual event will feature various speakers, an awards presentation, a heartwarming tribute to Dr. Maya Angelou, followed by a cannot-miss live social hour showcasing the highly acclaimed “HATitude” competition, celebrity appearances and more. There is also a virtual mall available now featuring 20 minority-owned vendors from across the country. The 2020 event co-chairs are Okeatta D. Brown, public affairs senior strategy consultant at Wells Fargo, and Margaret S. Phinizy, senior vice president and wholesale voice of the customer leader at Wells Fargo.

Susan L. Taylor, founder and CEO, National CARES Mentoring Movement and editor- in- chief, Essence Magazine will serve as the keynote speaker. Taylor is a lifelong activist, editor, and best-selling author of four books who founded her own cosmetics company at 24. This led to the beauty editor’s position at Essence, the publication she would go on to shape into a world-renown brand with more than 8 million readers. Over the years, Taylor has worked to ensure people across the globe, from South Africa to those who struggled during Hurricane Katrina; she believes that securing our vulnerable children is her highest calling and the big business of our nation and Black America today.

Hosted by UNCF Charlotte and presented by Wells Fargo, the Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon is named after loyal UNCF supporter, the late Dr. Maya Angelou. As a civil rights activist, educator, and a strong advocate for women around the world, Angelou believed that every student deserved the opportunity to go to college. She was chosen to be the face of the Women Who Lead Luncheon because of her positive image and vested interest in UNCF.

The event honors women corporate, community and civic leaders who have received positive recognition locally, statewide, nationally or internationally. Proceeds benefit talented and deserving students across the United States who lack the financial support to get to and through college.

“As the current health crisis continues—hitting communities of color especially hard—we are looking for ways to make it possible for our students to continue to be engaged, be inspired and to continue to earn the degrees they need, and we need them to have,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, president and CEO, UNCF. “Many of them will be our future doctors, nurses, virologists, pharmacists, lab technicians, paramedics—the frontline personnel who will fight the viruses of the future we will all face. So, it is especially important to ensure college education continues, even during such trying times.”

The luncheon will honor Beverly Evans Smith, national president and CEO, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated; Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, international president, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated; Valerie Hollingsworth Baker, international centennial president, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated; and Deborah Catchings-Smith, 24th international president, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, with the UNCF “Women Who Lead Award.” Their steadfast commitment to education and empowering social change for African Americans have yielded collaborative programming and initiatives for students across the country. In 2019, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, committed to donate $1 million over three years in support of HBCUs and their students.

“The national crisis and the uncertainty around the spread of the coronavirus have motivated us to rethink the way we fundraise, forcing us to move from doing things in person to virtual events. We are fortunate that during these challenging times our loyal donors and corporate partners continue to support the work that we do across the country,” added Tiffany Jones, area development director, UNCF. “We are working harder today because we recognize that our students need us now more than ever.”

Oprah Winfrey headlined last year’s luncheon and surprised the audience by agreeing to match the $1.149 million that had already been raised, making it a record-breaking event—raising $2.3 million overall to support minority higher education. This year, the event fundraisers hope to garner national support and raise at least $500,000.

To register, please visit For more information, go to or contact Jones at Follow this event on social media @UNCFCharlotte #UNCFCharlotte #UNCF.


About UNCF

UNCF (United Negro College Fund) is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. To serve youth, the community and the nation, UNCF supports students’ education and development through scholarships and other programs, strengthens its 37 member colleges and universities, and advocates for the importance of minority education and college readiness. UNCF institutions and other historically black colleges and universities are highly effective, awarding nearly 20 percent of African American baccalaureate degrees. UNCF awards more than $100 million in scholarships annually and administers more than 400 programs, including scholarship, internship and fellowship, mentoring, summer enrichment, and curriculum and faculty development programs. Its logo features the UNCF torch of leadership in education and its widely recognized motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste, but a wonderful thing to invest in.”® Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at more than 1,100 colleges and universities. For continuous news and updates, follow UNCF on Twitter @UNCF.