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United Way of Washtenaw County announces Woman of the Year

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United Way of Washtenaw County’s building on Platt Road in Ann Arbor

Here’s some good news from the local United Way:


Cecilia Fileti has been selected by Women United (formerly the Women’s Leadership Initiative) of the United Way of Washtenaw County as the 2018 Woman of the Year. Fileti will be honored at the UWWC’s “Power of the Purse” on March 14 at the Kensington Hotel, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Tickets for the event will be available after Jan. 1 at uwgive.org.

“Cecilia has touched so many lives throughout her extraordinary career and diverse volunteer efforts. She exemplifies the Power of the Purse initiative — women taking action to address community issues,” said Pam Smith, President of the United Way of Washtenaw County, and member of the Power of the Purse planning committee.

Fileti is being honored by the Power of the Purse planning committee for her exemplary leadership role in the community and her continued dedication to strengthening Washtenaw County. Ms. Fileti, founder and owner of a health communications and regulatory response consultancy, is a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) – the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

“This recognition is received with much humility,” shared Ms. Fileti, “Former recipients have championed causes that lift up the most vulnerable through education, financial stability and health advancement. Together, our work will continue to matter, as we build a better future for our community.”

A registered dietitian nutritionist, former adjunct professor and current Advisory Board Member at Eastern Michigan University’s College of Health and Human Services, Ms. Fileti continues to support educational initiatives for medical and allied health professionals. She received her masters from Eastern Michigan University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Dayton, Ohio.

Bridging health across cultures, Fileti has reached diverse audiences from consumers to legislators through numerous publications, advocacy, and leadership roles. As Division Director for Clinical Nutrition at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor, Fileti established innovative critical care nutrition programs and the NutriCare Center for health and wellness. A spokesperson and trailblazer on the local, state and national level, she has served as a board member for health and community organizations including tenure as Past President of the Michigan Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

As a founding member of the AND Food and Culinary Practice Group, she continues her passion in the field and volunteers with the UM Library JBL Culinary Archive. She was the Chairman of the 2016 St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Holiday Ball partnering to raise more than 1.5 million dollars for mental health initiatives in our community. Fileti also serves on the Communication Committee for the United Way and is a member of the Tocqueville Society.

Women United is a national network of 70,000 members in 163 U.S. communities, and the most successful philanthropic effort of its kind. Locally the UWWC Women’s Leadership Initiative has granted over $280,000 through the Power of the Purse event to agencies that promote women’s success and self-sufficiency.  

The UWWC established the Woman of the Year honor in 2009.  Previous recipients include Cynthia Wilbanks, Verna McDaniel, Beth Fitzsimmons, Mary Sue Coleman, Martha Darling, Pat Warner, Denise Rabidoux and Lucy Ann Lance.  The 2018 Event Chair is Kim Liberati.

About United Way of Washtenaw County

As part of our 96-year history, the United Way of Washtenaw County brings people, agencies and resources together to create a thriving community for everyone. Our focus areas of Health, Education and Financial Stability provide the building blocks to strengthen the community and create opportunities for individuals and families. Our virtual Volunteer Center is an easy, online way for people to connect with nonprofits in the community and our 2-1-1 helpline connects more than 8,000 people annually to critically needed services. To learn more, donate, or volunteer visit uwgive.org

Jim McBee

Founding partner, creative director and ink-stained wretch with The Ann magazine.

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