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Lisa Tepper Bates, 2024 Women in Business Honoree

Lisa Tepper Bates leads a United Way of Connecticut (UWCT) staff of nearly 400 people, providing the state’s 211 health and human services contact center and 988/Suicide and Mental Health Lifeline, administering the Connecticut child care subsidy (Care 4 Kids), and offering additional services to support Connecticut residents in need.

She brings more than 25 years of experience working in U.S. diplomacy, public policy, and state and nonprofit leadership to her role at United Way.

Tepper Bates holds degrees from Georgetown University and the Yale School of Management. She is a board member of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority and Stonington Board of Police Commissioners.

What have been your biggest professional accomplishments?

UWCT provided critical support to Connecticut during the pandemic through the 211 COVID hotline (500,000-plus calls in four months; 187,000 people scheduled for vaccinations).

We expanded 211’s crisis team for the rollout of 988, the nation’s new mental health crisis exchange, winning the National 2022 Crisis Center Excellence Award.

What’s the next big goal you want to accomplish professionally?

We need to create an advancement path for promising nonprofit staff who have not had the chance to secure the credentials and experience they need to rise through management.

Great potential leaders need our active support to reach their highest potential, and we can enhance leadership diversity in the process.

What’s one of the biggest professional challenges you’ve overcome?

Coming to Connecticut as a non-native and changing careers at the same time I faced two challenges: switching gears professionally from being a U.S. diplomat to being a social service provider; and learning how the Connecticut state government’s partnership between state agencies and nonprofit partners works.

How are you involved in the community?

I’m dedicated to community and people. United Way’s mission is to help Connecticut thrive. I work every day to increase our positive impact statewide.

Locally, I serve as a police commissioner and my family is very involved in efforts to increase fresh produce stocks at food pantries across eastern Connecticut.

What legacy do you want to leave after your career is over?

I believe in collaboration: the whole can always be greater than the sum of the parts if you prioritize partnerships. My hope is to leave the areas where I’ve worked better than I found them by building teams and lasting habits of cooperation to enhance positive impact.

Check out the rest of the 2024 Women in Business Honorees

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