President, Chief Executive Officer
United Way of the National Capital Area
Rosie Allen-Herring aspires to be a philanthropist whose giving truly transforms the lives of others. Once responsible for the investments and business resources of a trillion-dollar corporation, and now doing business on a donor level as president and CEO of United Way of the National Capital Area.
Allen-Herring derives tremendous satisfaction from inspiring “the average everyday citizen” to feel that he, or she, can make society better. “There’s something transformational about that,” she insists. “When we think of philanthropy, we usually think of the very wealthy benefactor who controls whether someone gets an opportunity, and that shouldn’t be in the hands of a few wealthy donors. Care for this country shouldn’t be the responsibility of one group; it must come from a collective effort. We have an obligation to engage each other across the spectrum and affect change.”
Allen-Herring is a board member of MedStar Health Inc. and OldLine Bancshares. She is a graduate of Howard University (B.A., economics) and Strayer University (M.B.A., finance), and was an international fellow of the United States-Southern Africa Centers for Leadership and Public Values, a partnership between the University of Cape Town and Duke University. She learned from her mother’s example to her and her nine siblings that life is worth living only if you’re serving someone else. “It’s how I formed my servant-leader philosophy,” she recalls.
The opportunity to be a servant-leader came professionally when Allen-Herring joined Fannie Mae and eventually led corporate philanthropy nationwide. Through her work, she was instrumental in helping others to buy a home, or become the first in their family to attend college. “My philosophy has always been to build others,” she states “People get management confused with leadership, but to lead, motivate, and influence others, you have to be willing to serve them.”