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Main Line Cheerleader: PathWays PA President and CEO Brenda Dawson


Brenda Dawson, North Wilmington 

President/CEO, PathWays PA

On Nov. 1, Brenda Dawson became the new president and CEO of PathwaysPA, a Holmes-based nonprofit that provides social services, temporary housing, job training and employment assistance to 6,000 women and children in the Delaware Valley.

How she shares the Christmas spirit: Our Adopt-a-Family program provides donors with a wish list of items needed by a PathWays family. The donors also use the occasion to educate their own children about philanthropy by involving them in the shopping and wrapping of the items, which are delivered to our office, then distributed to the families. This year, we have close to 200 families looking for assistance.

Most exciting thing happening in 2014: HeroesPath is one of the new programs we’re launching. We will be connecting veterans with services, skills and support, so they can be successful in civilian life. We’re focusing on younger vets just returning from service.

Favorite Main Line town: Ardmore, partly because it has a rich African-American history.

Where she loves to shop: I taught at Bryn Mawr College for seven years and always stopped at Suburban Square. It has five of my favorite stores: Chico’s, Talbots, Aerosoles, White House Black Market and Trader Joe’s.

Coolest local event: Last spring, we celebrated our 35th anniversary with wine, cheese, chocolate and a silent auction at Duportail House in Chesterbrook.

Must-do outdoor activity: Lincoln University’s graduation. I worked as Lincoln’s director of counseling and career services, then as director of its Women’s Center. Every year, I’d see two very diverse populations graduate. One is students carrying on the family tradition of a college education and going on to become doctors, lawyers and other kinds of professionals. The other is first-generation college graduates who are blazing new paths for their families. As I watched them graduate, I’d cry the whole time.

Last book she read: Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading. It’s about the importance of taking calculated risks and pushing the edges in wise, informed ways.

Top spot for date night: The Columbus Inn in Wilmington, Del. My husband and I celebrated our anniversary there this year.

If she didn’t live here, she’d live in: Florida, on a beachfront property. I love the beach—it’s my favorite place to relax. 

Visit pathwayspa.org.

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