Overview | Affinity Groups

Overview Affinity

af· fin· i· ty  pronounced [uh-fin-i-tee] noun, plural af·fin·i·ties., adjective

noun: an inherent likeness or agreement; close resemblance or connection.

adjective: of or pertaining to persons who share the same interests.


United Way of Southern Nevada’s affinity groups provide a means for passionate, determined, and action-oriented leaders in southern Nevada to use their collective strength and financial power to make a difference.  While our groups are diverse, they are truly connected by a singular mission or passion.

United Way’s Tocqueville Society, Women’s Leadership Council and Young Philanthropists Society provide an opportunity for individuals to join together and inspire others to take action in meeting the most pressing needs of the community and creating lasting change to improve lives.

New Affinity Group Members

Welcome to all of the new United Way of Southern Nevada affinity group members that have joined since 12/17/13.

Tocqueville Society

Elliot Chambers
Jill Fournier
Glen Howard
Steven & Carrie Larson
William Russell
Philippe & Christelle Ziade

Women’s Leadership Council

Janice Paligutan Barr
Philamee Bennett
Mikey Bilbray
Jocelyn Bluitt-Fisher
Kathryn Bonello
Elizabeth Brickfield
Paula Browne
Virginia Christenson
Maria Gatti
Holly Lloyd
Jane Ann Pete-Kasick
Betty Mayer
Phyllis Radack
Ingrid Reisman
Tammy Seichi
Tara Young

Young Philanthropists Society

Michael Brown
Linasha Jerome
Michelle Lindsay
Mathew Reid
Daniel Shapiro
Caitlin Shea
Bridgette Villamor
Chris Way

WLC Spotlight | Holly Lloyd


An adventurer at heart, Holly Lloyd grew up in Tucson, Ariz. where she enjoyed soccer and horseback riding. She now thrives on camping, boating, swimming, hiking and traveling with her husband David. With a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in history from University of Arizona, Holly loves history and is passionate about giving back to the community.

With a 19-year career with Southwest Gas, she’s held a wide range of positions and currently serves as the Administrator in State Regulatory Affairs, encouraging energy efficiency upgrades throughout the service territory. She is also the program administrator of Southwest Gas’ income-qualifying rate assistance and weatherization programs.

“This position has given me first-hand knowledge of how much need there is in the community, and has driven me to get more involved,” explained Holly. “The appreciation and love that has been expressed by so many customers is so rewarding. I wanted to experience that on a personal level, rather than as an employee doing a job.”

Describing herself as a work in progress, if Holly could choose a different profession for a day, she would be a doctor. “Being able to diagnose and eliminate a health crisis would be incredibly rewarding,” said Holly.

Holly-Lloyd-FavoritesOn Holly’s “Bucket List” is to retire early and complete the ‘Big U’ boating trip from the Pacific Northwest, through the Panama Canal, and back up to Maine.

With a desire to make a greater impact in the community, she was inspired to join United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) to attempt to positively influence young women to follow a path of giving.

“I remember when I first joined the company there were people I admired that donated significantly and I was inspired by their generosity,” said Holly. “I wanted to be successful and increase my salary so I could continue to increase the level of my donations to a point that it might make a difference. If I can influence those around me to volunteer for a worthy cause, or increase their donations, I will be happy when I retire.”

She is passionate about helping the next generation of youth attend college and enjoys the WLC hands-on volunteer opportunities.

“As a volunteer assembling the centerpieces for the annual fashion show, it was great to see all of the different components that went into each handbag,” exclaimed Holly. “Providing the handbags with all of the toiletries and accessories as a follow-up to the WLC Suit Drive was brilliant. I am hopeful to become more involved in the suit drive this year.”

According to Holly, United Way gives direction to those who want to get involved but don’t know where to start.

“United Way supports the community and channels funds to those in need providing education opportunities, preventative healthcare, financial assistance and whatever is needed to those who reach out for help,” said Holly.

Holly believes that making the smallest contribution of time can make a world of difference in another life.

“My mom used to always tell me, Holly, you are the company you keep,” said Holly. “Getting involved with United Way puts you in the company of people who are trying to make a difference in the community. A group working together towards a common goal can have a bigger impact than working alone. I encourage others to join in to make a difference!”


Nancy Houssels Highlighted for her Impact on Nevada

Screenshot 2014-04-01 09.20.05

In an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal from Sunday, March 30th, eight women were highlighted by author and historian Michael Green for their significant impact on the state of Nevada. Read about our very own Nancy Houssels– very impressive! But we knew that already…

Nancy Houssels

Nancy Houssels was born in California and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles in theatre arts.

Houssels came to Las Vegas to perform in “Folies Bergère” at the Tropicana and retired in 1969 when she married J. Kell Houssels, the casino’s president. With Folies lead dancer Vassili Sulich, Houssels co-founded the Nevada Dance Theatre, which become the Nevada Ballet Theatre in 1997.

“The Houssels family has done a lot to promote culture in this area,” Green said. “The ballet was most prominent, but they were also active in the process that led to The Smith Center.”

Houssels is a board member of the UNLV Foundation, The Meadows School and the Nevada International Women’s Forum, among others.

“We don’t think of women performing on the Strip, necessarily, in this way,” Green said. “She was not the traditional Strip performer and she has not been the traditional retired Strip performer.”

Read the entire article.

Tocqueville Spotlight | Cathy Jones

Living life to the fullest is Cathy Jones’ credo, and along the way she has built a thriving commercial real estate firm and volunteered her time to help build a brighter future for southern Nevada. Born in Detroit, Michigan in a family of five children, to this day Cathy is still an avid Detroit LionsContinue Reading

Fashion’s Finest at WLC Luncheon Fashion Show

Over 450 women enjoyed the latest DKNY fashions and a delicious lunch at United Way of Southern Nevada’s Women’s Leadership Council Luncheon Fashion Show at Four Seasons Hotel on February 21, 2014. With a room filled to capacity, the event recognized WLC’s impact in the community and women community leaders who demonstrate a commitment to improving southernContinue Reading

YPS Spotlight | Leroy Godfrey

Leroy Godfrey came into our fine town with gusto! He relocated to Las Vegas six months ago to open Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar in Town Square, which opened on January 17. Born and raised in Tucson, Arizona, Leroy has a passion for steaks, large plated servings and giving back to the community. “IContinue Reading

YPS Featured Photos | January 2014

YPS Spreads Cheer to Students at Hollingsworth Elementary

Young Philanthropists Society (YPS) members are passionate about the community and in particular young, struggling students who just need a helping hand. YPS hosts volunteer opportunities at Hollingsworth Elementary to give its members an opportunity to meet the students and inspire them to dream for their futures by meeting young leaders who have achieved theirContinue Reading

Tocqueville Spotlight | Cliff and Darlene Miller

Born in Georgia, Cliff and Darlene Miller met and began working together in the jewelry industry in 1984 for an Augusta, Georgia jewelry chain. In 2000, they purchased MJ Christensen Diamonds and uprooted their family to the bright lights of Las Vegas. Passionate about their trade, both Cliff and Darlene obtained Gemological Institute of AmericaContinue Reading

WLC Spotlight | Joy Avedesian

Raised in Los Angeles, Calif., Joy is passionate about spending time with her family and finding new and resourceful ways to create change in Las Vegas. Joy’s father served in Vietnam and developed several successful restaurants after his deployment, while her mother was an executive with a major financial institution. “We have a large extended family, andContinue Reading