Close up professional headshot of a young woman smiling.

Alison Leary
Immediate Past Chair

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where do you work? What do you do for fun?
    Work: I am a lawyer for the League of California Cities. The League (as we like to call it) is an association of 477 California cities who work together to enhance the knowledge and skills of city officials, exchange information, and combine resources so that they may influence policy decisions that affect cities, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the quality of life for all Californians.
    Fun: In my free time I love to hike, camp, garden, cook and eat. Exploring new places and restaurants is my favorite pastime.
  2. What motivated you to join United Way’s Young Leaders Society?
    I moved back to Sacramento in 2015 after being away at law school for 3 years and started seeking opportunities to meet like-minded, service-oriented people. I volunteered for different organizations, but never quite found the community of peers that I was looking for until I discovered United Way. In YLS, I found an incredible group of young professionals excited about making an impact on the community they love. Not only do YLS members do great work in the community and raise money to support the Square One Project, they have fun while doing it.
  3. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
    I’m sure someone has better life advice than I do, but one piece of advice that has always stuck with me is this: When you are on vacation or outliving your life, take pictures of all the amazing places you see, sure, but make sure you or your friends/family are in the photos, too. In 20 years when you look back at them, you are not going to care about the scenery, you are going to care about the people you love standing in front of it.
  4. What would you say to other young professionals looking to get involved in the community?
    Join the movement! Not only will you meet and help some amazing people; you will feel great doing it. To quote the musical Avenue Q, “When you help others, you can’t help helping yourself!”
  5. If you could change one thing about our community, what would it be and why?
    If I could change one thing about our community, I would make it easier for people to learn about issues affecting the community and how to connect with the nonprofits addressing those issues. Sacramento has one of the highest numbers of non-profit organizations in the country, but one of the lowest philanthropy rates. This belies my understanding of Sacramentans, who I think are far and away some of the most compassionate, empathetic, and generous people around. If it were easier for people to learn about the great work Sacramento nonprofits are doing and how to get involved, I think Sacramentans would step up to the task in a big way.
  6. Favorite Book and TV Show:
    My favorite book is probably The Great Gatsby, but this is a tough question. I also really love Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, The Year of Magical Thinking, The Alchemist, and Catch-22. My favorite TV show is Parks & Recreation.
  7. Little known fact:
    I love horses. I used to horseback ride as a kid, but gave it up when it became too much to balance with my high school obligations. My boyfriend recently bought me a gift certificate to start riding lessons again, though, so I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle!