The 24-year-old Awtrey is joined by six additional ambassadors in the class, that includes New Orleans Saints Linebacker Demario Davis, winner of The Voice Australia Harrison Craig, and a community advocate from Baltimore, Maryland Alysha January.
As a United Way Brand Ambassador, Awtrey will leverage her digital platform to help advance the mission and goals of United Way, along with engaging the next generation of community leaders and philanthropists through social media.
Behind the Bliss – 250,000 Downloads
A South Carolina native, Awtrey, her husband Thomas, and their dog Remy moved to Birmingham three years ago. In 2018, she began the popular podcast, “Behind the Bliss,” which has produced 70 episodes. The program has been downloaded over 250,000 times by local listeners from Birmingham and the Southeast to an international audience that has reached South Africa and numerous European countries.
She works out of her house in West Homewood and at coffee houses around town, especially Caveat Coffee, which is near her home.
“The heartbeat of “Behind the Bliss” is to share stories from women that have been through something difficult or challenging so that they can share glimpses of hope with other women that may find themselves in similar positions,” said Awtrey in an interview with Bham Now.
Becoming an Ambassador
Candidly, Awtrey told us that she was not too familiar with the work of United Way, until she was invited to attend an international conference in Toronto. Besides meeting United Way leaders throughout the world, she truly learned what it meant to “live united.”
“I was humbled being there,” she said. “I started asking myself some hard questions once I found out what United Way was. When I discovered that United Way focused on local and national issues that help all people – homelessness, hunger, education, or social justice – my heart started getting lit up.”
“I can be really active and local, be present in my community knowing that I’m a small piece in this bigger puzzle – which is important for all of us to remember.”
Started Volunteering for Meals On Wheels
As a newly minted United Way Brand Ambassador, Awtrey has started volunteering locally for United Way of Central Alabama’s Meals on Wheels program, delivering meals to homebound seniors in Jefferson County.
“It was so much fun. I got to meet awesome people and to serve them,” she added.
National and International Ideas
Nationwide, the inaugural class of influencers are considering efforts to encourage people to register to vote and programs that enable people to donate unused food items while they travel.
Internationally, the group is looking at working on projects that promote clean water, education about hygiene, and building classrooms.
Why being an Influencer for United Way Matters
Rachel Awtrey summed up her interview with us, the same way she passionately talks about women’s lives on her Behind the Bliss podcast.
“I’m honored to be an influencer with United Way. I don’t take it lightly. When I first realized my career is to be an influencer, part of me sort of cringed, because at some point we all have to realize that we are all influential in some area of life.
To some people, it might be on a stage.
Some people, a large social media platform.
Some people, in your career or workplace.
I hope all people, in some capacity, can be influencers with United Way. They can start by just lending a hand, with any resources they may have. We all have an area of influence, and it is important that we don’t take that for granted. We can really make a difference if we put our minds to it.
We are better together.”
Become an Influencer for United Way
Learn how you can be an influencer within your local community through United Way of Central Alabama. Visit and explore their website at www.uwca.org.