The Stalwart

Erika White



You see her everywhere, don’t you? A familiar face in so many places. Out there, supporting your new adventures, advocating for social services and justice, inspiring health initiatives through her advocacy with health institutions and organizations and challenging us all to be our better selves. Her name is Erika White. In her resolve for a more equitable and healthy community, she uses her voice for the improvement of all our lives. And yet, many of us are not aware of her efforts. Erika is a proud graduate of Rogers High School, and her story is fueled by her passion for personal improvement and desire to be of service to others. Her tenacity that has been front and center in her journey has not only served her and her family well, but also our community.

Erika’s compassionate journey began very early in life. She is proud to describe her life as one that began with a selfless kind of love and included twists and turns that have led her to live a life full of purpose. Erika was adopted by her mother at the age of one month, because her mother believed she could not conceive and birth a child naturally. This later proved to be false with the arrival of her baby sister! Although Erika found out about her adoption as an adult, she attributes her gift of caring for others to that moment of learning the true meaning of unconditional love. She feels forever grateful and blessed because of her mom’s gift… to love her for a lifetime.

After graduating from high school, she decided to go to college and enrolled into The University of Toledo. The commitment of being both a full-time employee and student proved to be a challenge, so she chose to pivot to another path and switched to being a part-time student at Owens Community College while continuing to work at AT&T. She soon met her husband James and they decided to marry and raise a family. Without college credentials, Erika successfully took every test required in her job to ascend to greater roles and responsibilities all the while proving to herself and others that she was a natural born leader. The road she took wasn’t the road she envisioned for herself, but she is resilient, and Her’s is a story of the underdog because of her ability to never give up and to turn a challenge into a step towards something greater.

Due to the barriers for advancement on her job that she experienced because of her lack of higher education and being an African American female, she worked hard to rise to the top. Her competitors didn’t see her as a threat, but she seemed to always prove them wrong as she continuously moved into greater roles of responsibility. So, she decided to run for a local union seat and won. Then she ran for a national seat and won. Today Erika is President of CWA Local 4319 (Communications Workers of America) which covers Lucas and Allen counties. In this role she fights for the rights of workers in this growing field. She served as Vice President for thirteen years and is now serving her second term as President. She is also Vice President of the Greater Northwest Ohio body of the sixty-seven-year-old AFL-CIO. (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations). This organization helps to make safe, equitable workplaces and give working people a collective voice to address workplace injustices without the fear of retaliation. Erika’s passion for these roles was the result of her lifelong desire to be of service to others.

Erika is also committed to helping others avoid a lifetime of health issues. After giving birth to her daughter, she felt she would never lose the weight she had gained and was scared that her health issues would cause her a lifetime of sickness. So, she began to focus on how to improve her outcomes and is now dedicated to improving the outcomes of others by donating her time to underserved communities. You will see her leading physical warm-ups at our favorite fundraisers around town as well as leading complementary workouts at a local church. And, for her latest move, she is back in school and this time for a specific purpose. Erika will graduate in Spring 2024 from The University of Wisconsin with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Wellness Management. She envisions utilizing her experiences and community work for the benefit of a healthier, more engaged society.

Some of the organizations she works with that will continue to benefit from her lifetime of compassionate leadership are Mental Health and Recovery Services, Greater Toledo Digital Equity Coalition with Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Toledo Community Coalition, Susan G Komen Race for the Cure, African American Male Wellness Walk and others. She wants the community to realize that you must take your health seriously, and that you have a voice in how your community works. Speak up for yourselves and make sure you do what you can to live a long healthy life with those you love. Thank you, Erika, for your leadership. We are blessed because you care!

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