By Lauren Lipton

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – She grew up in this area, went to college here and now Wendy Voet is the new executive director of WOMEN’S WAY — and she brings a global perspective.

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“While I was in college at the University of Pennsylvania, I spent a semester in India where I worked at Mother Thersa’s home for the destitute and dying in Calcutta,” she explains. “That was my first experience understanding real suffering.  I might have been surrounded by suffering before, but I don’t think I saw it. But tending to people who are dying really opened my eyes to the needs in the world and made me feel that I needed to make a difference.”

WOMEN’S WAY is the leading grantmaking, advocacy and education organization for women in the area and Voet says wherever you go around the world, people often want the same things:

“In Kenya, we worked on a program where we talked to people about what did they see as a high quality medical facility? In Kenya, what people said is ‘I don’t want to wait a long time, I want the waiting room to be clean, I want to be treated with respect, and I want a good outcome.’ And if you sit in Philadelphia and ask people in Philadelphia what do they see as a good situation, they would say the same thing.”

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That’s a philosophy that guides her work at WOMEN’S WAY.

“It’s just one example where you have to remember that all of us are all the same, we are all human,
we want very similar basic things and it’s our responsibility to help all of us achieve that,” Voet says.

And, for this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

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