The New Pittsburgh Courier will once again celebrate some of the region’s most distinguished African American women at its Women of Excellence Luncheon to be held Friday, Jan. 6, 2017, at 12 p.m., at the Wyndham Grand Hotel, located at 600 Commonwealth Place, in downtown Pittsburgh.
This honor recognizes African American women who are leaving lasting marks by making great strides in their professions and positively impacting their communities. These women who were selected from nominations sent in by the newspaper’s readership, have made significant contributions and achievements.
“We are very pleased to recognize this year’s Women of Excellence honorees. We have a top-notch list of individuals from various professions and community organizations whom exude strength, leadership and courage, and have earned the merit,” said Rod Doss, editor and publisher of the New Pittsburgh Courier. “We congratulate them, and thank them for their talent and dedication to making this region a better place for all.”
Erica Upshaw-Givner, founder of Vision Towards Peace LLC and a 2014 Women of Excellence honoree, said the award was special to her. “It was an honor to be among such great and accomplished women. (Receiving the award) meant that the work I’m doing in the community is meaningful, recognized and needed.” She went on to say that awards such as the Women of Excellence “provides motivation, encouragement and thanks.”
Like Upshaw-Givner, Andrea Williams, a 2011 WOE honoree, said, for her, the honor was unexpected and meant a great deal because it showed that someone cared about the manner in which she impacts her family, work and community, not just the accomplishments she has made.
Williams, a public health analyst for Newborn Screening and Family Engagement at the Health Resources and Services Administration, said, “The Women of Excellence is different from other awards because it speaks to the kind of woman you are, not just the title and type of work that you do. While receiving this award, I made lasting friendships and connections with my sister honorees––that’s priceless.” She went on to say, that this particular award is important because while “a lot of these women have or will receive honors in other venues, it’s fitting that we honor our own and reinforce their value in our community.”
When asked what advice these past honorees have for this year’s class, Williams said, “Get to know your sister honorees and make it a point to connect with those sitting next to you; you’ll never know the friend or connection that you may need or need to be for each other in the future. We’re in this together and proud of one another’s accomplishments and excellence.”
Upshaw-Givner said, “Being honored as a Women of Excellence implies sacrifice, commitment and fearlessness. Everyone may not understand your journey, but just know that following your heart will lead you to your destiny.”
The 2016 Women of Excellence honorees are Diane Neely Bates, Multiplistic Services; Tylan Battles, ACH Clear Pathways; Maria Lewis Bethel, City of Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office of Public Safety; Tammy Spencer Bey, PNC Bank; Dina “Free” Blackwell, Homewood Renaissance Association; Rev. Maureen F. Cross Bolden, St. James AME Church; Sonya R. Chambers, Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3; Erica Cochran Hameen, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University; Lorraine Cross, United States Postal Service; Diane I. Daniels, DID & Associates; Tammy L. Davis, Nexlevel Consulting Services LLC; Tenel Dorsey, Dreamz Hair Salon; Amy Lyn Elliot, University of Pittsburgh; Kathi R. Elliot, Gwen’s Girls, Inc.; Jacque Fielder, Nabhi Christian Ministries; Rhonda L. Fleming, Women’s Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh; Dr. Renee Galloway, Sweet Inspirations LLC; Carol Lynn Greer, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium; Ronell Guy, Northside Coalition for Fair Housing; Nicola Henry-Taylor, Esq., Myers Law Group LLC; Kim Hoots, Magisterial District Judge; Linda J. Iverson, PhD, Wilkinsburg School District; Charmelle Jackson, The Pittsburgh Foundation; Dr. Lorie Johnson-Osho, Grove City College; Marcella L. Lee, retired, Verizon; Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, the United Methodist Church; Rev. Nichelle Nelson, FAME; Tory N. Parrish, Pittsburgh Black Media Federation; Erin Perry, Legacy Arts Project; Dr. Tamare P. Piersaint, Serenity for Youth & Families; Erin E. Potter, Bank of New York Mellon; Darlene L. Powell, Crown Castle; Lucille Prater-Holliday, Black Women’s Empowerment Institute; Rev. Dr. Joan Prentice, The Ephesus Project; Theraine A. Ransome, City of Pittsburgh Bureau of EMS; Yolanda Roberts, City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police; Rena A. S. Robinson, University of Pittsburgh; Rev. April D. Roebuck, UPMC; Jessica Ruffin, Carlow University; Dr. Tamara Sanders-Woods, Pittsburgh Public Schools; Roxanne Norman Sewell, The LJS Group; Danielle M. Smith, American Urban Radio Networks; Dr. Mathilda Spencer, California University of Pennsylvania; Arzella Stewart-McCauley, Young, Gifted and Black Program; Christel N. Temple, PhD, University of Pittsburgh; Renee D. Thomas, A Child’s World Day Care Center; Te’Ona M. Williams, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System; and Bofta Yimam, WTAE-TV.
(Tickets to the event are $75 and can be purchased by visiting, www.eventbrite.com.)
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