Even though she is an accomplished and recognized researcher, Dr. Latika Davis-Jones was still humbled as she shared wine and hors d’oeuvres at the VIP reception prior to the luncheon honoring her and 49 others as the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Women of Excellence Class of 2018.
“There are some exceptional women here, and it’s a privilege to be part of this,” she
said. “I’ve had colleagues who’ve won, so I knew about it. But, you know, when you’re doing the work, you don’t think about it. You just do it. So, it’s especially nice to be acknowledged for it.”
Dr. Davis-Jones is Assistant Deputy Director for the Allegheny County Department of Human Services’ Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services.
Reverend Shanea Leonard is pastor at Judah Fellowship Christian Church. She also was humbled to be an honoree. “I’m truly honored to be here,” she said. “To get the call was a total surprise and I am absolutely thrilled to be here and see all these talented women.”
Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program Coordinator Devon Taliaferro agreed.
“I’m just getting started. And to be here with these women is truly amazing,” she said. “It’s an honor.”
University of Pittsburgh Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Cheryl Johnson, another honoree, said she was “very grateful and look forward to meeting some of these amazing women. This event shows that Pittsburgh is on the move—and it’s great to be a part of that, too.”
And an event it was with more than 300 friends and family members celebrating the honorees during the Oct. 12 luncheon at the Wyndham Grand Hotel, Downtown. Courier Lifestyles Editor Debbie Norrell got things started by welcoming the guests and introducing WPXI-TV anchor Lisa Sylvester as the event’s celebrity host. Courier Advertising Coordinator Ashley Johnson thanked the sponsors, while Courier Editor and Publisher Rod Doss praised the honorees in attendance for their notable status as “Women of Excellence.”
“We continue to be pleased to present such luminous and gifted personalities,” Doss said.
As the honorees prepared to take the stage to receive their award, Doss turned the podium over to Sylvester, who introduced each honoree by name as they were greeted by Doss and given their award.
Doss then returned to the microphone to introduce the event’s Legacy Honoree, Cecile Springer.
“I will let her many awards and accomplishments indicate the high esteem she is held in by others,” he said. “I have been privileged to watch her over the years.”
He then introduced a short film tribute featuring comments from some whom Springer has inspired over the years with her charitable, philanthropic and gender and racial equity work—including her daughter, Christina.
In fact, many members of Springer’s family were on hand for this momentous occasion.
Though she has received countless honors, Springer was deeply touched by the Legacy Award and by all the well-wishers among the other awardees who said Springer inspired them. She thanked and congratulated them all, and said it was just in her nature to try to help others.
“I’m delighted to be here with so many exceptional women. I’m celebrating my 60th year in Pittsburgh. My husband (Eric) and I came here to start a life, and since then I’ve had a six-decade love affair with this city,” she said. “So, I have invested my time and talent into it. I have to spend my time involved in those organizations that make up this community. Thank you, all.”
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