Women leaders honored as 2013 Women of Excellence

Local women will be honored by the Michigan Chronicle as 2013 Women of Excellence on Friday, March 22, at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Now in its 6th year, the theme is “Women of Excellence: A Sisterhood of Power.” The event aims to formalize and celebrate the dynamic community of 350 influential and accomplished women that has been built over the years. Comedienne/actress Kim Coles will return this year as emcee.

The Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence Awards honor African American women who inspire others through their vision and leadership, exceptional achievements, and participation in community service. They are women who exemplify extraordinary stature, poise and grace. They do it all while maintaining the delicate balance of filling the roles of helpmate, mother, teacher and professional.

“There’s a power in womanhood,” said Hiram E. Jackson, publisher of the Michigan Chronicle. “Our goal is to foster a community of women who can build upon their legacy of service by sharing advice, opportunities, and ideas with each other and the greater community.”

Nominated by their peers, the latest group of honorees represent different backgrounds and career paths. However, they all have one thing in commo — they contribute greatly to the business community. The women who are chosen for this award are champions of economic empowerment, the backbone of our religious and educational organizations, and driving forces in politics and community service.

More than 50 women will be inducted this year. They are corporate executives, entrepreneurs and women who serve in the public and non-profit sectors. Among others, honorees Linda Ware, Tammy Klugh and Alexis Dishman all work for corporations. Ware is the manager of Supplier Diversity at General Motors. She is responsible for managing more than 200 suppliers. Klugh is the vice president of Diveristy and Inclusion at Kelly Services, Inc. Together with other leaders at Kelly, Klugh designs global strategies to create an inclusive environment. Dishman is an alternate group manager and vice president at Comerica Bank. She mentors new lenders, helps to develop complex loan structures, and is a voting member of the loan committee.

Honorees Carla Sledge, Judith Berry and Joanne Mondowney serve the public in various capacities. Sledge provides financial and business leadership for Wayne County through her dual role as chief financial officer and the director of Management and Budget. She touches all aspects of government including the state and federal levels. Berry is the assistant chancellor of Instructional Support and Educational Accountability for the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan. As part of this new system of education, she is responsible for helping to transform the lowest five percent of performing schools within the state. Mondowney is an innovative award-winning library administrator who heads the Detroit Public Library. She wrote the book “Hold Them in Your Heart: Successful Strategies for Library Services to At-Risk Teens.”

Ifetayo Johnson, Cheryl Coleman and Kimberly Burton are honorees who work for non-profits. Johnson is the longtime executive director of the United Health Organization and Project Healthy Living. She is activist in the Healthy Cities movement and has directed several community projects focused on disease prevention, health and wellness. A master level social worker, Coleman is the president and CEO of Northeast Guidance Center. Some of her greatest accomplishments include raising more than $4 million in a capital campaign to construct the agency’s largest facility, Conner Campus. And Kimberly Burton is the vice president of corporate services and director of diversity and inclusive practices for the Council of Michigan Foundations. There she acts as the liaison and resource for the organization’s corporate foundations while leading the implementation of a statewide diversity and inclusion initiatives.

These and other women leaders will join an exclusive society of professional women who have previously received this distinction.

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