The Michigan Chronicle hosted the 10th annual Women of Excellence Class of 2017 at MGM Grand Detroit to celebrate 51 influential women who have proven their continued leadership, community service and innovation. “These distinguished women not only have professional success to their credit, but they are beacons for the African American community through-out the region,” said Hiram Jackson, CEO of Real Times Media and publisher of Michigan Chronicle.
“We celebrate African American achievement and that’s what sets us apart.” Mr. Jackson believes Women of Excellence “exemplify the stature, poise, and grace that characterize the essence of womanhood, all while maintaining the delicate balance of filling the roles of helpmate, mother, teacher and professional.” He added all while “in character, in manner and in style.”
Recommended by former honorees, these 51 ‘Vanguards of Change’ were selected from a list of hundreds of influential women, but were chosen above the rest because the excellence they have consistently and continue to exemplify. These women are pioneers and trailblazers from diverse professional backgrounds that include healthcare, banking, automotive, journalism and more.
At the event, hosted by Detroiter and esteemed journalist Ed Gordon, performers from “Motown the Musical” tour performed classic Motown hits like “Dancing in the Streets” and “Get Ready”.
The Women of Excellence highest honors were presented to three women trailblazers who are at the pinnacle of their success. The first ever Pinnacle Award was presented to Dr. Patricia Maryland, Women of Excellence 2008 honoree and CEO of Ascension Healthcare, for her leadership in healthcare. Pat Locke, the first African American woman to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point received the Trailblazer Award for her heroism and leadership. Lisa Phillips, Principal of Cass Technical High School, was awarded with the Community Excellence Award for her leadership and commitment to education.
Locke, from Detroit, credits the city as an important component of her success in the U.S. Army and believes more African American high school students should consider the military as a viable option after graduation. “You never really leave Detroit! I left Detroit when I joined the Army at 17. Congressman John Conyers nominated me to join the United States Army Academy at West Point in 1976. I’m ramping up to get more African Americans, especially African American women in the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,” Locke said. “In the meantime, I’m begging everybody to come back to Detroit!”