The Alexandria Commission for Women will hold its annual Salute to Women Awards Banquet March 18 to honor 11 individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the community.
Honorees at the 33rd annual banquet, a benefit for the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center, will be recognized for their accomplishments in civic life and for the improvements they have brought to the well-being of Alexandria's women.
“These women exemplify the true spirit of the mission of the Commission for Women,” said commission chair Elizabeth Johnson in a statement announcing this year's winners. “The City Council has charged us to eliminate discrimination because of gender, encourage equal opportunity for women in every aspect of life in Alexandria and to educate all Alexandrians about such issues as domestic violence and sexual assault. Women like our awardees are instrumental in helping us achieve our goals.”
Selected by an independent committee appointed by the commission, the 2013 awardees are:
Brooke Curran, Rising Star Award - Curran, founder of The RunningBrooke Fund, has committed to run a marathon in every state and continent to benefit local charities such as The Reading Connection, Community Lodgings and Girls on the Run.
Becky Davies, Making a Difference Award - Davies will be honored for a lifetime of volunteer service to the community that includes the yearly registration of over 1,000 members of Girl Scouts organizations and allocating them into troops.
Faye Gunn, Making a Difference Award - A member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Gunn has sponsored young women to become debutantes and donated funds for girls to attend college through Alfred Street Baptist Church. She is the only woman to serve as a pastor at ASBC and has served on numerous committees as an advocate for women including the city's Walk to Fight Breast Cancer.
Monika Jones, Rising Star Award - As vice chair of the Alexandria Human Rights Commission, Jones recently led the Black History Month documentary screening discussion on Shirley Chisholm, the first African American congresswomen and candidate for president.
Erika Kleiner, Women's Health and Safety Advocate Award - During her tenure as a city employee, Kleiner has raised awareness of taboo health and safety issues like domestic violence among lesbian couples and violence against transgender women.
Pat Miller, Susan Lowell Butler Lifetime Achievement Award - Miller, a volunteer with numerous organizations throughout the city, is founder and chair of Art on the Avenue and a founding committee member of the Del Ray Music Festival.
Karyn Moran, Youth Community Services Award - Moran has served as a coach, consultant and fundraiser for Girls on the Run, a running-based mentoring program for girls in third through eighth grades.
Monica Reid, Marian Van Landingham Legislation and Public Policy Award - As social action chair of the Alexandria chapter of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority and member of the Northern Virginia Black Chamber of Commerce, Reid plans business events and candidate nights that work to highlight legislation that impacts women's rights.
Nina Tisara, Donna Bergheim Cultural Affairs Award - In 2007, Tisara founded Living Legends of Alexandria, a photo-documentary project to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the quality of life in Alexandria. The project has expanded to include Family Legends workshops for children throughout the city.
Elizabeth Todd, Leadership in Business and Career Development Award - As owner of the Shoe Hive and co-founder of Old Town Boutique District, Todd is a civic advocate for the retail sector and strives to position Old Town as a unified shopping destination and alternative to shopping malls.
Robin Wallin, Vola Lawson Award - As Alexandria Public Schools Health Services coordinator, Wallin was instrumental in developing the Wellness Center at T.C. Williams High School. Since its opening two years ago, teen pregnancy rates have decreased by nearly 25 percent.
The awards banquet will be held on Monday, March 18, at the Westin Hotel Alexandria, 400 Courthouse Square. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m. with dinner to follow at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $85 per person. Sponsorships and ads in the program are also available. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Sarah Watson at 703-746-3123 or visit www.alexwomen.com.