As arduous tasks go, selecting only 50 honorees for the 6th annual presentation of The New Tri-State Defender's Women of Excellence ranks right up there.
The selections now have been made and the list of honorees for 2013 is complete, with the Women of Excellence (WOE) Champagne Brunch and Awards Celebration set for 10 a.m. Saturday, April 27 at the Memphis Botanic Gardens, 750 Cherry Road.
"We had another phenomenal response from the community this year with over 100 nominations," said Bernal E. Smith II, President/Publisher of The New Tri-State Defender.
"We also had a hard time narrowing it down because each and every one was deserving of the honor in her own right, but ultimately we were able to select a tremendously impressive group of women of which we are very proud."
Peers, family, friends and community leaders will salute the honorees. They were chosen based upon the following criteria: "African-American woman executive, business owner, community or non-profit leader, proven success within her profession/industry, positive role model whose contributions encourage others and highly active in community service or organizational involvement leading to positive impact on the lives of others."
Over the past five years, the TSD has honored over 250 outstanding African-American professionals and community leaders distinguished by their civic contributions and career achievements.
The 2013 Women of Excellence will be celebrated amidst food, inspiration, fashion and entertainment. Rodney Dunigan, news anchor for ABC24, will serve as Master of Ceremony and will guide a morning filled with performances by the critically acclaimed band Prosody, along with other special guest performances and a special guest speaker to be announced later.
Ticket and table reservations are first come, first serve.
"We are extremely excited about this opportunity to recognize and honor such a distinguished and deserving group of women," said Smith.
"We will be incorporating new elements into the 2013 edition of WOE, which should make it our best yet! This spring celebration gives us the chance to say 'thank you' to those who have been consistently committed to the highest principles of servant leadership and positively touching the lives of others."
WOE 2013 Honorees
Gwen Bonner, Chief Operating Officer, St. Francis Hospital Bartlett
Cynthia Bowen, Employment Director, Star Placement Specialists
Mary Bright, Officer of Contract Compliance, City of Memphis
Marilyn Brooks, Teacher/Freshman Dean, Trezevant High School
Peggy Brown, Owner, Peggy's Healthy Home Cooking
Kerri Campbell, Project Manager, Mayor's Innovation Delivery Team
Chermale Casem, Chief Operating Officer, Seedco
Dr. Menthia P. Clark, Principal, Memphis Business Academy
Gerrie Currie, Hope Federal Credit Union
Cynthia Daniels, President, Memphis Urban League Young Professionals
Yolanda Draine, Sr. VP Human Resources, First South Credit Union
Michelle Fifer, APN/CRNA, Medical Anesthesia Group/Morgan Cares
Sheila Floyd, Co-Pastor, The Pursuit of God Church
Telisa Franklin, Television Host, MUTV1/Juneteenth
Donzaleigh Frazier, IT Specialist, U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development
Mary Freeman, Director – Government Relations, Baptist Hospital
Janeen Gordon, Weekend Anchor/On-Air Personality, WMCTV5/103.5 WRBO
Rosalyn Gray, VP & Sr. Investment Officer, First Tennessee Bank
Tiffanie Grier, Career Placement Director, Boys & Girls Club of Memphis
Veora Harris, Agent, Shelter Insurance
Cynthia Hazell-Cutchin, Director, FedEx Forum and Media Marketing, Memphis Grizzlies
TJ Jefferson, Owner, Fresh Touch Publicity
Catherine Johnson, Retired Educator, Memphis City Schools, Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church
Kela Jones, Development Manager, Memphis Urban League
Selena Jones, IT Specialist, IRS
Gail Kerr-Moore, Finance Supervisor, Shelby County Government
Virzola Law, Associate Pastor, Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church
Dr. Tommie Matthews, Associate Pastor/Author, Morning Star Church
Dr. Brenda Partee Morris, Anesthesiologist
Ella Mosby, Pastor & Founder, The Word in Life Christian Church
Carla Norton, Minister, Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church
Crystal Oliver, Managing Director-HR Svcs., FedEx Express
Elle Perry, Coordinator, The Teen Appeal
Ayoka Pond, Director of Public Research, Baptist Memorial Health Care
Angela Rixter-Kelley, Owner/Instructor, The Tea Room Charm & Finishing School
Cynthia Sharp, Account Executive, ABC24/CW30
Dorothy Jean Smith, Office Manager, Robert J. Smith, MD
Nicky Sparrow, Director of Sales, Clear Channel Radio
Dorchelle Spence, VP Public Relations and Communications, Riverfront Development Corp.
Sugar Stallings, Radio Show Host, AM990-KWAM CBS Talk Radio
Pearl Street, Philanthropist
Faye Stroud, President, Owner & Creative Director, STROUDMark Photography
Tish Towns, V.P. of Government Relations/Public Policy, The Regional Medical Center
Sabrina Ward, Chief Partnership Officer, Greater Alternative Surplus Solution
Kesha Whitaker, Communications and Development Mgr., Women's Foundation of Memphis
Regenna Williams, Administrator, BNI Home Health Agency
Rosalind Withers, President/Board Chairman, Withers Collection Museum Gallery