DAYTON — Greene County is well represented in the YWCA of Dayton’s Women of Influence class of 2019.
Beavercreek resident Cassie Barlow, chief operating officer of Southwestern Ohio Council on Higher Education and former base commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and Yellow Springs residents Neenah Ellis, general manager of WYSO, and Kim Duncan, community philanthropist and former CEO and co-founder of Elements IV Interiors are among the six inductees.
Also among the Women of Influence are Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz, senior rabbi at Temple Israel; Chris Saunders, community philanthropist and international advocate; and Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, a dancer with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
Honorees were selected from a pool of more than 105 nominations by YWCA leadership and the volunteer WOI Committee, led this year by Chair Debbie Watts Robinson, CEO, Miami Valley Housing Opportunities, and Co-Chair Belinda Matthews Stenson, director, Minority Business Partnership of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.
Additionally, The Dayton Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, will be honored with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Links is an international nonprofit for professional women of color committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African-Americans and other persons of African ancestry.
“Occasionally, someone will ask me if we’ll ‘run out’ of influential women in the Dayton area to recognize,” Shannon Isom, president and CEO of YWCA Dayton said. “Clearly, we will not. We stand in awe of these women. They are thought leaders, innovators, literal care givers. They make our community stronger by sharing those gifts to break down barriers and help the most vulnerable among us thrive. That is the mission work YWCA Dayton has done for 148 years, and we are honored to lift up these women in pursuit of that vision.”
This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the award. The luncheon takes place 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, March 21 at the Dayton Convention Center. With an average attendance of 800, it is the single largest daytime nonprofit luncheon in Dayton.
Since 1998, the YWCA Dayton WOI Awards have recognized and honored the most influential women in the Dayton area, visionaries and thought leaders who have made a difference in the community through their dedication to the YWCA mission of empowering women, eliminating racism, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.