By MARY STARR firstname.lastname@example.org
On June 13, 15 area women will be saluted for their dedication to improving the Golden Isles. The 19th annual Tribute to Women Leaders, presented by the Golden Isles YMCA, will begin at 11:30 at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.
The keynote speaker will be Cynthia Whittenburg, deputy assistant commissioner, Office of Trade, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Whittenburg will speak about her long, fulfilling and interesting career in federal law enforcement and the military.
The event has a rich history in the Golden Isles. More than 400 local women and their sponsors have been honored, while raising nearly a half million dollars since the inception of the event.
"Throughout it's time, it's astounding to see the lasting impact Tribute has made to the children and families in our community," said event co-chair Oatanisha Dawson, in a prepared statement. Dawson's co-chair is Melissa Reese, and honorary co-chairs are Tres Hamilton and Connie Patrick.
This year's leadership team hopes to raise in excess of $50,000 to benefit the YMCA's youth development programs, which impact nearly 2,000 Glynn County children annually.
Hillary Bradbury, marketing and communications director of the YMCA of Coastal Georgia, with which the Golden Isles YMCA is affiliated, said Tuesday's luncheon is not only a celebration, but a significant means of fundraising for the organization.
"The annual Tribute to Women Leaders luncheon is a way to collectively celebrate and honor women who are influencing, improving and impacting our community," Bradbury said. "Through nominations and ticket sales, Tribute to Women Leaders is one of the largest fundraisers we hold to benefit the Golden Isles YMCA Annual Campaign."
Honorees are chosen by other community leaders, businesses and organizations. The YMCA asks those nominating women for consideration take into account certain criteria, including the scope of the woman's work, both professionally and personally, involvement in professional and civic organizations and a commitment to furthering the communities in which they work and live.
"This peer nomination system reinforces the honorees' commitment to our community," Bradbury said.
All the funds raised at the annual luncheon remain local, and aid specifically in the area of youth development.
"These funds are used to provide access to crucial before- and after-school programs, child care, summer day camp and youth sports programming to families who may otherwise be unable to attend, through financial assistance," she said.
"Additionally, funds raised through the tribute help support the Young Women's Career Adventure Program, a youth mentorship program for middle school age girls ... Through the career adventure programs, girls are connected with influential women in a variety of careers across the country to learn about leadership, determination and dedication to lifelong learning."
What the YMCA provides children is unique, Bradbury said.
"Every child needs a safe place to learn, grow and thrive," she explained. "At the Y, we want to be sure we are that place for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay for a program."
"Through the generosity of our partners, leaders, members and donors, funds raised through the annual campaign and Tribute to Women Leaders provide financial assistance to families for these services and programs."
Tickets to the Tribute for Women Leaders are $60 each, and half the cost is tax-deductible. For more information, call 912-265-4100.
The following women will be honored at Tuesday's luncheon. They are listed with their nominating organization.
• Rose D. Andrews, Southeast Georgia Health System. Retired chief financial officer for Kingsland Ford Mercury Inc. Graduate of Friends University in Wichita, Kan., secretary of the Southeast Georgia Health System Board of Directors, a deaconess ministry trustee and church treasurer at Evergreen Missionary Baptist Church, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Brunswick Chapter of The Links and CASA of Camden.
• Janice Applegate, Friends of FaithWorks Ministry. Case manager at The Well, a day services resource for people who are homeless. Graduate of Brunswick High School and University of Georgia. On the boards of STAR Foundation and Family Connection. Mentors at Goodyear Elementary School, volunteers for Coastal Medical Access Project (CMAP) and member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
• Beth Boone, Hall Booth Smith P.C. Shareholder partner with Hall Booth Smith P.C. Member of the Glynn County Bar Association and the Tennessee Bar Association, Georgia Defense Lawyers Association, Defense Research Institute and Claims and Litigation Alliance. Past officeholder in the Glynn County Bar Association. Volunteer work includes "Ask-a-Lawyer" night and monthly legal clinics at The Well.
• Jessica Burkett, Sea Island Acquisitions. Owner and guest services manager in the Owner Services Department of Sea Island, responsible for "front of house operations" for the Sea Island Cottage Rental program. Mentors co-workers. Nominated for Sea Island's Enriching Lives programs. Has designed programs to collect money for Christmas layaways, food and coats, and helps the homeless.
• Maggie Holt, a benefactor. Involved in Keep Golden Isles Beautiful since she was 8 years old. Former president of the Frederica Academy Service Council, member and chaplain, Pirates of the Spanish Main, member, Christ Church Frederica, where she is an acolyte, lay reader, youth group member, Vacation Bible School counselor, Tour of Homes volunteer, and is a member of several church committees, as well as The Gathering Place youth ministry.
• Sherri Jones, Friends of Coastal Georgia Historical Society. Executive director of the Coastal Georgia Historical Society. Obtained re-accreditation for the society from the American Alliance of Museums. Led the restoration and redesign of the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum. Earned the Georgia Trust Award for Historic Preservation. Transforming the historic Coast Guard Station into a new World War II Home Front Museum.
• Nina Kennedy, Gateway Behavioral Health Services. Former chief clinical officer at Gateway Behavioral Health Services. Committed to social justice issues and underserved communities — human, feline and canine. Involved with Habitat for Humanity and Brunswick Homeless Coalition. Volunteers with young women with substance abuse issues. Licensed marriage and family therapist.
• Nancy Kring Rowan, Jekyll Island Authority. Events manager for the Jekyll Island Authority. Recipient of Southeast Festival and Events Association Kaleidoscope Award. Named JIA Manager of the Quarter.
• Christi Lambert, Friends of the Nature Conservancy. Georgia Coastal and Marine Conservation Director for The Nature Conservancy. Established the Altamaha River Bioreserve. Advises programs including Little St. Simons Ecological Advisory Council, Georgia Department of Natural Resources Coastal Advisory Council, Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve Advisory Council, Coastal WildScapes Advisory Committee and Cannon's Point Advisory Board and Conservation Task Force.
• Dianne Mallard, Golden Isles Association of Realtors. Realtor with Premier Real Estate Group. Served on the Board of Realtors for the Golden Isles Association of Realtors. Member of the where she is education, new member and awards committees of the association of realtors. Former awards include Rookie of the Year Award, Top Listing and Top Selling Agent awards, President's Club Award, Quality Service Award, Circle of Excellence, Outstanding Service Award, among many others. Involved with Hospice of the Golden Isles, The Salvation Army, Project Backpack, the Miranda Faith Foundation, Morningstar, Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross and Grace Place Baptist Church.
• Celeste Merrix, Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers. Equal Opportunity ombudsman at the Federal Law enforcement Training Centers. Veteran of the U.S. Army. First female Equal Opportunity Advisor assigned to the 24th Infantry Division at Fort Stewart. Member of First Timothy Baptist in Jacksonville, Fla. Works to recruit college students with disabilities for internships at FLETC.
• Carrene G. "CG" Rosser, The Rotary Clubs of Brunswick and St. Simons Island. Volunteer and donor care coordinator at MAP International. Volunteer hours saved more than $90,000 in labor costs in 2016. Expanded volunteer outreach to include programs with College of Coastal Georgia, various companies, churches and community organizations. Attends St. Simons Community Church, and is the secretary of Christ Redeemer Church.
• Sharon Wyman, GP Cellulose-Brunswick Cellulose LLC. Employed for 34 years at the company. Currently the records/forms information manager as well as the executive assistant to the vice president and general manager of Brunswick Cellulose. After the Koch Industries purchase, she helped establish the company's Gloucester St. quarters. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family.