slides: YWCA RI Names 2012 Women of Achievement
Monday, September 17, 2012
The Women of Achievement awards recognize women across industry, culture and public service. “We see the honorees as true role models for girls and young women growing up in Rhode Island,” said Deborah L. Perry, president and chief executive officer of YWCA Rhode Island. The selection criteria call for women that demonstrate exceptional skills, leadership and mentoring. The women break new ground and old barriers. They are agents of positive change and inspiration. The awards are based on achievements promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity–all values embodied by the YWCA.
The public is invited to attend this year's 8th Annual Awards Luncheon on Thursday, September 27 from 11:30am to 1:30pm at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln. Tickets are $50. For more details, visit http://www.womenofachievementRI.org or call Lisa Piscatelli at 401-769-7450.
Toby Ayers, PhD
Toby Ayers, PhD is the director of Rhode Island for Community and Justice, a nonprofit organization that fights intolerance by promoting understanding and respect. The organization's 60th Diamond Anniversary in November will commemorate its achievements in empowering youth as leaders, advancing just policy and law, and facilitating dialogue on the challenging issues of race and civil rights.
Ayer's accomplishments include directing the RI Commission on Women, founding and directing the domestic violence Community Advocacy Program in Boston, directing research and community service for the Center of Community Health, Education and Research in Boston, and working for the Guam School District, Marianas Islands.
Elizabeth "Liz" Chace
Elizabeth "Liz" Chace holds commendations in two professional fields–one in human services and the other in real estate as the co-founder of Residential Properties, Ltd. Her experiences in her human services career impacted her philanthropic and professional pursuits. Chace has shown admirable commitment to community through her advocacy for women and children, as well as devoting much of her time and talent to several non-profit and community organizations.
Carrie Bridges Feliz, MPH
Carrie Bridges Feliz, MPH is the team leader for Health Disparities and Access to Care at the Rhode Island Department of Health. A graduate of Duke University and the Boston University School of Public Health, Feliz came to Rhode Island in 2004 while serving as a fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the Rhode Island Department of Health, Feliz participates in policy and community-based initiatives that aim to improve popular health, reduce health disparities, and encourage all people to achieve their optimal state of health. Outside of work, she serves on advisories and boards to address two more of her passions–health and education policy.
Hilary Jones is the founder and director of Girls Rock! Rhode Island, a 4-year-old non-profit that helps hundreds of girls and women across the state empower themselves through music. In 2008, Jones received her doctorate in Behavioral Science Psychology and is a part-time faculty member in departments of Psychology and Women's Studies at The University of Rhode Island. She has also worked to end violence and increase healthy relationships and behavior as a Research and Education Specialist at Day One, a violence prevention coordinator at the Rhode Island Department of Health, and a project coordinator at Healthy Kids Rhode Island.
Patricia Martinez is the Executive Director for the Center of Family Support and Student Services at Central Falls High School. Martinez became the first Latina confirmed by the Rhode Island Senate for a Cabinet-level position in 2005 when she became director of the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Throughout her career, Martinez has ensured the delivery of services to low-income families by advocating for social justice through community organizing and the promotion of positive youth development, education, and family engagement. She has also helped build partnerships with community/faith-based organizations and educational systems.
Martinez received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Rhode Island College and a master’s degree in management and human services from Springfield College. Martinez was also awarded an honorary degree in humanities from Rhode Island College.
Carol O'Donnell is the owner and president of CRM Modular Homes and Emerald Reconstruction, the national director of NAWIC for Region 14, and president of NAWIC No. 1 of RI, Chapter 52. O’Donnell is a member of the Rhode Island Builders Association, National Associationa of Builders, and Professional Women Builders. She is on the board of directors of the Bonnet Shores Beach Club, and has volunteered at Women and Infants Hospital.
As a supporter of Fraternal Order of Police, Rhode Island State Trooper Parade, Matty’s Place Playground, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State, O’Donnell is currently partnering with donors and volunteers to rehabilitate YWCA’s Carriage House, a Rosie's Girl Club House that will create a space for girls to be able to learn a skilled trade while also building self-confidence.
Adeola Oredola is the Executive Director of Youth In Action, a youth-led non-profit in Providence that provides opportunities for young people of color to develop vital leadership skills and create positive social change throughout their communities. At the age of 22, she became the youngest person ever to serve on the Providence School Board. Now at 31, Oredola serves as a board member of The Providence Plan.
Oredola attended Brown University and was awarded a 2011 Rhode Island Foundation fellowship, which allowed her to travel to her father’s home country of Nigeria and bring Youth In Action’s model to the international stage.
Valerie Perry's 32-year career began at the East Providence School Department and later continued at City Hall, where she served as administrative assistant to the city manager for four years. She then was appointed as a city clerk, a position she held for 14 years until her retirement in 2004. Soon after, she was elected to the East Providence City Council, where she served three terms from 2004-2010. Today, she is the 2014-15 district governor nominee for Rotary District 7950, which includes 67 Rotary clubs throughout Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts, the Cape, and the Islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.
Carolyn Rafaelian is the owner and creative director of Alex and Ani. She launched the company in 2004, naming it after her first two daughters, and shortly after opened her first retail store in Newport. The company has since bloomed and now proudly offers numerous retail locations throughout the United States with international partners spanning the globe.
The Alex and Ani line is anchored by a patented signature expandable wire bangle adorned with meaningful charms that personally represents the wearer’s life purpose and individual spirit. All of Rafaelian's products and designs are eco-friendly, as she is dedicated to maintaining an eco-conscious environment, establishing green habits, and producing goods made in America.
Through her philanthropic efforts of Alex and Ani’s Charity by Design division, Rafaelian focuses on working with organizations to raise awareness and inspire action.
Roberta Richman has held numerous positions at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections during the course of her almost 33-year career. Her primary focus throughout has been preparing incarcerated men and women for their reentry into the community upon release, as well as developing activities designed to bridge the gap between institutional services and community corrections.
From 2001 to July 2012, she served as the Assistant Director of Rehabilitative Services, overseeing community corrections such as probation, parole, and home confinement. She also oversaw all prison-based programming and treatment including education and vocational training, health services, mental health, substance abuse treatment, and many specialized counseling programs. During the ten years of her tenure as a warden, she introduced many innovative gender-responsive programs for female offenders.
Barbara Sokoloff is the president of Barbara Sokoloff Associates, Inc., a mission-based affordable housing and community development consulting firm. She has created more than 1,500 affordable housing units as well as many community-based development and planning projects. Two of these include the Downtown East Greenwich Revitalization Plan and the Dreyfus Hotel, which provides mixed-use artist housing. She is on the board of The Institute for the Study & Practice of Nonviolence and the Classical High School Alumni Association, and is the vice chair of the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island.
Sokoloff was previously the president of both the Hillel Board at The University of Rhode Island and the Jewish Seniors Agency of Rhode Island, a city planner in Warwick, and a member of the boards of RI Housing and RI Health Education Facilities Corporation.
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