Enquirer honors 10 women of the year in 2022 – The Cincinnati Enquirer

Written by Amanda

This year’s group of Enquirer Women of the Year honorees includes volunteers, CEOs, innovators, artists, fundraisers and mentors. Committed, tenacious, and creative, these 10 exceptional women make Greater Cincinnati a better place to live and work.

The women will be honored at a luncheon Oct. 21 at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom151 West Fifth Street. Tickets are available online at bit.ly/EnquirerWOY2022.

This is the 54th group of Women of the Year honored for their contributions in our communitiesIntroduced by The Enquirer in 1968, the program annually recognizes area women who have supported philanthropic efforts and who have improved civic life through their investment of time, energy and their belief in helping others.

More than 500 women have been honored over the years.

Here are the 2022 Enquirer Women of the Year:

Claudia Abercrumbie – Abercrumbie is the CEO of Cincinnati events company The Abercrumbie group. Abercrumbie is a champion for diversity and inclusion in the region, her nominators wrote, having started the Men of Honor gala, the personal development program All About Women and several conferences bringing together people from health and finance for Think Tank on Equity & Inclusion events. Abercrumbie organized the first Young Entrepreneurs of Color Pitch Competition in 2021. The competition provides entrepreneur training and mentorship for African-American and Latino high school students, awarding the winners a weeklong paid internship with a local company. “If not for Claudia, thousands of connections would not have been made and idea light bulbs would not have been illuminated,” one of her nominators wrote. “She is a bridge for people, knowledge and joy across our region. She is a catalyst for connections and conversations that make our community better.”

Heather Britt – Britt is the founder of Dancefix Cincinnati, a high-energy dance class for adults. The mission of Dancefix is to create health, happiness, and connection to self and community through dance. That happens through classes but also free appearances at events across the region that bring “sheer delight” to all in attendance. “In these hyper-partisan and polarized times, there aren’t many spaces in our lives where folks from different backgrounds and beliefs come together and have true exchanges of friendship and community,” a Dancefix instructor wrote. “It happens at Dancefix, and this city is better for it.”

Kathy DeLaura – DeLaura is the managing director at Partners in Change LLC, working with nonprofits on homelessness, child abuse, access for people with disabilities, the arts and older adults. The long list of nonprofit organizations helped by DeLaura includes Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Cincinnati Ballet, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and American Sign Museum. “She has loved and served our community for so long and never asked for anything in return,” a letter of support read. “The joy of her service is her reward.”

Nancy Grayson – Grayson is president and CEO of Horizon Community Funds in Covington, Kentucky. The foundation brings people together to contribute in an effort to help others, raising more than $35 million since its inception and giving out nearly $15 million to support community efforts. Recently, Grayson led the organization’s coronavirus relief fund, which raised $2.1 million to help more than 85,000 Kentuckians most impacted by the pandemic to date.  Grayson also serves on several boards and organizations, including the Metropolitan Club, Northern Ky. Action Council of United Way, Kentucky Philanthropy Initiative, Duke Energy’s advisory council and the Endow Kentucky Commission. A fellow board member wrote Grayson “is a model for all aspiring women who want to make a difference in leadership positions.”

Susan Hare – Hare is the executive director of iSpace, an Evendale nonprofit that offers science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational programs across the region. The nonprofit literally shut its doors in the early days of the pandemic and faced mounting debt from having to cancel programs and camps. Hare, a former mechanical engineer at GE Aviation, stepped in. She applied for federal loans to stabilize the organization while it fundraised and rebuilt. She found a new home for the organization in Evendale and it is on track to serve 30,000 students this school year. Her nominator wrote “Sue’s commitment to iSPACE has helped inspire so many individuals to pursue STEM activities and careers when they didn’t think it was possible.”

Edna Keown – Keown is recognized as a volunteer and ambassador for many causes in the Greater Cincinnati area. She’s a member of the Cincinnati Chapter of The Links Incorporated, The Woman’s City Club, a former Board member of The Urban League of Greater Southwest Ohio, member of the Women’s Alliance, volunteer at Jack & Jill. It’s nothing new. As far back as 2003, she was instrumental in getting the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center up and running. A former Board member who worked with Edna wrote,” no matter what project or chairmanship she is involved in, she does the job to perfection quietly and thoroughly.” One nominator wrote that Keown has not received many of public accolades, “not because she is not deserving of them, but because she simply goes about her helping in a very humble way.”

Bonnie Perrino – “If you want information about any event on the West Side, or need to know where to go to find help for a person requiring medical assistance, Perrino is your go-to person.” She has been central to the Harvest Home Fair, serving as the co-chairwoman from 2002-2004 and the fair chairwoman from 2005-2007. One nominator called her a tireless worker, especially for the Cheviot and Westwood communities. Through her efforts with the Kiwanis Club and the Westwood Civic Association, she has attempted to maintain and promote growth and neighborhood cohesiveness. “Perrino’s sunny disposition and positive attitude have inspired many others to join in these causes,” the nominator said.

Liza Smitherman – Smitherman is a successful Black female entrepreneur in the very male-dominated construction industry. One nominator said a significant way Smitherman impacts the community is using her family companies, Brewster Pumping and Jostin Construction to hire, train and support individuals who are or had been unemployed and/or under-skilled, allowing families and children in our region to work their way out of poverty. “Liza has an incredible gift for bringing people who differ greatly in viewpoints, backgrounds, perspectives, etc. together to build highly productive relationships,” her nominator said.“ Smitherman is vice chair of the Board of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She serves on the board of directors of the YWCA of Greater Cincinnati and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce and on the advisory boards of Represent and the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber Workforce Innovation Center.

Jen Stein – Stein has served in key leadership positions on many boards including the Contemporary Arts Center, the Cincinnati Ballet, the Seven Hills School, the Cincinnati Ballet Foundation and the Mayerson JCC. She is currently active on two community capital campaigns for the Freestore Foodbank and Artworks. Her nominator described Stein as a strategic and ethical leader, a brilliant thinker, and a compassionate citizen. “Some people are impeccable in their values that shine from their being and actions,” she said. “Jen is full of integrity, generosity, and wisdom.” Her nominator said Stein digs deep and quietly gets involved in the thorny, critical strategic issues facing organizations. She does a lot of work behind the scenes, avoiding the gala committees and more social aspects of philanthropy, and instead focuses her energy on the less popular strategy, fundraising, financial management, and professional leadership challenges which drive success.

Ellen van der Horst – Following a 22-year career at PNC Financial Services, van der Horst turned to community service, first as president and CEO of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber and then as a devoted board member of numerous arts organizations. She served as the first female board president at Cincinnati Opera and is the current board chair at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. At the Playhouse, she has served multiple board terms, chaired nearly every committee at the organization, and helped to lead a successful $50 million capital campaign to build a new theater facility, opening in March 2023. Her work was key when due to the pandemic, the Playhouse lost 70% of its revenue when productions had to be canceled. She tapped into her extensive business experience and also had the wisdom to filter it through the needs of a non-profit. By the end of the season, Playhouse found its way to a balanced budget and a viable artistic path forward. Her nominator said van der Horst “believes deeply in the ability of the arts to move us, challenge preconceptions, and bring people together.”

Source: news.google.com

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Hi there, I am Amanda and I work as an editor at impactinvesting.ai;  if you are interested in my services, please reach me at amanda.impactinvesting.ai