Justice Melody Stewart, the first African-American woman to be elected to the Ohio Supreme Court, will deliver the keynote remarks at the 27th annual Woman of Achievement awards. The program is sponsored by the Lakeland Community College Women’s Center and takes place Sunday, March 24, 2 p.m. in the Dr. Wayne L. Rodehorst Performing Arts Center on campus. This event is free and open to the public.
Nine local women will be honored for the way their lives exemplify the theme, “A Tapestry of Compassion.” The award recipients are:
Lori Cazsatt, communications and development manager at the Willoughby Eastlake Public Library, has a life mission of sharing compassion and resources while traveling the globe.
Rikke Coach of the Deepwood Foundation has been a pioneer in the human services field and an advocate for diverse and vulnerable populations, especially individuals with disabilities.
Meredith Everett is the founder of the Lake County chapter of End 68 Hours of Hunger, which provides meals for low income children over the weekend, when food may not be available at home.
Marsita Ferguson is the adviser of the NAACP Youth Council whose mission is to create equity for minority youth from marginalized communities.
Ka-Pi Hoh of Lubrizol is a mentor and supporter of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) where women continue to be severely underrepresented.
Cathy Norman, a librarian at the Fairport Harbor Public Library, has created a rapport with students and made the library a safe space for all, no matter their age, gender, orientation or social group.
Neha Soni-Patel of the Cleveland Clinic, traveled as a cardiac sonographer to India with a team which brought life-saving technology to underserved areas.
Cindy Skrabski, retired Cleveland Clinic physical therapist, is a mentor and friend to refugee women from Afghanistan.
Vanessa Tey Iosue, president of Burges & Burges Strategists, works to ensure that public entities, social service agencies and mental health providers are able to serve people from diverse backgrounds and all walks of life.
Lakeland’s Women’s Center commissions a local female artist to create a piece of art that serves as the award for each recipient. This year, Shawn Petite, a mixed media artist of A Journal of Art and Inspiration in North Ridgeville, has combined vintage pages and pictures of woven textiles with words from each nomination letter to create nine personalized prints on wooden panels.
The reception, which follows the ceremony, is co-sponsored by the Gallery at Lakeland which currently features the exhibit, “From WOMAN XII… Created by women, of women and about women,” in honor of Women’s History Month. Many of the artists whose work is on display will be present.
The Woman of Achievement award program is presented as part of the 2019 Diversity Matters series. The Lakeland Women’s Center Diversity Matters series is a part of the center’s ongoing mission to explore and promote diversity, validating and celebrating the stories of women and members of the community. The series has included recent events and guests such as Romona Robinson, Silent Witness, Tuskegee Airman Harold Brown, International Women’s Day, and a variety of other speakers, movies and discussions.