Nine Montgomery County Women to be Recognized as Women of Achievement

Nine Montgomery County Women will be honored for their notable contributions in various fields at the 2007 Women of Achievement Gala to be held on October 16 at The Hilton, 620 Perry Parkway, Gaithersburg. The evening begins with networking and a reception for the honorees at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 and concluding with the presentation of awards.

Hosted by the Montgomery County Business and Professional Women (MCBPW) and co-sponsored by the Montgomery County Commission for Women, the event also highlights National Business Women’s Week – October 15-19. The honorees were nominated by organizations in Montgomery County.

Three of this year’s Women of Achievement have connections to Montgomery County government:

Joan A. Deacon is the Senior Librarian at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF) and was nominated by the Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation and Montgomery County Public Libraries. She has been a librarian for more than 30 years but has spent the last 12 years literally working behind bars – first at the Montgomery County Detention Center and now at the County’s Correctional Facility in Clarksburg. In recognition for her work at the MCCF, Joan was selected as the 2007 National Civilian Employee of the Year by the American Jail Association (AJA). She oversees the 15,000+-piece collection of materials and the 15 computers that serve more than 700 inmates at the MCCF. She is a public advocate for the important roles that libraries play in correctional facilities, having recently authored a cover story in the AJA magazine. Her philosophy of service is: “The inmates may be locked up, but they should not be locked out from services that can help them return to the larger community in a healthy, productive manner.”

Deborah Horan, nominated by the Montgomery County Commission for Women, is the commission’s immediate past president and an advocate for at-risk and disadvantaged populations, with an emphasis on women and children. She has presented workshops and reviewed grants at the local, state and national levels and authored several articles addressing violence against women and violence prevention. As a consultant in this field, she has worked with leading national organizations such as the American Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She participated in a comprehensive review of one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning that resulted in changes to its sexual violence prevention and intervention policies. Currently, a practicing psychotherapist in Bethesda, she finds time to volunteer at a local elementary school, facilitating psycho-education groups.

Nancy Navarro, president of the Montgomery County Board of Education, was nominated by Montgomery County Business and Professional Women. In addition, she chairs the Board’s Communications and Public Engagement Committee and is a member of the Strategic Planning Committee. She is co-founder of Centro Familia, a community-based non-profit organization that assists the economic and educational development of Latino and other immigrant communities. For her accomplishments, she received the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County Leadership Award, the U.S. Hispanic Youth Entrepreneur & Education Foundation “Hispanic Hero” Award for Education, and the Maryland State Department of Education “Women Who Dare” Leadership Award. She has served in a number of volunteer roles, including co-chair of the Youth, Schools and Childcare Work Group of the Long Branch Revitalization Task Force, an organization that she also served as co-chair. Among other activities, she has been a bilingual classroom parent volunteer.

Other 2007 WOA recipients are:

Joy Austin-Lane, nominated by the Old Town Carroll Avenue Neighborhood Association, has 15 years of experience in health policy and behavioral research, including conducting research at the National Institutes of Health, teaching and writing. Next month, she will complete her third term on the Takoma Park City Council. For 12 years, she served as a volunteer Fire Fighter/EMT in the city and was instrumental in resolving a long-standing debate over the expansion of the local fire station. Her efforts have also been successful in connection with a vast array of civic issues — from Metro development, public safety and recreation to economic development, the environment and the arts, as well as City administration. During her tenure as a Councilmember, she earned a doctorate in Public Health. Her dissertation was on state budgeting for tobacco control following historic settlements with the tobacco industry. Her findings that were published in a peer-reviewed journal will be presented next month at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting.

Marilyn Bagel is a scriptwriter for national events and award shows who was nominated by Resa Levy, director of Development for the BSO at Strathmore. She has written for hosts and narrators such as David Hyde Pierce, Joan Cusack, Linda Ellerbee, James Earl Jones, Kathleen Turner, Willard Scott and Ed McMahon. Among the many programs she has scripted are the Women in Cable Telecommunications Awards, the National Alzheimer’s Association Gala, National Women of Color Technology Awards and the Black Engineer of the Year Awards. She has earned multiple Telly Awards for her work and is a playwright for Imagination Stage’s AccessAbility program that strives to create experiences in theatre arts to persons with disabilities so that the disability is not a barrier to active participation in arts or in life. Her screen play entitled “Imagine Working,” which was funded by the US Department of Education, creatively instructs persons with disabilities on finding work.

Marjorie W. Buckholtz was nominated by the Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF) and is known nationwide for conceiving and launching the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Brownfields Program which has altered the way in which urban properties are regulated and redeveloped. The Brownfields Program reduces blight, diminishes slums and protects greenfields from redevelopment by encouraging the “recycling” of old industrial sites. She is currently director of Special Projects at GETF, on loan from the EPA, where she has held a variety of senior level positions for nearly 25 years, including serving as National Brownfields Program Coordinator. Most recently, she headed the Office of Innovation, Partnerships and Communication in the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. Her efforts have resulted in recognition for the EPA, including the Innovations in Government Award from the Ford Foundation and the Kennedy School of Government, the renew America Excellence in Government Award and the Hammer Award from former Vice President Al Gore.

Irma Ramsey Cuellar, nominated by the National Council of Negro Women, retired 18 years ago from the field of education as a teacher, counselor, and administrator. Since then, she has been a political activist, leader, and all around service provider in her community. She chairs District 14 Precinct 05-08, where on Election Day — with 25 volunteer assistants – she got 87 percent of the registered voters to the polls. She works with several senior citizens groups to help them locate and understand various government programs that can meet many of their needs and continues her work with young people, as a mentor and tutor. She volunteers at a homeless shelter and at three live performance theaters. In addition, she finds time to serve as a lector and communion assistant at her church. Among her many community service awards are the Rita Morgan/Bruce Jerney Community Service Award she received this year which honors an activist who has devoted substantial time to community service in Montgomery County.

Vivian Kim is the Founder and the National Chair of the National Association of Professional Asian American Women (NAPAW) and the first Asian American Women elected as President of the Federally Employed Women, (FEW) Inc., Parklawn Chapter. She also served as the National Election Chair, FEW, the organization that nominated her for the award. She is a Procurement Analyst (Small Business Program Manager) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Office of the Secretary, Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).She is a former chair, Federal Asian Pacific American Council (FAPAC) and served a three-year term on the Montgomery County Commission on Aging. She has received numerous honors and awards from the federal and state governments and private organizations. She has taught English as a second language at the Catonsville Community College for Adult Education Program, and Korean at the United Korean School of Washington. In addition, she served as Principal of the McLean Korean School and has volunteered at Casey House, Montgomery County Hospice Foundation.

Suzi Pomerantz, nominated by Montgomery County Women Business Owners, is the CEO of Innovative Leadership International LLC and Vice President of International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations. She is a master executive coach, facilitator, and author with more than 15 years of coaching and teaching experience working with leaders and teams in over 125 organizations internationally. Included in those organizations were seven companies on the Fortune 100 list. Her strength lies in helping leaders and organizations find clarity within chaos. A coaching veteran in the legal industry, she has coached leaders in six corporate law departments and a dozen law firms. Other industry experience includes: consulting, financial services, manufacturing, hospitality, entrepreneurial enterprises, federal and state government, educational institutions, and MBA executive programs. She has authored 20 publications about coaching and business development, including her book Seal the Deal.

The 2007 honorees will also receive Certificates of Recognitions from Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congressman Chris Van Hollen.

For the past 79 years, Business and Professional Women/USA and the BPW Foundation have sponsored National Business Women’s Week — the third full week in October — as an opportunity for organizations and the business community to acknowledge the accomplishments of working women.

Reservations for the Woman of Achievement Gala — $60 per person — may be made by including name, address, phone number, and a check payable to MCBPW and sending to: Carol Vitarelli, 4615 North Park Avenue, #1719, Chevy Chase, MD 20815.

For more information, call Gala Chairman Pat Cornish at 301-466-8291 or email [email protected]



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