We were thrilled to honor the following Outstanding Women at this year’s 37th Annual OWA luncheon, on April 28, 2017 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.
Want to join us in celebrating these outstanding women?
ARTS – Lynnelle Ediger-Kordzaia
- Lynnelle is being honored with an Outstanding Women Award for engaging underserved youth, the elderly, individuals with illness, youth with disabilities and individuals with limited access to art in innovative programming that inspires and transforms the Richmond region.
- Lynnelle is the founder and director of numerous arts organizations including The HARPS Foundation/ American Youth Harp Ensemble, the largest harp program in the nation with performance ensembles and outreach programming.
- Her ensembles have performed 22 national and international tours with feature concerts in Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center and the White House.
- She has piloted and established several tuition-free music outreach programs to promote social justice, creating new opportunities for young people in underserved communities to learn an instrument and master skills that will help them succeed in music and life.
- She is responsible for bringing complementary music and music therapy to healthcare institutions, children’s hospitals, hospice care and senior centers, and has established a peer mentorship program for ensemble students.
- Accolades: Outstanding Arts Educator of the Year, awarded by American Alliance of Performing Arts Educators at the Kennedy Center; 2016 Outstanding String Teacher Award for the State of Virginia; Top Forty Under Forty awards from Style Weekly and Inside Business; quarter-finalist for the 2017 Grammy’s Music Educator Award
BUSINESS – Aurelia Lewis
- Aurelia is being honored with an Outstanding Women Award for empowering women in the workplace as a senior leader in marketing and media, and for her involvement in raising awareness and capacity for several environmental and nonprofit initiatives.
- She is the founder and president of Lewis Media Partners, a media agency serving national and regional clients including the National Basketball Association (NBA), Hamilton Beach and Dominion Energy, among others.
- Aurelia’s agency was the first in Virginia to have a completely in-house digital team that was recently selected by Google to be part of its exclusive Brand Council. Lewis Media Partners was one of only a few agencies on the East Coast that received this recognition.
- Aurelia’s volunteer activities have generated nearly $200,000 in donations for The Salvation Army and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Richmond.
- She has developed and led innovative volunteer initiatives that are making lasting improvements to the City of Richmond’s natural environment through programs like the “Bag of Fresh Air” campaign to raise awareness for the environmental hazards of plastic shopping bags.
- Aurelia co-founded Capital Trees, a non- profit organization which improves Richmond’s natural beauty and provide greater public access to the city’s public spaces on behalf of Richmond’s neediest citizens.
EDUCATION – Julie McConnell
- Julie is being honored with an Outstanding Women Award for extending pro bono representation for immigrant children and incarcerated youth through her leadership of The Children’s Defense Clinic at University of Richmond, juvenile justice reform efforts and work to educate law professionals.
- As a clinical law professor at the University of Richmond School of Law she teaches young law professionals how to handling complex cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse and elder abuse affecting vulnerable, but resilient populations.
- Julie is a Director of the Children’s Defense Clinic. Through the clinic, she teaches law students to best represent children and families facing extreme poverty with delinquency cases and special immigrant juvenile status hearings.
- Julie is a highly sought after speaker on best practices in juvenile representation, trauma-informed practice, elder abuse, the impact of child abuse and sexual abuse on children, and clinical education.
- Governor McAuliffe recently appointed McConnell to serve a four-year term on the Advisory Committee on Juvenile Justice and the Virginia Bar Association just appointed her to serve on the Commission on the Needs of Children.
- Julie serves as a Certified National Trainer for the Juvenile Training Immersion Program (JTIP), the Richmond Trauma Informed Care Network and the Oliver Hill Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court’s Juvenile Justice Collaborative, amongst others.
- Accolades: In 2011, Julie received the Oliver Hill Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court’s “Unsung Hero” Award.
HUMAN RELATIONS & FAITH IN ACTION – Cassandra Reynolds
- Cassandra (Sandy) is being honored with an Outstanding Women Award for her devotion to connecting thousands of low-income individuals in with legal assistance through Hunton & Williams’ Church Hill Office and the resource partnerships she’s built and fostered. As a volunteer, she empowers at-risk youth and young girls as a mentor and tutor, and has inspired her coworkers to get involved in Richmond.
- Sandy is thesenior legal administrative coordinator at Hunton Williams & manager of Hunton Williams Church Hill Pro Bono Legal Clinic.
- She is the boar chair of SupportOne, a network for adults with intellectual disabilities, and has served in leadership positions on the board of Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity.
- Sandy has mentored six girls (grades 5-8) through the Higher Achievement program and she tutors women through The READ Center. Today she is assisting one woman through the National External Diploma Program to obtain her high school equivalency diploma.
- She is an avid softball player. Sandy also coaches and manages a competitive softball team that includes a number of Hunton & Williams employees. She also remains active with her church in her hometown of Berryville, commuting back regularly to the Shenandoah Valley town.
LAW & GOVERNMENT – Heather Mullins Crislip
- Heather is being honored with an Outstanding Women Award for her tireless commitment to ending systemic discrimination and segregation throughout Richmond and the commonwealth through fair housing enforcement, education and advocacy.
- Heather is currently president and chief executive officer of Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia (HOME), a statewide fair housing and housing counseling agency. She also serves on Board of Directors for Housing Virginia, a statewide partnership to promote access to high quality, affordable housing in suitable locations.
- She works to advance social justice by protecting marginalized populations under fair housing law and by create housing and economic opportunities for low-income individuals and families.
- Heather is a gubernatorial appointee to the Board of Visitors at the University of Mary Washington, where she serves as Secretary of the Board and Chair of the Academic and Student Affairs Committee.
- Accolades: Heather has been recently been named The Community Foundation of Greater Richmond (2016) Stettinius Award for Nonprofit Leadership. She received a Virginia Housing Alliance (2016) Game Changer Award and was a finalist for the Richmond Times-Dispatch “Richmonder of the Year” in 2015.
MARKETING & MEDIA – Clovia Lawrence, community outreach director, Radio One
- Clovia is being honored with an Outstanding Women Award for using her broadcast talents and advocacy to promote civic engagement in the Richmond region and help thousands of ex-offenders with restoration of rights.
- She has been in radio and broadcast media for 30 years in the Richmond region, spending the last 17 years with Radio One.
- Clovia was instrumental in starting Radio One! Rolling for Freedom, an organization that has assisted more than 8,000 individuals with submitting applications and petitions for the restoration of rights. She also developed the Radio One Send-a-Kid to Camp Radio-thon, which has raised more than $80,000 to provide opportunities for safe, engaging summer programs to inner-city children.
- Clovia was appointed to Mayor Dwight C. Jones’ Anti-Poverty Commission and was appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell to serve on the Supply and Diversity Council and received a proclamation for her annual Cancer Survivors Day Gala by Mayor Jones
- Accolades include: three Virginia Association of Broadcasters Awards, Valentine Museum Richmond History Makers Award for Innovative Justice in 2014; Legends in the Community Urban League of Greater Richmond; Best Human Interest Series by Doug Wilder and more.
NONPROFIT MANAGEMENT – Jane Helfrich
- Jane is being honored with an Outstanding Women Award for more than thirty years of excellence in Richmond area nonprofit leadership. Under her leadership, she has engaged women in volunteerism and built a stronger community by creating affordable housing opportunities for families in Richmond.
- She is the chief executive officer of Richmond Metropolitan Habitat for Humanity. Prior to that, she served as the vice president of resource development and marketing for the Better Housing Coalition, and she was the Executive Director of the Junior League of Richmond for nine years.
- During three years of her leadership in the Junior League of Richmond (JLR), the Family Resource Program at Sacred Heart Center (SHC) was developed and funded to offer adult GED education, parenting support and daycare to low income families in the Bainbridge and Blackwell communities
- Accolades: She has been honored by both VAFP (2006) and JLR (2014). Jane was named to the inaugural classes of the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program and Capital One’s nonprofit leadership program.
VOLUNTEERISM – Talley Baratka
- Talley is being honored with an Outstanding Women Award for her grassroots community building as a volunteer, specifically in encouraging women to collaborate to transform the Richmond region.
- Talley founded and currently leads Impact 100 Richmond, a grassroots donor-education and grant-making organization. Each year the giving circle of women create $100,000 grants and collectively selects visionary nonprofits to invest in for community benefit.
- Currently in its eighth year, Impact 100 Richmond (a partner of The Community Foundation) has invested more than 1 million dollars in Richmond. Talley currently serves on the executive committee.
- Talley has held numerous community volunteer positions including serving on program and pro bono committees, advisory groups, and nonprofit boards.
- She was invited by TEDxWomen Richmond to share her story in 2013. Since 2012, Talley has served as a Senior Consultant for Rhudy & Co., where she focuses on strategic planning, organizational culture and more with Fortune 500 companies and top-tier nonprofits.
- Talley held multiple roles, prior to 2012, within Capital One’s Community Relations team at the national, state and local level. In her most recent role at Capital One she led the Community Relations team that provided philanthropic investments and volunteer programs on behalf of the 10,000+ associates in Richmond.
- Accolades: NAWBO recognized Talley in 2014 with its Enterprising Woman of Excellence Community Leader award.