2020 Class of Outstanding Women Awards Honorees
ARTS & CULTURE: Valerie Cassel Oliver is the Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Prior to her position at the VMFA, she was Senior Curator at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston where worked from 2000 – 2017. She is currently developing the group exhibition, The Dirty South: Contemporary Art, Material Culture and the Sonic Impulse, scheduled to open at the VMFA April, 2021.
BUSINESS: Leigh Sewell serves as the President for Bon Secours’ Memorial Regional Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital and Memorial College of Nursing. Leigh has been with Bon Secours for almost 14 years and prior to her current role, Leigh served as senior vice president of strategic operations for Bon Secours Virginia.
EDUCATION: Abigail Rogers is the Executive Vice President & Chief Advancement Officer of the YMCA of Greater Richmond. Abby serves on the Out-of-School Alliance in partnership with Mayor Levar Stoney’s Office, Richmond Public Schools, local philanthropist and program providers addressing out-of-school time needs and resources.
HEALTH & SCIENCE: Wendy Klein, M.D. is the medical director of Health Brigade, the oldest free clinic in Virginia. She co-founded the VCU Women’s Health Center, the VCU Institute for Women’s Health, and was the founding president of the Women in Science, Dentistry & Medicine (WISDM) Organization. After retiring from VCU School of Medicine, she helped to build primary care programs at both the local and national levels for Planned Parenthood before becoming Medical Director of Health Brigade.
HUMAN RELATIONS & FAITH IN ACTION: Rev. Lacette Cross is the pastor of Restoration Fellowship RVA, co-founder of Us Giving Richmond Connections (UGRC)/Black Pride RVA and business owner of Will You Be Whole. Lacette is a former Community Trustbuilding Fellow and is an Equity+Health Fellow for Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. She is currently a doctor of ministry student at the School of Theology at Virginia Union University. She is a community faith leader and activist.
LAW & GOVERNMENT: Suzette Denslow is the first woman to be elected as Clerk of the Virginia House of Delegates. She was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Governors Ralph S. Northam and Terence R. McAuliffe. Prior to this position, she served as Chief of Staff to Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones. She is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and adjunct faculty member teaching public budget and finance, state and local government, and a variety of public administration and policy graduate courses at Virginia Tech.
MARKETING & MEDIA: Kelli Lemon has created a name for herself in Richmond as a self-proclaimed “social entrepreneur.” Her passion to create opportunities for people to interact through food, sports, education, or the arts energizes and drives her. Kelli owns Urban Hang Suite, a collective coffee shop and has been a driving force in initiating the BlkRVA tourism experience, highlighting and celebrating black culture in Richmond.
NONPROFIT LEADERSHIP: Myra Goodman Smith is the President and CEO of Leadership Metro Richmond since 2010. Myra has a diverse range of nonprofit management and leadership experience. She served as Vice President for community programs, planning, campaigns and operations for United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg for 23 years prior to joining Leadership Metro Richmond.
VOLUNTEERISM: Laura Lee Chandler has an extensive background in community involvement and leadership. Laura Lee has devoted her time to serving others, with a focus on children’s education and women in need. She is currently the chair-elect of Virginia Repertory Theatre Board of Directors and is president of the Chapel Guild at the University of Richmond and is a member of Maymont’s Council.