YWCA names 8 Career Women of Achievement

Wednesday, May 11, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Duke Energy Convention Center

Eight Cincinnati-area women who have contributed greatly to entrepreneurship, the private sector and the public sector are winners of this year’s YWCA Greater Cincinnati’s Career Women of Achievement award.

They will be honored at the YWCA Career Women of Achievement Luncheon, the YWCA’s single largest fundraiser. Proceeds from the event, which attracts more than 2,000 attendees, go to the organization’s community programs.

The honorees are:

Claudia M. Abercrumbie, president and CEO, The Abercrumbie Group. From a background in ethnic marketing at Procter & Gamble, convention management at Ethicon Endo-Surgery and fund development at the University of Cincinnati Foundation, Abercrumbie branched out full time in 2005 with her own event-management company. Her signature events include Men of Honor, A Salute to African American Men in Cincinnati and now in Indianapolis; All About Women; A Celebration of Black Music; the OH-KY Construction Summit; the Cintas Business Retreat; and the South Central Ohio Healthcare Supplier Diversity Symposium.

Karen Bowman, principal and sector leader, Deloitte Consulting. Her career firsts include first general counsel and first woman on the executive team at MATRIXX Marketing and first female  senior vice president at Convergys. At Deloitte, she holds leadership positions in all three of the firm’s execution groups and is a member of its board of directors. She is a member of the United Way Women’s Leadership Council and the Cincinnati Women’s Executive Forum; serves as board chair for Cincinnati Arts and Technology Center; and is Circle of Red chair and a member of the Executive Committee at the American Heart Association.

Christi H. Cornette, senior vice president of marketing, Cincinnati Bell. Praised for her consensus-building skills, Cornette is credited with moving Cincinnati Bell Technology Solutions from an early-stage data center and technology services company to its current status as a technology powerhouse that provides customized solutions to enterprise customers. Cornette serves on the board of CancerFree Kids, is a member of the  Cincinnati Bell/CBTS Charitable Giving Committee and a facilitator for corporate charity programs for the Technology Pavilion at Great American Ballpark. She is a co-leader with the Cincinnati Bell Women’s Network and an Advisory Council member for Juniper Networks, a network innovation company.

Laura Mitchell, deputy superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools. Mitchell successfully led an initiative that helped 13 of the district’s 16 lowest-performing elementary schools boost performance by 80 percent. She helped develop Vision i5, CPS’ “uncommon approach to the Common Core and state standards,” and also leads the district’s My Tomorrow Initiative, which empowers students to turn their dreams and strengths into concrete plans. She co-facilitated a $20 million General Electric grant for math and science education and founded the Ascend Performance Institute supporting the use of e-books. She is a member of the Economic Center board, a former member of the American Heart Association board and a member of the Greenlight Fund Advisory Selection Committee.

Dr. Lakshmi Kode Sammarco, Hamilton County coroner. Among her “firsts” are first female coroner in the county, first radiologist elected coroner in Ohio and first Asian-Indian elected to Hamilton County office. Sammarco is credited with improving the facilities, technology, laboratory and reputation of the coroner’s office. She is a member of the admissions committee, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; advisory committees, U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and the Indian American Chamber of Commerce; and Hamilton County Heroin Coalition-Heroin Task Force. She serves on the boards of Boys Hope Girls Hope and the Council on Child Abuse. She initiated the Coroner’s Masquerade Ball, which raises funds for nonprofit groups supporting youth programs and prevention of abuse and crime.

Sandy Berlin Walker, president/CEO, YMCA of Greater Cincinnati. The first woman in 163 years to head the local YMCA, Walker expanded its reach to 80 school and program sites. The Y’s CincyAfterSchool program, providing child-care and educational services to 5,000 students yearly, has been a national models. Through the Y’s partnership with Medicare, Cincinnati is one of 19 sites for the Y-USA Diabetes Prevention Program. Walker recently chaired the YMCA’s North American Network and is past chair of the Y-USA Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee. She is chair of the Leadership Cincinnati Alumni Association; a member of the Cincinnati Chamber Leadership Advisory Committee; and a member of the Steering Committee for Cincinnati Preschool Promise. She led the $4.7 million capital campaign and renovation of YMCA Camp Ernst in 2014.

Moira Weir, director, Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services. During harsh budget cuts, Weir transformed the department into an award-winning $2.1 billion agency viewed as a state and national model for evidenced-based interventions and partnerships. Her 2015 Friends and Advocates Making Investments in Local Youth Fund has raised more than $50,000 for the special needs of foster children and others served by the agency. She serves on the Ohio Supreme Court Advisory Committee and is a board member of the Hamilton County Community Action Agency and the Cincinnati Tennis Club

Susan B. Zaunbrecher, partner, Dinsmore & Shohl. She is the first woman in the firm’s 108-year-history to serve as chair of the Corporate Department, overseeing nearly 200 legal professionals in six states and Washington, D.C. She also chairs the Business, Acquisitions and Securities Practice Group. She is known for her mentorship of other female attorneys and her legal acumen in financial transactions, mergers and acquisitions. She is a member of the executive committees of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the University of Cincinnati Economics Center and serves on the Corporate Committee of the Cincinnati Museum of Art.

Judges for the awards were 2006 honoree Donna Jones Baker, president and CEO of the Urban League of Cincinnati; Phil Castellini, CEO of the Cincinnati Reds; 2013 honoree Alandes Eure-Powell, senior vice president at Citi; 2011 honoree Lee Ann Liska; and Sean Rugless, president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Luncheon co-chairs are Dr. Monica Newby, president/owner of Newby Orthodontics, and Teresa J. Tanner, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Fifth Third Bank. Both were  2011 honorees.

Tickets are $75.
241-7090, ywcacincinnati.org

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