YWCA Greater Cincinnati Career Women of Achievement 2017

Robin Givens, keynote speaker

Robin Givens, keynote speaker for the 2017 YWCA Greater Cincinnati Career Women of Achievement Luncheon

Wednesday, May 10, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Duke Energy Convention Center

Eight women have been selected as YWCA Greater Cincinnati Career Women of Achievement for their leadership, vision, community contributions and professional success.

Honorees are:

  • Patty Brisben, founder and chair, Pure Romance, and founder of the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health.
  • Sister Sally Duffy, SC, president and executive director, SC Ministry Foundation.
  • Dr. Margaret Kendrick Hostetter, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and director of Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation.
  • Lisa Knutson, senior vice president and chief administrative officer, The E.W Scripps Co.
  • Sonia Jackson Myles, founder and CEO, The Sister Accord.
  • Julia W. Poston, office managing partner, Ernst & Young.
  • Shantel Thomas, Ph.D., founder and CEO, A Sound Mind Counseling Service.
  • Chiquita V. White, associate director, Hair Care Research & Development, The Procter & Gamble Co.

They will be honored at the 38th YWCA Career Women of Achievement Luncheon, which is the organization’s largest annual fundraiser and is expected to draw more than 2,100 attendees.

The 2017 recipients were announced by event co-chairs Mary Miller, a 2013 honoree, and Liza D. Smitherman, a 2015 honoree.

Robin Givens, television, film and stage actress, as well as long-time advocate for those facing the challenges of domestic violence, will be the keynote speaker.

Proceeds from the luncheon help support YWCA programs such as domestic violence shelters, youth services, racial justice programming, job training and literacy education.

Luncheon tickets are $85. www.ywcacincinnati.org or 241-7090

More on the YWCA’s 2017 Career Women honorees

Patty Brisben

Patty Brisben

Patty Brisben, founder and chair, Pure Romance.

With four children to feed, Brisben launched her business, Pure Romance, out of her basement 24 years ago. In 2016, Pure Romance generated $200 million in annual sales as the second-largest female-owned business in Cincinnati. The company is the world’s largest direct seller of relationship-enhancing products, with 30,000 consultants representing the products.

In 2006, Brisben founded the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health. It collaborates with universities and research organizations to study sexual dysfunction and disorders. The foundation has raised $3.5 million. Brisben is actively involved in fundraising and annual grant selection.

She has been a guest lecturer at Yale University, The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, Purdue University and Indiana University.

Community involvement: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park board member;  adopter of a class at William Howard Taft Elementary School, Mt. Auburn.

Sister Sally Duffy, SC

Sister Sally Duffy, SC

Sister Sally Duffy, SC, president and executive director, SC Ministry Foundation.

Sister Sally landed in the Queen City 15 years ago after positions as president and CEO of a regional medical center; a university campus minister; a high school coach and athletic director;  and vice president of student affairs and dean of students at a college.

Her extensive professional experience combines with a bachelor’s degree in political science, master’s in education, a degree in guidance and counseling, an M.PA in healthcare and a master of divinity.

As president of SC Ministry Foundation, she is an advocate for the revitalization of the Price Hill area, working with agencies such as Price Hill Will, Santa Maria Community Services, Seton High School, Legal Aid Society and Local Initiatives Support Coalition.

Community involvement: Tri-Health board member; founding board member and current chair of Price Hill Will; co-chair of the Immigration Action Team, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber; co-chair of the Cincinnati Child Poverty Collaborative; member of Partners for a Competitive Workforce Council; board member of the U.S. Catholic Sisters Against Human Trafficking; board member of Catholic Legal Immigration Network; Xavier Center for Catholic Education advisory board; board member at Seton High School.

Dr. Margaret Kendrick Hostetter

Dr. Margaret Kendrick Hostetter

Dr. Margaret “Peggy” Kendrick Hostetter, chair of Department of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine; director of Cincinnati Children’s Research Foundation.

Dr. Hostetter is responsible for the professional activities of a large portion of Cincinnati Children’s 15,000 employees, including the clinical and research faculty in the Department of Pediatrics and those pediatric residents and fellows who deliver care to patients. She has supervisory responsibility for the directors of 42 academic divisions within the Department of Pediatrics as well as for the leaders of specially funded programs.

Dr. Hostetter was first in her class, both in college and medical school. She came to Cincinnati from Yale University, where she was chief of immunology and director of the Yale Child Research Center. She was the first female chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Physician-In-Chief of the Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital.

She holds six patents for inventions related to infectious diseases, including an antibody that prevents life-threatening infections in patients using central venous catheters.

Community involvement: president of the American Pediatric Society (2015-2016); 2014 Founder’s Award, Midwest Society for Pediatric Research; 2010 Mentor of the Year Award, Eastern Society for Pediatric Research.

Lisa Knutson

Lisa Knutson

Lisa Knutson, senior vice president, chief administrative officer, The E.W Scripps Co.

Knutson is the highest-ranking female executive in Scripps’ 140-year history. She helped create two corporate structures when Scripps spun off cable networks HGTV and The Food Network, creating Scripps Networks Interactive.

Four years later, Knutson led the planning and transition when Scripps purchased nine television stations from McGraw-Hill, adding more than 480 employees.

Knutson led the transition teams when Scripps completed the U.S. business community’s first double-spin double-merge business transaction. The company spun off Scripps newspapers, joining them with those of another company and merging that company’s 14 television stations into a new E.W. Scripps Co.

Community involvement: board and executive committee member, Cincinnati USA  Regional Chamber; board member and former chair, Family Nurturing Center; board member and Grants Committee chair, Bethesda Inc.; board member, Camp Joy; board member, Talbert House; trustee, Scripps Howard Foundation.

Sonia Jackson Myles

Sonia Jackson Myles

Sonia Jackson Myles, founder and CEO, The Sister Accord.

She has taken her company’s mission of female empowerment and leadership development global. She developed her reputation as an innovator and trailblazer at Ford Motor Co., where she initiated programs for women to support one another in the workplace. As Powertrain Purchasing Manager she was responsible for a $4.3 billion budget. Her expertise in supplier relationships, diversity, inclusion training and supplier development led her to an even larger role at The Gillette Co. After it was acquired by Procter & Gamble, she was named director of  Global Media Purchases and later director of Global Packaging Purchasing, overseeing a $6 billion budget.

Before leaving P&G, she created the Sister Accord Foundation with the goals of educating girls and women, enlightening them about the power of sisterhood, and eradicating bullying and violence against girls and women. The Sister A.C.C.O.R.D. Leadership Development Program is now part of the Cincinnati Public School System.

In 2012, she released a book, “The Sister Accord: 51 Ways to Love Your Sister,” which was (nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the debut author category. An e-book, “7 Essential Steps to Bringing Your Dreams to Life,” came out  in 2016.

Community activities: Sister Accord Foundation CEO and treasurer; Impact Young Lives Foundation board; Fresh Start Beverage Co. board; Florida A&M School of Business and Industry Advisory Board chair; Disney Dreamers Academy speaker advisory board.

Julia Poston

Julia Poston

Julia W. Poston, office managing partner, EY.

She was the first female partner in the Ernst & Young Cincinnati office, the first female managing partner of a Big Four accounting firm in Cincinnati and the first female assurance leader in the EY Central Region.

Community activities: board chair, United Way of Greater Cincinnati;  board chair,

Cincinnati Regional Business Committee; board co-chair, American Heart Association executive leadership team; ArtsWave Women’s Leadership Circle; Cincinnati Museum Center board; Cincinnati Child Poverty Collaborative steering committee; Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber board and 2015 chair; Cincinnati Women’s Executive Forum president/chair; founder, Cintrifuse board; REDI Cincinnati board.

Shantel Thomas, Ph.D

Shantel Thomas, Ph.D

Shantel Thomas, Ph.D., founder and CEO, A Sound Mind Counseling Service.

Dr. Thomas runs the largest group practice in Cincinnati that is owned by a female African-American. It began as a one-person office in 2000 and has grown to a practice with 11 mental health professionals in two locations that have served 20,000 clients. Thomas seeks therapists who can speak Spanish, know sign language and possess expertise in trauma and addiction.

Community activities: supervises students from Xavier, UC, Lindsey Wilson and the Union Institute; began a church sign language ministry; launched counseling components at churches and speaks to area churches about mental health issues; runs pro bono groups for women whose husbands have had affairs and another for the healing of women post-abortion.

Chiquita White

Chiquita White

Chiquita V. White, associate director, Hair Care Research & Development, The Procter & Gamble Co.

White is an authority on hair care innovation, especially for women of color. She leads a research and development team that consistently grows the P&G market share in the global hair care business. White seeks opportunities to encourage women to pursue STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) careers and recruits women for STEM positions at P&G. A Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, she views her greatest achievement as recruiting and helping to develop young engineers and scientists at P&G.

Community activities: Executive Committee, United Way Women of Tocqueville Society; charter and life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Phi Psi Omega; designed, developed and presented the AKA monthly STEM camp for high school students; board liaison, National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering; served on the MIT board and as president of both the MIT Alumni Association and the Black Alumni of MIT; received the Bronze Beaver Award, MIT’s highest alumni achievement honor; Queen City Chapter of The Links Inc.

2 to receive scholarships

Two other awards will be presented at the YWCA luncheon:

RahShawn Hill

RahShawn Hill

The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Scholarship Award, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee, to RahShawn Hill, a single mother of six who arrived at the YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter in December. She is a full-time student who will earn her LPN degree this year and also works full time as a CNA at Rosedale Green in Covington. “The will to succeed outweighs the long hours of studying every day and night,” she said. Her goal is to become an RN and through that, an inspiring role model for her children.


Malika Muhammad

Malika Muhammad

The Mamie Earl Sells Scholarship, presented by The Kroger Co., to Malika Muhammad, a senior at Fairfield High School. On the honor roll since 2013, Malika has sickle cell anemia. Though the disease has caused her to miss significant class time, she has not let her illness affect her grades, part-time job or community service. A talented graphic designer, she plans to attend college and receive a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a minor in marketing so she can join a design firm and eventually become an art director.

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