Women of Achievement Awards

2010 Award Winners

theme – philanthropic women ~ women who have shown kindness, charitable concern, and generosity toward other people in an effort to impact their community

YWCA Northern Rhode Island appreciates the underwriters and attendees celebrating the following Women of Achievement: Mia Ackerman, Stephanie L. Federico, Barbara Fields, Amanda Marie Hannon, Therese-Tsetse Lavallee, Ardena Lee-Fleming, Kim Michalik, Maria Montanaro, Jennifer Stanley, Kimberly D. Trusty, Vinnie Velazquez, and Mary Zahm.

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POLITICAL PARTICIPANT: Mia Ackerman serves Cumberland as a member of its Council. She is on the board of directors for the Historic Metcalf Franklin Farm Preservation Association, a senior advocate for the Town of Cumberland, and the liaison to the Cumberland Youth Commission. Her business, Ackerman Title Services, also sponsors a girls’ team in the Cumberland Youth Soccer Association. “I have a real can do attitude and believe if it is worthwhile or needs to get done, then do it.” PUBLIC SERVICE PARTICIPANT: Stephanie Federico is chief of staff for the Providence Public School Department. She is on the advisory board for City Year Rhode Island and Youth Build. She is a member of the Rhode Island and Massachusetts Bar. She volunteers as a trial team coach at Tiverton High School and participates with many other community projects and committees. “The concept of servant leadership has helped guide my commitment to making Providence a safer place to live and work. It has also been a foundation for many of the education initiatives that I have worked to implement, which ultimately serve to nurture and guide our most precious of assets – our children.”
LEADER FOR COMMUNITY BUILDING: Barbara Fields is executive director for Rhode Island Local Initiatives Support Corporation working on inner city and rural revitalization efforts. She is chairwoman for the Attorney General’s Advisory Commission on Lead Paint, vice chairwoman of the Board of Commissioners for Providence Housing Authority, board member for HousingWorksRI, chairwoman for Creative Providence, advisory committee member for Grow Smart RI, and a board of director for the Jewish Community Day School. “What inspires my work . . . the Jewish philosophy of tikkun olam (repair of the world) – our responsibility to make the world a better place and work for social justice.” ADVOCATE FOR A CAUSE: Amanda Hannon is director and founder of Stop Bullying Now! RI educating students and adults about the affects of bullying, how to stop it from occurring, and ways to prevent future bullying. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society as vice president of leadership and active on the fundraising committee. She also reigned as Miss Teen Rhode Island International 2009. “I want to do anything possible to eliminate bullying from happening.”
COMMUNITY CONNECTOR: Therese Lavallee is executive director and founder of The TSETSE Gallery, with a mission of “Building Community Through Art”. The Gallery is committed to providing a culturally artistic space for all ages, cultures, and abilities with the expectation to further the community’s understanding and appreciation of all its members. “I am clearly committed to my purpose of using art as a tool to educate our youth and community regarding societal issues.” MENTOR FOR YOUNG WOMEN: Ardena Lee-Fleming is regional director of the Johnson & Wales University – RI Small Business Development Center. She is vice president of the membership committee of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women – RI Chapter. She is a mentor for LEAD, an after school program for African-American females in grades 6 through 12. She is on the advisory committee for RI Mentoring Partnership and participates with many other community organizations. “I am always willing to serve as agent for positive change, especially for women and girls in Rhode Island.”
DEDICATED VOLUNTEER: Kim Michalik is president of Pease & Curren. With the Girl Scouts for fourteen years, her other community involvement has included Big Sisters, assisting with sports programs, and serving as a school committee member. Whether at work or in her volunteer positions, she leads through coaching. “If everyone gave of a little of their time, our society would be a much better place.” BUSINESS WOMAN FOR HEALTH: Maria Montanaro is president of Thundermist Health Center. Her appointments include serving as chairwoman of Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, a board of trustee for RI Public Expenditure Council, a board of director for RI Community Health Center Association, a board of directors for Shoulder to Shoulder International. She is on the National Advisory Board for The Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care. She is also active on many other community committees relating to health. “I have been most honored . . . when change is needed in the health care arena, especially for the poor and disenfranchised, people have called Thundermist.”
CHAMPION FOR WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT: Jennifer Stanley is director of Residence Life and director of the Women’s Center at Roger Williams University. She is on the National Board of Directors for the Silent Witness Initiative and assists the Rhode Island Crisis Assistance Center. She promotes the Rhode Island Clothesline Project and is a team leader for the Rhode Island Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk. She organizes fundraisers for events such as the Take Back the Night March. She is active with many other university committees, professional associations, and community projects. She also organizes events related to global women’s issues. “We need to believe that every one of us has an invaluable contribution to the world and we need to encourage ourselves and those around us to shine.” EDUCATOR FOR THE ARTS: Kim Trusty is a composer and founder of the Kim Trusty Band. She is a music instructor at Highlander Charter School for students in kindergarten through fourth grade. She serves on the arts education steering committee for the Trinity Academy for Performing Arts, a charter school for middle and high school students. She works with Ocean State Learning, a summer camp to expose youth to jazz music. She also volunteers at Powerhouse Church and Community Choir. “As an advocate for arts education, I want to make sure there is a pathway for women and people of any economic status or ethnicity to hear a resounding voice.”
PROMOTER OF HUMAN SERVICES: Vinnie Velazquez is program director at MAP Alcohol & Drug Rehab and navegante coordinator at Clinica Esperanza. She is founder of Latinos Organizing Leadership Against AIDS and serves on the Rhode Island Department of Health Minority Health Advisory Committee. The focus of her work is on addiction, HIV, and overall preventive health with high-risk minority populations. “Every time I think about the people who have passed from this life as well as those that are struggling for survival, I’m inspired to dig deep inside of me to continue my life’s work.” EDUCATOR FOR CIVIC ENGAGEMENT: Mary Zahm is professor of psychology and director of civic engagement at Bristol Community College and adjunct instructor at University of Rhode Island. She is an author and presenter on topics including Teaching Gender and Multicultural Awareness, Moving Feminist Principles Out of the Classroom and Encouraging Social Activism and Civic Engagement and Leadership, and Improving Student Learning through Service. She is a co-coordinator of a local chapter of the Association for Women in Psychology and has co-coordinated three national conferences held in Rhode Island. Her advice for others, “Empower girls and women by overcoming challenges to pursue your passions and, thereby, inspiring others to do the same by your example.”