Left to Right: Sara Busse, Daven Burroughs, Mary Jean Davis, Denise Burgess

Women of Achievement

Congratulations to our 2016 Honorees!


On Friday, March 4, 2016, from noon-1:30 p.m., the 20th annual YWCA Women of Achievement Awards luncheon took place at Embassy Suites in downtown Charleston, WV with a sold-out crowd of 500 attendees. This year’s YWCA honorees were Denise Burgess; BrickStreet Empowerment Award winner, Daven Burroughs; Sara Busse and Mary Jean Davis.

Denise Burgess

A lifelong resident of Charleston, Denise Burgess is a registered nurse and a marriage and family counselor. She was a charter member of the board of directors for the Rea of Hope House; a member of the CAMC Domestic Violence Coalition, partnering with the WV Domestic Violence Coalition; a coach in the South Charleston and Catholic youth basketball programs; an educator in children and adult programs at Blessed Sacrament Church and Camp Tygart; a volunteer for Girls on the Run; and for the past eight years she has led the CAMC Drug Addicted Mom and Baby (DAMB) task force.

Denise has a master of arts degree in counseling from Marshall University, a bachelor of science in nursing from WVU, and a Bachelor of Arts from WVSU. She has been married to her husband Mike for 34 years. The Burgesses have two sons: Dr. Aaron Burgess, who is married to Dr. Courtney Burgess and lives in Orlando, Fla., and Drew Burgess, a fourth year medical student at WVU School of Medicine.

Daven Burroughs

Daven Burroughs is originally from Chicago, Illinois and moved to Newport News, Virginia in 1994. She is a single mother of seven living children, ranging in ages 9 to 21. Daven stayed focused on keeping her children in school and providing housing for her family. All was well, until one of her children was shot, although he survived, her family was in danger and they moved to Charleston’s YWCA Sojourner’s Shelter. Her children were enrolled in school and she began seeking employment through the Education/Job Readiness Center.

Today, Daven has maintained employment at Macy’s Department Store and also has secured additional employment. In addition to her seven children, she is equally proud of her 2 grandchildren. She continues to stress to her children that getting a good education and meaningful employment, will lead to success. Daven’s long range goal is to return to school and obtain a degree in Business Management and become self-employed.

Sara Busse

Sara Johe Busse’s husband Bob believes she’s never met a volunteer group that she didn’t want to join. Always active at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Sara was a counselor for high school students at camp for 12 years, helped with Vacation Bible School, served on church council, and was a youth group leader for many years. Sara now helps coordinate Trinity’s Table, feeding hundreds of hungry neighbors each week.

A dedicated volunteer at Sacred Heart Grade School, Charleston Catholic, and the Covenant House Food Pantry, she also served as the president of the West Virginia Symphony League, chairman of ReadAloud West Virginia, and was a leader in the Kanawha County Master Gardener organization. She volunteered for Religious Coalition for Community Renewal and Family Counseling Connection, was a mentor for Mothers of Preschoolers of Charleston, and currently serves on the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences’ board of directors, where she leads the education committee. Sara serves on the national advisory board for “The Lutheran Magazine,” a publication of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Mary Jean Davis

Mary Jean Davis is serving her fifth term on the Charleston City Council. A Charleston native, she was first elected in 1999 and has had a hand in many of the most visible Charleston developments.

Mary Jean played a crucial role in overseeing construction at Haddad Riverfront Park. She is involved in creating more activities for families and children and and working to preserve what makes our communities special, while keeping the business atmoshpere vibrant. Mary Jean currently sits on the Finance Committee, the West Side and East End Main Streets Administrative Merger Committee, and is Secretary of the Charleston Convention/Visitors Bureau.

Mary Jean has served on the board of RCCR, Daymark, and Keep a Child in School. She is a member of the Women of Charleston Symphony and serves as an elder at First Presbyterian Church. She is a graduate of Charleston High School and attended West Virginia University, Center College and Monongalia General School of Practical Nursing, from which she graduated in 1966.  She is married to Paul Davis and has three children and 11 grandchildren.

WOA 2016 Event Coverage: 

20th Annual Women of Achievement luncheon


Friday  |  March 4, 2016  

12 - 1:30 pm
Embassy Suites 

© 2020 YWCA Charleston, WV


At YWCA Charleston we are dedicated to our mission: eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.


  • w-facebook
  • White Twitter Icon