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A Note from YWCA Women of Achievement Chair, Kim Burton

As chairwoman of the Women of Achievement committee, I am privileged to join the honorees on their 6 month journey. They are selected and notified in July and the luncheon is in March. During this time there are many events that get us all together; however, one of them specifically comes to mind: the tour of YWCA facilities.

The tour is led by YWCA CEO, Debby Weinstein, and takes place on a small bus that allows discussion between each site. EVERY SINGLE TIME I have done this (4 years now), I can't help but leave feeling the same way ... BLESSED!!!! I don't know what it's like to arrive at a shelter and be given a plastic tote for my whole family's belongings. Nor do I know what living day-to-day is like with a spouse verbally— or worse physically—abusing me and having to escape to a place where I can feel safe. Or, to grow old and retire to your GOLDEN YEARS, and have to suffer ELDER ABUSE at the hands of one of the children you have raised. Sure, one could choose to ignore these things exist ... but my heart would never allow that, nor would it for this year's honorees!

Each year in the selection process I go in feeling like there is no way we can find 5 new women that totally embrace the YWCA mission, but we do, and this year is no exception.

Jan Vineyard—A personal friend and colleague. A "class act" who not only was a wonderful career woman, but totally understood the importance of "giving back" shown in the involvement she had with several charitable organizations.

Missy Rubin—Our paths crossed several times over the past few years as I was in hospitality in the Charleston area. Missy served/chaired several fundraising efforts in Charleston, and as a hotelier she would often use our venue. I knew that when Missy was coming to visit, I had better "sharpen the pencil," because she would not stop until the best deal was made for whatever charity she was there to support, and there were MANY!

I did not know the following women before their selection. I, along with the committee, got to know them better from the references and applications of their colleagues/friends.

Dr. R. Jenee Walker—Have you ever just walked out after having spent an hour with a person and thought ... we could SO BE BEST FRIENDS? She's amazing! It's easy to look at her bio and her accomplishments and be impressed, but she is so much more than that. You will have to come to the luncheon to find out for yourself just how dynamic she is!

Brittany Javins—WOMAN TO WATCH! Loves the ARTS! Mentored by Larry Groce, Brittany eventually became the Executive Director of FestivALL, and just look at how wonderful that has become for our community! You can't help but be impressed with her passion when you listen to her talk about her organization, working with a young group in theatre, or a new project ... she just lights up!

Whitney Breckenridge—As this year's Empowerment Honoree, Whitney can expound on the wonderful experience she has had with the YWCA Mel Wolf Child Development Center. It takes "a village" and Whitney found that at Mel Wolf. By entrusting them to care for and teach her children, it has afforded Whitney the ability to be able to follow her own dreams!

To our sponsors—THANK YOU! We are fortunate that this is a sell-out every year. However, to help fund YWCA programs we need whatever monies we can raise and cannot do it on ticket sales alone. We need to sell ads and table sponsorships, so thanks to those of you believing in our mission!

To our Women of Achievement committee members—YOU ARE THE BEST! You make a commitment to not only be a part of the selection, but to spend many months on the phone prior to the luncheon working on sponsorships and tickets. Thank you!

Lastly, why should YOU attend the luncheon? Quite simply because you want to feel good! Where else can you go and see 600 of the business leaders in our valley/state not afraid to shed a tear because they were deeply touched by these women and their journeys?

Join us March 2 at Embassy Suites for an event you truly will not forget. And trust me... you will walk out feeling ... yep ... BLESSED!

For event details, sponsorship options and to purchase tickets, click here.

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