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YWCA Greater Cincinnati names 2021 Career Women of Achievement honorees

Watch 42nd anniversary program on WCPO 9 tonight at 7 p.m.
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Posted at 9:52 AM, Apr 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 10:52:18-04

CINCINNATI — Eight Cincinnati-area women have been selected as 2021 YWCA Greater Cincinnati Career Women of Achievement, and they will be honored in a ceremony and fundraiser broadcast on WCPO 9 Thursday, April 22, at 7 p.m.

Instead of YWCA's usual annual luncheon, the eight women will be honored in the special TV and streaming broadcast, hosted by WCPO 9 Anchor Tanya O'Rourke. The event continues to be the largest fundraiser for YWCA Greater Cincinnati, and proceeds directly support its programs and initiatives focused on empowering women and eliminating racism.

Founded in 1868, YWCA Greater Cincinnati has honored 330 outstanding women since it began its Career Women of Achievement Luncheon in 1980.

The 2021 Career Women of Achievement honorees are:

  • Giovanna Alvarez, Director, Su Casa Hispanic Center
  • Vanessa Freytag, President and CEO, 4C for Children
  • Whitney B. Gaskins, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Inclusive Excellence and Community Engagement, University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science
  • Lisa Kelly, M.D., Taylor Asbury Professor of Ophthalmology; Medical Director Hoxworth Eye Clinics, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  • Kelly Kolar-Eyman, President & Founder Kolar Design, Inc.+Kolar Experience Institute
  • Tashawna Thomas Otabil, Executive Director, TriHealth
  • Stephanie Smith, Senior Vice President, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer, Fifth Third Bank
  • Amy Spiller, President, Duke Energy Ohio and Kentucky, Duke Energy

Read more about the honorees and their achievements here.

Career Women of Achievement Co-Chair Stacey Browning, who is also the managing director of digital portfolio for CincyTech, said the YWCA and those they recognize have always been catalysts for change.

“Today it’s all the more important and possible for leaders to take action now and leverage the mission of the YWCA to progress empowering women and eliminating racism," Browning said.

Browning is leading the Career Women of Achievement effort with Co-Chair Cathy Bernardino Bailey, director, Greater Cincinnati Water Works. Both are past Career Women of Achievement honorees.

“Now, more than ever, we need consistent leaders like the YWCA to lead the way for the Greater Cincinnati community," Bailey said. "For 153 years, this agency has answered the call to serve the most vulnerable in our community. This television and streaming broadcast event and fundraiser honoring these amazing women demonstrates that the time is now for you, me and many others to support the YWCA as it drives the change that must happen.”

Watch the hour-long special on WCPO 9 and your favorite streaming devices Thursday, April 22, at 7 p.m.