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Rotary Impact Awards gala celebrates trailblazing women


Atlanta, GA, May 16, 2024: The Rotary Women of Impact (RWI) Awards & Fundraiser Dinner spotlighted remarkable women who drive progress in various fields, serving as role models and catalysts for positive change, in a grand red-carpet gala held at Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center on April 27, 2024. The event aimed to celebrate the achievements and contributions of women in various fields while raising funds for charitable causes supported by Rotary International.

Acknowledging and recognizing impactful women locally & globally, and celebrating their contributions, while simultaneously forming a community of women empowering those in need is the objective of RWI. In alignment with their aim, accomplished women from myriad fields came together to celebrate, collaborate, and empower each other. Participating Rotary clubs included Rotary Club of Emory Druid Hills Rotary Club of East Cobb Rotary Club of Stone Mountain.

“The Rotary Women of Impact (RWI) Awards and Fundraiser was a resounding, successful sold-out event, exceeding all expectations. Our mission is to bring together a myriad of women leaders worldwide, regardless of ethnicity, to collaboratively enhance social impact on a global scale,” co-founders of the Rotary Women of Impact chapter, Paddy Sharma, Cynthia Dorsey Edwards, and Synthia Padala said in a joint statement.

The awards ceremony honored outstanding women who have made significant impacts in their communities, whether through leadership, innovation, philanthropy, or advocacy. The selection of the women recognized at the event was based on their dedication and commitment to creating positive change. The RWI team nominated 33 women leaders such as CTOs, VPs, SVP, Founders, Doctors from fortune 100 companies who not only were at the pinnacle of their careers but are also giving back to the society. Out of the 33 nominees, 11 women won awards for different categories and 3 women were awarded with the Lifetime Achievement award.

Awardees included Altruistic Samaritan of the Year André Hadley Marria,  Rotary District Governor, ROTARY District 6900; HR Trailblazer Vicki Cansler, CHRO Piedmont Healthcare; Entrepreneurial Maverick: Nita Sardana, VP of Community Outreach and Corporate Giving (three Lifetime achievement awardees); Art Luminary: Amira Daugherty, Singer/Entertainer; Leadership Pioneer: Darlene Drew, CEO, Leadership Conditioning, Personal & Professional Development LLC; Advocacy Achiever: Anu Seam, Legal VP AT&T; Media Maestro:  Malani Kai Massey Radio Talk Show Host    95.5 WSB; Judicial Excellence: Verda Colvin, Judge GA Supreme Court;  STEM (Education) Pioneer: Dr. Maxine Cain, CEO  STEM Atlanta Women; Social Justice Ambassador: Leng Leng Chancey, Principal, ReJarranger Consulting LLC;  Technology Titan:    Renee Pearson, CTO Rollins;  Wellness Advocate:  Tabia Henry Akintobi, Associate Dean  Moorehouse School of Medicine; FinTech AI Excellence:  Lo Li Carper, CTO Capital One; and Technology Titan: Udaya Shrivastava, VP Honeywell.

The generous donations from attendees, sponsors, and supporters. The organizers said, will be directed towards supporting Rotary’s initiatives aimed at empowering women, promoting education, healthcare, and economic development, both locally and globally. The organizers said they are keen on leveraging the momentum gained to continue their efforts in supporting women’s empowerment and community development with next steps including Expansion of Initiatives: Utilizing the funds raised to expand existing initiatives and launch new projects aimed at empowering women, promoting education, healthcare, and economic development, Advocacy and Awareness: Increasing advocacy efforts to raise awareness about issues affecting women and girls, and advocating for policies that promote gender equality and women’s rights, Networking and Mentorship: Facilitating networking opportunities and mentorship programs to support women in various fields and empower them to achieve their full potential and Community Engagement, Partnership Building, Evaluation and Feedback.

“I am deeply honored to receive this Lifetime Achievement Award from Rotary Women of Impact! Awards like these are so important because they inspire others to keep going despite the challenges that may come their way. Let us all remember to support and encourage each other as we strive to make a difference in the world!” Lifetime Achievement Awardee Nita Sardana said.

The event’s organizing committee included three co-founders, Kris Goyal, Reda Rowell, Mustafa Ajmeri, and Judith Bennett.

Rotary International, founded in 1905 in Chicago, is a global service organization uniting business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian aid, promote ethical standards, and foster peace worldwide.  Despite being 119 years old, it wasn’t until 1987 that women were officially permitted to join Rotary clubs worldwide. This decision came after years of advocacy and legal challenges from women seeking membership in Rotary, culminating in a landmark court decision and vote by Rotary International’s board to admit women into Rotary clubs. Since then, women have become an integral part of Rotary, contributing significantly to its mission of service and community impact.

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