Announcing our 2019 Women of Influence

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Announcing our 2019 Women of Influence

Categories: Blog, News, Women & Girls Leadership, Women of Influence

YWCA Dayton will honor six women, and one organization, during its 2019 Women of Influence awards luncheon on March 21, 2019, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Dayton Convention Center. This year marks the 22nd anniversary of the award; with an average attendance of 800, it is the single largest daytime nonprofit luncheon in Dayton.

Since 1998, the YWCA Dayton WOI Awards have recognized and honored the most influential women in the Dayton area, visionaries and thought leaders who have made a difference in our community through their dedication to the YWCA mission of empowering women, eliminating racism, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

Honorees in the Women of Influence Class of 2019 are:

  • Cassie Barlow, Chief Operating Officer, Southwestern Ohio Council on Higher Education
  • Rabbi Karen Bodney-Halasz, Senior Rabbi, Temple Israel
  • Kim Duncan, Community Philanthropist & Former CEO/Co-Founder, Elements IV Interiors
  • Neenah Ellis, General Manager, WYSO
  • Chris Saunders, Community Philanthropist & International Advocate
  • Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, Dancer, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company

Additionally, The Dayton Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, will be honored with the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Links is an international nonprofit for professional women of color committed to enriching, sustaining, and ensuring the culture and economic survival of African-Americans and other persons of African ancestry.

Honorees were selected from a pool of more than 105 nominations by YWCA leadership and the volunteer WOI Committee, led this year by Chair Debbie Watts Robinson, CEO, Miami Valley Housing Opportunities, and Co-Chair Belinda Matthews Stenson, director, Minority Business Partnership of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Says Shannon Isom, president and CEO of YWCA Dayton:

Occasionally, someone will ask me if we’ll ‘run out’ of influential women in the Dayton area to recognize. Clearly, we will not. We stand in awe of these women. They are thought leaders, innovators, literal care givers. They make our community stronger by sharing those gifts to break down barriers and help the most vulnerable among us thrive. That is the mission work YWCA Dayton has done for 148 years, and we are honored to lift up these women in pursuit of that vision.”

The Women of Influence luncheon serves as YWCA Dayton’s largest fundraiser. Sponsorship opportunities, program advertising, and table and ticket purchase information are available at See a list of past Honorees HERE.

You can follow the conversation on social media using hashtag #DaytonWOI.