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2012 Women of Achievement Award Winners
DR. LAUREL KRAMER
Dr. Laurel Kramer, a psychologist at St. Mary’s Health Center, helps patients cope with the emotional challenges life throws their way through encouraging them to develop their inner strengths and create a life of purpose. Laurel ‘s passion for this kind of work developed early and is focused around helping women, from teens through the end of life, to create a more satisfying and balanced lifestyle while increasing the self confidence they need to live past the limits placed on them by health or other problems.
Laurel credits her parents with teaching her the importance of offering second chances to others and has given thousands of volunteer hours doing this. As the youngest of five, Laurel helped her mother with activities that gave second chances to those living in the impoverished areas of Cleveland, Ohio. At age 35, Laurel’s doctoral dissertation showed how easily teen girls lose their self confidence during middle school and created programs to help teens deal with body image and social concerns.
Around mid-Missouri, Laurel helped fathers build a closer bond with their pre-teen daughters, speaks about living with cancer, and offers programs for women on healthy living as we age. After she was an invited speaker at the Empowering Young Women Conference in St Louis, Laurel singlehandedly organized and executed similar conferences in the Jefferson City area in 1998 and 2000. She has continued these presentations for schools on a smaller scale. Laurel continues to be a sought after public speaker for local area groups.
From these experiences, Laurel has lived with the motto, “Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and I eat for a lifetime.”
DR. JAHNAE BARNETT
Dr. Barnett is serving her 22nd year as president of William Woods University in Fulton. She is the only president to have been named from within the institution and the only woman president in the University’s142 year history.
Dr. Barnett has been a catalyst for monumental change at William Woods. Recognizing that “real life” calls for frequent, professional interaction between men and women, she led the transition from a single-sex college to a coeducational university as well as the introduction of undergraduate and graduate degree programs for working adults. Under her guidance, William Woods has evolved from a single-campus, rural women’s college with a 500 student enrollment to a state-wide, co-educational university with five sites serving 3,600 students.
Jahnae also changes lives one at a time. She tells us of a student caught copying an upcoming test – she could have been suspended. Dr. Barnett chose another route for this 19 year old with no family in her life. She invited her to a discussion after which the girl understood she was wrong – and understood that Dr. Barnett would be watching her, and caring about her. The girl went on to achieve an MBA and has been very successful in her professional and personal life.
The experience taught Dr. Barnet an important life lesson – failure can be the first step to success. Sometimes people, especially youth, just need to be steered in the right direction. They need support, encouragement and guidance to give their life meaning direction and worth.
2012 Lifetime Achievement Award
At the 2002 Yellow Rose Luncheon, the lifetime achievement award was established in the name of Betty Weldon when she won the award. Since that time, nine other women have been honored for their lifetime of service and dedication to our community. Their names are Rosalie Little, Aimee Morrow, Billie Railton, Florence Guhleman, Odie Dickens, Jeanie Moore, Shirley Quigg, Sally Sprague and Dorothy Lemke.
This year’s lifetime achievement award winner is Sabra Eagan. Sabra has spent her lifetime using her incredible talent as a painter and sculptor to bring beauty to her hometown of Jefferson City, and throughout the world. Because of her generosity and overall contribution to the art world, Sabra Eagan is the 2012 recipient of the Mrs. William H. Weldon Lifetime Achievement Award. She has been selected by the members of the Zonta Club of Jefferson City to receive the award at the 13th annual Yellow Rose luncheon.
In looking back at her career, Sabra credits her parents as the core of her success for their help in making her dreams of art achievement a reality. “They always listened to me, and believed in me.” she said. Sabra also acknowledges that her education at Stephens Columbia provided her the opportunity to discover and develop her talent and provide the direction she needed to reach her goals.
After finishing her degree at Stephens, Sabra continued her education at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and in Rome, receiving degrees in haute couture, Italian language and Italian culture.
Her original career choice was one in the fashion industry. She started in New York City, where she worked for Bill Blass as well as other designers. During her time in New York, she vacationed with her parents to Europe. That trip included time in the beautiful city of Venice, a visit that would change the course of her life. It was there that she recognized her destiny was to return to Venice and study to become a painter- and she did. There she met and studied under a world-renowned glass artist whose work is in the Vatican Museum collection.
Sabra’s perseverance and commitment to her art has resulted in recognition around the world. She has won 58 national and international awards for painting and sculpture and has had 55 exhibits in Europe, Africa, South America, the Caribbean and the United States.
The Missouri Senate and House of representatives honored Sabra with the Senate Resolution of Commendation and Appreciation.
In 2001, Sabra received the Stephens College Alumnae Achievement Award, one of only 132 individuals to receive this honor.
Locally, Sabra’s contributions helped create the 2011 Cole County Historical Society Christmas ornament, and she also designed the Missouri Governor’s Mansion Christmas card.
Sabra’s latest project is her “largest” to date. She has been commissioned to sculpt an 8 foot Carrera marble statue of Stella Maris, which means “star of the sea.” It is an ancient version of the Blessed Virgin Mary that is a beacon of healing and hope. She is doing this work in Italy, but this beautiful statue will one day reside in a beautiful healing garden at the new St. Mary’s hospital.
Congratulations again to Sabra who has shared her talent with us and contributed to the beauty of our city, as well as around the world.
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2011 Women of Achievement Award Winners
Gracia was a former mayor and legislator and now serves as the Director of the Division of Employment Security. Her civic contributions have not only benefited our local community, but have impacted the entire state of Missouri. Her political career began in 1976 when she was elected mayor of the City of New Bloomfield. She went on to serve Callaway County as a state representative, a position she held for 18 years. While serving in the Missouri House of Representatives, Gracia became the first female majority floor leader, the highest rank achieved by a woman at that time. Gracia’s community service is as extensive as her political contributions. From the New Bloomfield School Board to the Providence Baptist Church, Gracia has unselfishly donated her time and talents.
Says friend and former colleague Sen. Claire McCaskill: “It is a simple and well-known fact that Gracia Backer loves her God, her family, her friends and her government. She has devoted a lifetime of service to each of them.” Gracia says her mother showed her what it meant to be a mentor. “She taught me by example that my opportunities were limitless and success was up to me,” says Gracia.
Dr. Ann Harris earned her PhD in English from the University of Missouri and is now Dean of the College of Arts and Letters. She taught the Creative Writing course there for many years and has also written three novels.
It is through Ann’s extraordinary leadership at LU that a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish has been established there. She is a champion for high achievement among the LU student body, as evidenced by her relentless commitment to resurrect Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society, and her diligent work to find funding for its student participants.
Ann is a highly recognized force on issues addressing sexism, women’s rights, service to the underserved, engagement of youth in education and cultural events, preservation of historical buildings and the preservation of data capturing the history of diverse groups. She has volunteered with the local Multi-Cultural Festival, Juneteeth Cultural Festival and our local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Ann says, “A mentor is not always aware of her role as such in the workplace; and it is that example she provides, when unaware of it, which matters most.”Nominations for the Women of Achievement were judged by the Zonta Club of St. Louis, Missouri.
2011 Lifetime Achievement Award
Dorothy Lemke is the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient and was presented her award for her extensive record of service and philanthropic work in Mexico at the Yellow Rose Luncheon on May 17, 2011 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.
Dorothy Lemke, a retired optometrist, has accomplished incredible feats over a span of thirty years visiting the Merida region in the Yucatan Peninsula. The visits began as vacations during which Dorothy noticed that, due to the extreme poverty of the Mexican villages, none of the residents had eyeglasses. After she returned to the United States, she began collecting glasses, reading the prescriptions and taking them with her on her subsequent visits. She now takes about 1000 pairs of glasses per visit. In addition to fitting eyeglasses, Dorothy and her husband Rudy founded the Merida Foundation. This foundation furnishes food for the orphanage in Merida, plus two other food kitchens operated by churches in poorer areas of Merida. In total, the foundation feeds 450 children per day.
In addition, Dorothy and her husband take “PET” (Personal Energy Transportation) units to Mexico for handicapped people. They are manufactured in Columbia, Missouri. The units are superior to wheel chairs because they can travel over rough and unpaved streets in the villages. Dorothy Lemke has touched and changed thousands of lives in the Yucatan Peninsula.Zonta is continuing to help Dorothy bring sight to the poor of Merida. Donations of prescription glasses, reading glasses and sunglasses may be dropped off at the following locations:
C&S Business Services, Inc. – 1731 Southridge Drive
Dulle-Trimble Funeral Home – 3210 N. Ten Mile Drive
The Ink Spot – 398 Dix Road, Suite 104
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|2010 Women of Achievement Award WinnersTUCK VAN DYNE
Tuck VanDyne’s creative leadership and commitment to health awareness and education is second to none. Her passion for helping people shines in everything she does and particularly in her role as chief of Women’s Health in the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. She has helped women of all walks of life and ages by mentoring college students, developing informative, bilingual materials and leading initiatives that improve the lives of all Missouri girls and women.
It was Tuck’s vision for bringing together the many organizations working on sexual assault prevention which brought about a statewide effort known as Denim Days. Tuck is working toward adoption of this campaign on a national level.
The development of a Women’s Health Communication network by the Office on Women’s Health can be attributed to Tuck’s leadership, too. This network functions as a one-stop shop for funding opportunities, resources and legislative issues regarding women and families.
Tuck is truly dedicated to equipping women with the information they need to be healthy and raise healthy families, provide better care for their ill and elderly relatives and make the best of everyday decisions affecting health.
“The honor of being nominated for a Zonta Women of Achievement Award is a marvelous reminder for me of how fortunate I am to have the exceptional people in my life who show me how to strive to make this world a little bit better.”
MARY ANN CHAMBERS
For 27 years, Mary Ann Chambers was Executive Director of the Capital Area Red Cross Chapter, coordinating 11 services and 300 volunteers in emergency relief efforts, most notably during the Flood of 1993. During that time she also helped establish the first Jefferson City Red Cross Blood Center and first Meals on Wheels.
Mary Ann continues after retirement, working part time and serving the community in many ways. In 2001, she helped implement Operation Leaf Relief to give local high school students the opportunity to raise money to help families of victims of the September 11 attacks. The Operation program has continued every year to support patriotic causes with Mary Ann’s dedication.
She has been an ambassador for the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce and in 1998 was named Ambassador of the Year. She also won the Chamber’s Civic Award in 1993.
Mary Ann is a diplomat for the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau, hotline volunteer for the Rape and Abuse Crisis Service and board member of Homemaker Health Care and AARP and has held every office for the American Business Women’s Association. She also serves as Division Lay Minister for First Christian Church.
2010 Lifetime Achievement Award
Sally Sprague A history preservationist who has left a permanent mark on the Jefferson City landscape is the 2010 recipient of the Mrs. William H. Weldon Lifetime Achievement Award.
Sally Sprague was selected by the Zonta Club of Jefferson City to receive the award, which is given each year to an accomplished woman who has a lifetime of service to the community. She will receive the award at the Yellow Rose luncheon on May 18.
Sally is best known for her leadership in the development of the Lewis and Clark Monument Trailhead Plaza which the Task Force called “A Gift To Missouri. The beautiful addition to the Capitol complex commemorates the passage of the Corps of Discovery up the Missouri River in 1804. Dedicated in 2008, the plaza and five bronze sculptures have become a popular attraction for tourists and residents alike.
Sally chaired the Lewis & Clark special projects committee that worked with the sculptor and project designer to develop the monument plaza. She was instrumental in raising private and public funds to make the vision a reality. She also served on the City’s Lewis & Clark Task Force to help bring other Bicentennial activities to Jefferson City to mark the important anniversary of the Lewis and Clark exploration.
In showing appreciation for Sally’s work to develop the monument here, Jefferson City Mayor John Landwehr said, “It is fitting that the same character traits that carried the Corps through their mission were displayed by Sally in her quest to honor them: perseverance, bravery and single-minded dedication to the mission.”
It capped a lifetime of her involvement in the preservation of state and local history and heritage. Her past service includes board member of the Historic City of Jefferson, board member of the River Rendezvous Arts and Heritage Festival, chair of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Cole County Historical Society and chair of the Missouri Governors’ Wives Inaugural Ball Gown conservation committee and exhibit design for the Cole County Historical Society. She has served on the board and the program committee of Friends of the Missouri State Archives since 2002.A supporter of the arts, Sally also served on the board of the Capital City Council on the Arts and was a volunteer fundraiser for Artists Along the Katy Trail.
In other community service, Sally has served on Capital Region Medical Center’s Board of Governors and Foundation Board, and she has been in the past a volunteer for the Rape and Abuse Crisis Service hotline.Professionally, Sally served as executive assistant for the Missouri Governor’s Mansion and the University of Missouri President’s House.
In 2009, Sally was honored with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce Meritorious Civic Service Award.Sally and her husband, Hugh, a retired attorney and administrative law judge, have three children and four grandchildren.