GSWPA Awards of Distinction, photo by Scott Smathers

Rosa Davis, executive director of POWER, thinks this is a great time for women in Pittsburgh.

“We’re lucky to be in this city. There are organizations taking a lead in the important issues women have. It’s inspiring and helps make us all aware of what’s happening in our city and region,” she says. “And participation is a way to really get your juices flowing.”

Davis, along with six other women, will be honored as one of this year’s YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh 33rd annual Tribute to Women Leadership Awards honorees at a luncheon at the Westin Hotel on May 21. She is being recognized for her service in the area of health and human services.

Rosa Davis of POWER, the YWCA 2015 Health & Human Services  Tribute to Women Leadership honoree
Rosa Davis of POWER, the YWCA 2015 Health & Human Services Tribute to Women Leadership honoree

POWER (Pennsylvania Organization for Women in Early Recovery) provides treatment programs for women in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. The agency serves nearly 1,000 women each year.

A POWER leader since 1992, Davis says the YWCA award is an honor because the two agencies both strive to empower women and eliminate all discrimination.

“The awardees all come from different sectors which distinguishes them, but they’ve all done some extraordinary work to advance the opportunities for women,” says Magdeline Jensen, CEO of YWCA of Greater Pittsburgh.

Nominations were open to the public and a panel of judges selected the final seven based on leadership, community volunteer work that goes above and beyond their professional careers and the length of their involvement.

“We were looking for women who have blazed some leadership to advance the leadership for all women in their communities,” says Jensen.

Other women being recognized include:

Allerton Lifetime Achievement Award – Doris G. Brevard, former principal, Robert Lee Vann Elementary School.

Business and Professional Services – Ruth M. Grant, former president, Louis A. Grant, Inc.

Civic and Community Service – Carmen Anderson, senior program officer The Heinz Endowments’ Children, Youth & Families Program.

Creative Arts – Janet L. McCall, executive director, The Society for Contemporary Craft.

Science and Technology – Erin Dalton, deputy director for the Office of Data Analysis, Research, and Evaluation.

Young Leader – Ayisha A. Morgan-Lee – founder, CEO and artistic director of Hill Dance Academy Theatre.

Today Girl Scouts of Western Pennsylvania are recognizing eight 2015 Women of Distinction who strive to live in the spirit of the Girl Scout mission and for their service to the Pittsburgh community.

“These are outstanding leaders in the community who are not only successful at helping move companies and organizations forward but they are helping move women forward by being such exemplary role models for our girls,” says Lisa Shade of GSWPA.

The 2015 Women of Distinction include:

Arts & Education – Karen S. McIntyre, PhD, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs; Dean of Faculty, Point Park University.

Athletics – Brianne McLaughlin-Bittle, USA Ice Hockey; Owner, Brianne McLaughlin Gold Medal Goalie Training

Business – Elisabet Rodriguez Dennehy, President, Rodriguez & Associates, LLC.

Community & Nonprofit – Latasha Wilson-Batch, Executive Director, Best of the Batch Foundation.

Entrepreneur & Small Business – Denise DeSimone, CEO of C-Leveled

Government & Law – Casey Ryan, Partner, Reed Smith LLP.

Health Care – Ann Thompson, MD, MCCM, Vice Dean, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; Professor, Critical Care Medicine.

Technology & Communication – Jennifer Stancil, Executive Director of Educational Partnerships, WQED Multimedia.

The Girl Scouts have also named Bianca Li of Franklin Regional High School as Girl of Distinction, Ellen Claire Murphy of Chartiers Valley High School as Girl Scout Humanitarian and Chevron as the Corporation of Distinction.

Both organizations are supported strongly by the Eden Hall Foundation, which is the presenting sponsor of the Girl Scout awards and the premier sponsor for the YWCA’s tribute.

“The Eden Hall Foundation has significant roots in advancing women in the Pittsburgh region. They are the largest sponsor of women and girls foundations in western Pennsylvania,” says the YWCA’s Jensen.

Established in 1983, the foundation furthers the charitable purposes of Pittsburgh philanthropist and former vice president and director of H.G. Heinz Company Sebastian Mueller.

Laurie Bailey is a freelance writer who has reported for many local publications. When she isn't writing she serves as a media consultant for nonprofits and other local companies.