Women carry on legacy of excellence

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For the second year in a row, the New Pittsburgh Courier’s 50 Women of Excellence gathered in the Westin Convention Center to be recognized for their achievements.

“We are pleased to honor you today to showcase your achievements and honor your commitment to the community,” said WPXI-TV news anchor Vince Simms, the master of ceremonies.

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Surrounded by their family, friends and co-workers Sept. 3, the women were gracious and congratulatory to each other. Many of the honorees said they were glad for the opportunity to meet former honorees, many of whom attended the event.

“I am very excited and honored to be among Pittsburgh’s finest women,” said Gerri Holden. “It’s great to meet other women who have made contributions to our community.”

“It’s so wonderful to be here today among these 49 other women,” Greer Reed Jones said. “Like a lot of the women on the list, I was happy I knew them and to be among them.”

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Like Jones, artistic director for Dance Alloy, many of the honorees play a key role in shaping tomorrow’s leaders. Through their work in education, the arts, social services and community service the honorees work to ensure Pittsburgh’s youths are prepared for success.

“I think I was recognized for my efforts in the community and trying to touch young people,” Jones said. “They’re the future.”

This year’s list of women contained many new faces along with some well-known veterans in the community. Many of the honorees, who do most of their work behind the scenes, said it was nice to be noticed for their contributions.

“It’s a great honor to be appreciated. I was surprised,” said Tracy Edmunds. “I guess often times, when I’ve worked in many jobs, I’m almost always not out in front, so it’s nice to be recognized.”

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“I do community service. I help people out,” Kiva Fisher-Green, “so this is huge for me, especially to be in the company of such prestigious women.”

“It’s the work I do with passion, and it gives me the encouragement to keep going,” Valerie Dixon said. “I just have a lot of passion. I think people see that in me.”

Echoing other honorees, Dixon, who is a community activist, said receiving this award would give her more drive to continue the work she does for the community. She also said it is important for all of the honorees, not just those engaged in serving the community to make a positive impact on Pittsburgh.

“The women here are trailblazers. This let’s us know we’re on the right track,” Dixon said. “We’re hopefully leaving a legacy and I just hope we’re bringing up the young people behind us.”

This year’s event was sponsored by Giant Eagle, Duquesne University, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Urban Settlement, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh and Real Times Media.

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