The Women Presidents’ Organization Announces 2015 Awards Recipients

Women Presidents’ Organization May 8, 2015

The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), a peer advisory group for million-dollar-plus, women-led companies, announced its three 2015 award recipients at the organization’s annual conference in Phoenix at the Arizona Biltmore.

The 2015 winners are Sharon Lechter, who was presented the Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Empowerment Award, Pamela Prince-Eason, who was presented the Adrienne Hall Award for Breaking Down Barriers, and Carolyn Cross, who was presented the President’s Award.

Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Empowerment Award

The winner of the WPO Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Empowerment Award is Sharon Lechter, founder & CEO of Phoenix-based Pay Your Family First and a WPO Board Member.

Mary Lehman MacLachlan was an esteemed WPO advisory board member and a proponent of women’s economic empowerment. She fervently believed that women should be able to take care of themselves financially. Mary Lehman MacLachlan cared deeply about women in positions of leadership and ownership. She believed women need to support other women because “if they don’t, no one else will.”

“Sharon Lechter embodies the qualities of the Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Empowerment Award, including economic independence, running a financially-sound business, providing positive financial benefits for staff and supporting other business women in her community,” said Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., WPO president and founder.

The award was presented by Margery Kraus, founder and executive chairman of APCO Worldwide, Inc. and chair of the WPO Board of Directors.

Adrienne Hall Award for Breaking Down Barriers

The Adrienne Hall Award for Breaking Down Barriers goes to a member, organization or sponsor who has gone out of the way to collaborate with the WPO, to forge an alliance that has proved helpful to the organization. This year’s award goes to Pamela Prince-Eason, president and CEO of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the leading third-party certifier for businesses owned and operated by women, a role she assumed in 2011.

Esteemed WPO Board Chair Adrienne Hall, who died in 2008, started the first women-owned advertising company in the United States.  A pioneer who broke down barriers and was a strong advocate of women’s rights, Adrienne contributed to the success and growth of the WPO by making connections that still enable the organization to provide superior programming and continued expansion.

Prince-Eason has demonstrated enthusiastic support for the WPO and its mission.  When last year’s WPO annual conference and WBENC’s Summit & Salute were both held in New Orleans, she went out of her way to make sure the WPO had a high-visibility opportunity to participate, with a series of WBENC’s branded roundtables.

“Pam has repeatedly confirmed her belief in what the WPO does and how important our mission is to the growth and development of second-stage women business leaders,” said Dr. Firestone.

Shirley Moulton, founder of the ACADEMi of Life and WPO Board Vice Chair, presented the award.

The President’s Award

The winner of the WPO President’s Award is Carolyn Cross, chairman and CEO of Ondine Biomedical Inc. in Vancouver.

The President’s Award recognizes one WPO member who has gone above and beyond in terms of her commitment to the WPO organization and support for the future success of women business owners.

When faced with a recent transition in WPO Chapter leadership, Cross stepped in to provide counsel, taking on a leadership role and working collaboratively with the Board.  The quality and creativity of her business, which developed a non-antibiotic technology to fight infection, makes her a role model for other entrepreneurs.

“Carolyn provided help without being asked and perfectly embodies the pillars of the President’s Award, which include reaching across economic, business, social, cultural and intellectual barriers to make meaningful connections on behalf of the WPO. She is a strong leader, negotiator and advocate for the WPO, for our mission and for women-led businesses everywhere,” said Dr. Firestone, who presented the Award.



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