The ninth annual Inspired Women’s Luncheon & Awards Ceremony was an empowering afternoon filled with guest speakers and recognition for the hardworking women in our community. The luncheon was held November 15 at the new Live! By Loews Arlington Hotel and was hosted by the Chamber’s Women’s Alliance. The theme of the sold-out event was finding your passion and purpose.
Dr. Jacquelyn Minor served as the charismatic master of ceremonies who helped us celebrate the impact of women in our community. Dr. Minor carried the theme by sharing what motivates her and encouraging others to find their passion and purpose.
During the luncheon, we celebrated the contributions of passionate women who are dedicated to the Women’s Alliance. We were honored to recognize the accomplishments of the past Women’s Alliance Chair, Heidi Allison. We also welcomed the new Chair, Laura Heymann. With her support, the Women’s Alliance will continue to empower women in greater Arlington.
Through the Dr. Judith J. Carrier Scholarship program, ten recipients were awarded a total of $25,000 in scholarships. Dr. Carrier’s scholarship program began by awarding one student with $1,000 and has grown tremendously. CLICK HERE to meet our 2019 scholarship recipients.
Find Your Passion & Purpose with Thasunda Brown Duckett
Growing up in East Arlington, Thasunda Brown Duckett’s family struggled financially. She remembers her family having difficulty affording necessities such as food. Despite coming from humble beginnings and facing many obstacles, she dared to dream big. Her father encouraged her to “shoot for the moon” and not let her circumstances determine what she can accomplish.
Duckett describes herself as “standing on the shoulders of giants.” She can see further thanks to those who came before her. She understood the weight of her being CEO. To her, the legacies of women and people of color who were limited to being secretaries and janitors paved the way for her. Duckett believes the world equally distributes talent, but not opportunities.
Today, Duckett extends opportunities to others by educating them on financial literacy. She believes everyone should understand the importance of saving and have the tools to do so. Duckett told her Father, who spent his life working in a factory to provide for them that he did not have enough saved to retire. Duckett wants every hardworking parent to have the ability to retire and send their child to college.
Thasunda Brown Duckett is a leader within her company and community. She is the Executive Sponsor of JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Black Pathway’s Program, aimed at helping black Americans achieve economic success through wealth, education and careers. After her father was diagnosed with cancer, Duckett created the Rosie & Otis Brown Foundation. The goal of the Rosie & Otis Brown Foundation is to empower ordinary people to do extraordinary things, in honor of Duckett’s parents that motivate her. Through the foundation, Duckett is donating a kindness bench to every elementary school in AISD. The bench will give students from every background a place to dream about their big future and a reminder to be kind.
Thasunda Brown Duckett’s success comes with hard-earned wisdom. Duckett says, “I rent my title, and I own my character.” Duckett stresses that people should not respect others simply because of their title. Leaders should cultivate their character because, unlike their title, it is a part of them. Remember that true leaders gain lifetime followers from their passion and integrity and not merely their title.
Another lesson that Duckett has learned is to stop subscribing to the idea of a “life balance.” When she saw her life as a balancing act, she felt like she was consistently failing at being a mother, executive and philanthropist. Now, she views her life as a diversified portfolio that is made up of her passions. She urges everyone to create their portfolio by first writing down everything that matters to them. The structure of her portfolio changes depending on the demands of her office or family. However, she knows which portfolio structure will bring her the most joy.
Thasunda Brown is truly a role model that shares her story so that others dare to dream big. She wishes for everyone to find their purpose as she has.
HERO & RISING STAR AWARDS
The Chamber was honored to recognize women who are leaders within our community with the Hero Award and the Rising Star Award. Congratulations to our Hero Award recipient Joni Wilson and our Rising Star Award recipient Amy Cearnal. They are exceptional role models that prove how much of an impact empowered women can make.
The Chamber would like to thank the IWL committee, the Women’s Alliance Advisory Council and all Women’s Alliance members as well as our sponsors for making this impactful event possible. Attendees left the celebration feeling energized to pursue their passions. The Women’s Alliance offers more opportunities to help members find their passion and purpose. They provide leadership, mentoring, and direction to their members. They are committed to strengthening women as professional, business, community and civic leaders. CLICK HERE to learn more about the Women’s Alliance.