Following the screening of 52 nominations by a panel of businesswomen, MyCity4Her.com has announced the winners of the 2013 Spirited Women of Baltimore Awards, which “honor dynamic Baltimore women who make extraordinary contributions to their community and those around them.”
The 2013 Spirited Women of Baltimore Awards will honor up-and-coming women, ages 21-35, who are starting to make their powerful mark on the Baltimore community and/or the business world.
The Spirited Women of Baltimore will receive their awards at the 7th annual Spirited Women of Baltimore Power Lunch, on Wednesday, Sept. 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore in Harbor East.
Event proceeds will jointly benefit The Caroline Center, a tuition-free job training program for women in Baltimore, and the Giving Spirits Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2007 with the goal to “shed light and pay it forward.”
“This is our 7th year, and every time I'm heartened by the interest and enthusiasm for this event - not to mention the amazing, often little known women we highlight,” said Monyka Berrocosa, founder/CCO of MyCity4Her, Inc.
“To be able to support great charities and raise awareness for their causes just makes it all even more worthwhile. We're looking forward to a fantastic event!"
The award winners for 2013, and just a brief mention of their many accomplishments, include the following Spirited Women.
Emily Chiarizia of Canton: Active in the Baltimore City Bar Association, Chiarizia also volunteers with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Baltimore, because she cares about Baltimore´s children and their future. She encourages her acquaintances to participate in CASA´s fund raising events on a regular basis.
Thomasina Poirot of Federal Hill: A member of Venable’s Product Liability and Mass Torts Practice Group, Poirot concentrates her practice on complex pharmaceutical litigation.
Prior to and during law school, she worked as a senior account executive for a large insurance company. In this capacity, she performed complex coverage and liability analyses as well as litigation management for asbestos, lead, hazardous waste and pharmaceutical matters. She worked with attorneys, agents, risk managers, and in-house counsel to evaluate the risks of litigation and settlements in toxic tort claims.
Casey Schurman of Lutherville –Timonium: A second grade teacher at Bollman Bridge Elementary, a Title I School in Jessup, Schurman is certified in both elementary and special education.
In addition to chairing her school’s wellness committee, she serves as a case manager for the Instructional Intervention Team, is a liaison between the PTA and school staff, and was the point person for a pilot program providing case management and mentoring services to students and families in need.
Baltimore’s Spirited Woman in Balance Awards honor working mothers who are employed full-time and successfully juggle family and career, while also engaging in spirited endeavors such as community service, mentorship and philanthropy.
Those award winners include the following working moms.
Lori Villegas of Arnold: A first vice president and wealth advisor with Morgan Stanley with 19 years industry experience. Villegas specializes in working with business owners and executives, assisting them with risk management and creating a plan for financial security. A mentor to new financial advisors and business owners, she helped create and serves on a Morgan Stanley diversity council to assist women and minorities in development and business growth.
Kimberly Armstrong of Belair –Edison: As the founder and chief sustainability officer and consultant for The Abeona Group, Inc., an environmental & corporate sustainability consulting firm in Baltimore, Armstrong has worked diligently to raise awareness and support for the creation of green jobs and community resources to Baltimore residents. She also is studying construction management and paralegal studies at Baltimore City Community College.
Lisa Nitsch of Violetville: As House of Ruth Maryland’s director of clinical services & education, Nitsch is responsible for oversight of adult survivor therapeutic services, children’s therapy, intervention programs for perpetrators, and the agency’s Training Institute.
She oversees the day-to-day operation of these programs and coordinates new program initiatives to improve the quality and scope of services. In 2010, she was invited to the White House to consult on federal legislation regarding responsible fatherhood programs and domestic violence.
Baltimore’s Spirited Woman in Business Awards honor female business owners who have successfully used their company’s success and industry leadership to contribute to the community as a thought leader, provide excellence in community service, mentorship and philanthropy to significantly positively impact the region.
Those Spirited Women include the following business owners.
Ella Pritsker of Towson: At age 21 while in Austria and Italy waiting to emigrate to the Unites States, destiny would have it that Pritsker met three “old world” European dressmakers and was exposed to the exciting world of high fashion and hand stitched custom couture.
Once in the States, she began her couture business and gained a following with her ELLA MODA line, being named Baltimore’s Best Custom Clothing Designer by BALTIMORE Magazine in 2002. In 2009, she decided to share her skills with others by creating the Maryland Center for Fashion Design to preserve the fine art of custom couture. The Timonium-based school also gives others with a lifelong love of fashion a chance to learn the fine sewing techniques and create wonderful fashions for themselves or others, and eventually to make their living doing something they love.
Vanessa White of Sharp-Leadenhall: A nurturer and leader of the Sharp-Leadenhall community, White has operated Vanessa Vintage Treasures in Federal Hill for 22 years and has been a stable presence through times of great change in the neighborhood.
For over 10 years with a shop customer, she has partnered to create and help with the After School program for the children at Lockerman-Bundy Elementary School, teaching arts, crafts and quilting. Serving as the “Quilt Doctor” and helping out the kids, gives her great joy.
She also is a generous supporter of the St. Jerome's Headstart spring fundraiser. Always thinking about the young people in the Sharp-Leadenhall neighborhood, Vanessa solicited Federal Hill merchants and they worked together to host holiday parties for the children and in the summer months, to organize with her church, a fund drive for their school supplies.
Marianne Kelly of Ruxton: President and founder of Image Recovery Centers®, a division of Total Image Care, Inc., Kelly is a certified image consultant, with specialized training in makeup application, color analysis and wardrobe planning, a licensed professional hair designer certified in clinical cosmetology, and a certified mastectomy fitter.
Her personal story influenced the creation of Image Recovery Centers. As a teenager, she suffered the loss of a sibling to leukemia. In 1976, cancer struck again when her daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. Although the child recovered fully, Kelly saw first-hand how dramatically cancer and cancer treatment can alter a person’s appearance and self-esteem.
In 1993, Kelly established the first hospital-based Image Recovery Center at MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. What began as Kelly personally wheeling her cosmetic cart around the hospital to visit the patients soon grew into a complete appearance rehabilitation program within the hospital. She raised $30,000 and donated it to the hospital’s foundation to be earmarked to fund the program for patients.
The 2013 Spirited Woman of Baltimore Award to honor an incredibly accomplished woman in the prime of her life who acts as an example, leader and mentor in her community and profession and has done so for some time, goes to . . .
Alice Ann Finnerty of Guilford: Regarded as “a truly amazing leader and an outstanding local businesswoman and community volunteer,” Finnerty owns the oldest consignment store in Maryland, The Turnover Shop, and for several years owned Finnerteas as well.
Finnerty guided the Junior League’s largest community investment, helping forge relationships, raise money, get political buy-in and facilitate discussions within the community and among funders and local businesses to create the Hampden Family Center, now a hub of support for the Hampden community.
She went on to lead the Hampden Family Center board for many, many years, took a break and is now back on the board.
She also served on the Union Memorial board of directors and the Hampden Business and Community Councils, on several City commissions, appointed by then Mayor Schaefer, Finnerty has served on the Mercy High School board of trustees and was a member of their first capital campaign committee and is a past board member of The Caroline Center, for whom she hosted numerous events at the tearoom and assisted with their entrepreneurship program.
Today, she is actively involved in the reunion committees of her local alma maters – Notre Dame Preparatory School and Union Memorial Hospital’s Nursing School – and with her grandchildren's schools.
Admission to the Spirited Women of Baltimore Power Lunch is $70 per ticket through September 6 and $75 thereafter. “Spirited Supporter” Tables of 10 including program recognition are available at $800. For more information about the Spirited Women of Baltimore Awards, event tickets or sponsorships, visit http://mycity4her.com/spirited-women-awards or call 410.769.6450.
Congratulations to all the deserving 2013 Spirited Women of Baltimore Award winners!