About Women of Achievement
For nearly four decades, YWCA Columbus has been shining a bright light on the courage and compassion of leaders in our community who embody our commitment to empowering women: individuals who impact their professions, uplift their communities, fight bias, and inspire others.
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Meet Our 2023 Women of Achievement Honorees
Laurel Beatty Blunt
Judge, Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals
Judge Beatty Blunt has dedicated herself to increasing access to justice and educating citizens about their rights. After a decade as a trial court judge, she was elected to the Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals, the first Black woman to serve in that role. In addition to numerous civic activities in and around the justice system, she also teaches about the Supreme Court of the United States at the University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy.
She is a founding member of the Ohio Black Judges Association, a current board member of Alvis, Inc. and a past board member of YWCA Columbus.
CEO, Marilyn Brown Consulting, LLC
With over 35 years of experience in government and the nonprofit sector, including 14-plus years as a Franklin County Commissioner, Marilyn uses her background in organizational development to work on social justice issues. In her many roles, she coaches and trains diverse leaders and looks for ways to build relationships among people and groups who never imagine they share common ground.
She is now a consultant, helping small businesses and nonprofits be the best they can be. Marilyn and her husband, Eric, have two daughters and three grandsons. The Browns have lived in the Short North area for over 30 years.
President, Alternative Auto Care
Chris is a 1977 graduate of Hiram College. She started Alternative Auto Care in 1983 to create a women-centered auto repair shop and build a place where women could work in the field without the sexism typical of the industry. Chris believes auto repair offers women access to economic equity.
Her advocacy also extends to her 40 years of service around LGBTQ equality. Her roles have included sitting on many LGBTQ organization boards. Currently, Chris is chair of the Columbus Community Relations Commission and serves as LGBTQ community liaison to the mayor.
News Anchor, Attorney, NBC4
Colleen is an award-winning anchor at NBC4 News and the host of The Spectrum, the longest running political program in Columbus. She is also a lawyer, who has practiced as a corporate litigator and family law attorney.
She is an eight-time Emmy winner, honored for investigative, political and feature reporting, and was honored with a National Gracie Award from the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation.
Colleen also was named a Silver Circle honoree by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences. She is an advocate for a number of organizations, notably the Central Ohio Alzheimer’s Association, which she has served for more than a decade in memory of her mother.
Dr. Patrice A. Palmer, DD, LSW, MSW, CMHC
CEO, Chosen 4 Change
Dr. Palmer is an audacious and compassionate leader on the front lines of criminal and social justice reform. Her work extends to local, state, and national levels as the voice for the voiceless. Dr. Palmer utilizes her lived experiences as the driving force for systematic change.
She has been deemed an expert in a variety of areas by Ohio leaders, offering guidance on legislative improvements such as Care’s Act 2.0, Second Chance Act, and Ban-The-Box. Her work has also earned her a place in the Hall of Fame at The Ohio State University College of Social Work. She was the 2022 National Social Worker of the Year and the Kevin Dickenson Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Champion.
Bettye J. Stull
Independent Artist & Curator
Bettye is an artist, collector, and curator who began her career as an arts specialist and center director for Columbus Recreation and Parks, where she worked for 30 years. In 1989, Bettye became cultural arts director and curator for the King Arts Complex, educating youth, supporting artists, and developing nationally significant exhibitions for 25 years. In 2004, Bettye became an independent curator, lifting up Black arts and culture through organizations across Ohio.
At 91 years young and after seven decades of sharing her wisdom and talents, Bettye is still a force for the arts and a true Woman of Achievement.
Meet Our 2023 Women on the Rise
Women on the Rise are young women at the beginning of their careers who are dedicated to making a positive impact in our community and their workplaces.
Director of Client Success, Cohear
Jasmine was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She received a bachelor’s degree in history from Wake Forest University in North Carolina and a master’s degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.
Since returning to Columbus she has coached football at Northland High School and helped register over 20,000 people to vote. She is currently a member of the North Linden Area Commission and also serves as the Community Development Officer for the Community of Caring Development Foundation, the development arm of New Salem Baptist Church. Jasmine is now the director of Client Success at Cohear, a community engagement and strategy company where she connects decisionmakers with everyday experts.
Stephanie Cedeño, MPH
Director of Civic Engagement, Besa
Stephanie is a Columbus native and has spent her career serving the community she loves and calls home. She currently lives in Old Town East and holds a BA in International Studies and a Master of Public Health from the Ohio State University.
As the director of civic engagement at Besa, a local nonprofit that engages people and businesses in transformational volunteer experiences that help meet community needs, she drives the volunteer strategy for the organization, oversees philanthropic partnerships with local companies, and helps rally thousands of volunteers each year.
She also serves as a mentor for the Latina Mentoring Academy and served as the Community Service Co-Chair for the Columbus Urban League Young Professionals. She is a graduate of the YWCA Leadership for Social Change and co-chaired the Events Committee of the first Latine/Hispanic Heritage Month Committee, helping to organize the city’s first-ever Latine art show curated by Latinas.
Jona Hilario, PhD
Co-Director, OPAWL – Building AAPI Feminist Leadership
Jona is a founding member and the current co-director of OPAWL.
She was born in the Philippines and has lived in Columbus, Ohio since 2004. She holds a PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the Ohio State University.
OPAWL has changed Jona’s life and she’s grateful to be a part of it. She is committed to organizing Asian, Asian American and Pasifika women and non-binary people to collective action so we can bring about changes that allow our communities to flourish in Ohio.
Jennifer McKenzie, MOD
Human Service Executive, Strategist, and Systems Thinker
As the Managing Partner of Organized Synergy, a premier organization development firm, Jennifer brings her expertise from seven years of non-profit leadership experience to guide clients in program design, strategic grant acquisition, and impact evaluation. With a proven track record of success in human service organizations with budgets ranging between $250K and nearly $20M, Jennifer is known for her “win-win or no deal” approach and her ability to cultivate value-based partnerships. She provides guidance on program design, proposal creation, strategic partnerships, and performance-driven initiatives to help organizations reach their full potential.
Jennifer holds a bachelor’s degree from DeVry University and an Executive Master of Organization Development degree from Bowling Green State University. Recently honored as a “Woman on the Rise” by YWCA Columbus, Jennifer is passionate about uplifting the community and using the “change formula” to create social innovation. In her free time, Jennifer enjoys dairy-free ice cream flavors from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream. She resides in Pickerington, Ohio with her husband Ashon L. McKenzie, Esq., and their four children.
Ruchelle Pride, M.S., CDE®, C.L.C
Director, Office of Justice Policy & Programs, CASA of Franklin County
Ruchelle is an award-winning public servant leader with almost two decades of expertise in criminal justice, youth services, advocacy, and leadership.
She is a Restorative Practitioner who is consistently persistent in solidifying opportunities which promote the importance of serving the needs of our community. Ruchelle lends her intellectual property to a myriad of national, state, and local committees to support justice-related projects with an emphasis on race equity, community health, and economic mobility. After conducting research and continuing her advocacy for equitable justice, Ruchelle became a full voting member with the European Forum for Restorative Justice in Belgium representing the USA.
Ruchelle is a transformational public speaker, Certified Professional Life Coach, Certified Diversity Executive, Founder & CEO of The Relationship Architect – PRIDE Coaching & Consulting, LLC.
Associate Attorney, Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP
Anna is an associate at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP. Drawing on her previous experience as an administrative law judge at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and the Ohio Power Siting Board, Anna provides practical advice to clients on a wide range of utility and energy matters, including the development and permitting of solar farms and gas-fired electric generation plants in Ohio. Anna also has extensive experience in litigating matters before the Ohio Power Siting Board.
Anna strives to promote diverse lawyers and women in general as a board member of the Asian Pacific Bar Association of Central Ohio, chair of the National Asian Pacific Bar Association’s Energy, Environment and Sustainability Committee, and a member of the Jump at the Sun Society for Zora’s House.
Anna is a first generation Indian-American and speaks, reads, and writes Bengali and Hindi.
Why Women of Achievement
As YWCA Columbus strives to create a more equitable society, we believe it’s important to acknowledge our accomplishments and celebrate our progress. Women of Achievement honors leaders in our community who motivate us with their example of determination, generosity, and courage.
Women of Achievement Attendee (2022)
Women of Achievement Attendee (2022)
Women of Achievement Attendee (2020)
Women of Achievement Attendee (2020)
2023 Presenting Sponsors
2023 ACADEMY Sponsor
2023 ADVOCACY Sponsor
2023 PRODUCTION & VIDEO PARTNERS
2023 MEDIA SponsorS
2023 PEACE Sponsor
2023 justice SponsorS
2023 Freedom SponsorS
Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority
Fifth Third Bank
Installed Building Products
Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing
Vorys Sater Seymour and Pease LLP
2023 dignity SponsorS
Barnes & Thornburg
Bank of America
Cameron Mitchell Restaurants
Clark Schaeffer Hackett Business Advisors
Columbus School for Girls
Columbus School for Girls Alumnae
Columbus State Community College
Columbus Urban League
Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Community Shelter Board & Shannon Isom
Crabbe Brown James
Franklin County Board of Commissioners
Friends of Ginther
Greater Columbus Arts Council
Greater Columbus Sports Commission
Hondros Family Foundation
Judge Kim Browne, Judge Elizabeth Gill, Judge James Brown, Judge Monica Hawkins, and Judge Douglas Nobles
King Business Interiors
Mount Carmel Foundation
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
ONA Local OSUNO and MODNA
Otto Beatty III and Christie Angel
PENZONE Salons + Spas
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP
Remington Road Group
Susan Choe and Lisa Eschleman
The Ohio State University: College of Social Work, University Libraries, Office of Outreach and Engagement and Office of Student Life
The Ohio State University: Fisher College of Business and College of Nursing
The Ohio State University: Office of the President, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Alumni Association, Office of Government Affairs, College of Education and Human Ecology
The Robert Weiler Company
United Way of Central Ohio