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2023 In the Company of Women Awards honors 14 inspiring women

By Community Press Releases

Published: March 8, 2023

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As the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department marks its 34th year hosting the prestigious In the Company of Women Awards. on March 16th, 14 inspiring women leaders have been selected to join the ranks of a distinguished group of awardees.

Hosted in partnership with the Miami-Dade Commission for Women and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, the In the Company of Women Awards, presented by Amerant Bank, honors women who have excelled professionally and contributed to the community and to women’s progress through their leadership and vision. Notable alumnae include leaders from a variety of fields, including former Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, United States Representatives Frederica Wilson and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, philanthropist Adrienne Arsht, salsa legend Celia Cruz, Grammy award-winning recording artist Gloria Estefan, and philanthropist Darlene Boytell-Perez, among others. For a complete list of past winners and to learn more about In the Company of Women, visit the web page.

“The Commission for Women is a proud partner of the In the Company of Women Awards. We applaud the incredible women honored and their outstanding commitment to the betterment of women and girls in Miami-Dade County,” said Commission for Women Chair Sarah Zabel, “In the words of the late and great Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg ‘Fight for the things you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.’ Congratulations!”

“For the last 34 years, through the In the Company of Women Awards, we honor the extraordinary accomplishments of a diverse group of women leaders and their contributions to strengthening the community in which we live”, said Miami-Dade Parks Director Maria I. Nardi. “This year, we celebrate 14 amazing women who join this distinguished list of pioneers. We congratulate them and their work that inspires the next generation of leaders.”

“Congratulations to this year’s recipients of the In the Company of Women Awards. As the first female Mayor of Miami-Dade County, I’m proud to stand with these extraordinary trail blazing women who work every day to empower and inspire women and girls of all ages,” said County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. “Their passion, leadership and commitment serve as a reminder that nothing is out of reach.  I thank them for their civic and professional achievements that have helped shape this community. I also thank Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation & Open Spaces Department, the Miami-Dade Commission for Women, and the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade for the wonderful opportunity to honor the winners during Women’s History Month.”

The awards ceremony, scheduled for Thursday, March 16, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., at the Coral Gables Country Club, 997 North Greenway Drive, Coral Gables, FL, commemorates March’s Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. The event begins with a reception followed by a sit-down dinner and awards presentation.

Tickets for the awards ceremony dinner can be purchased online.

2023 Winners: 

Mayor’s Pioneer Award:
·Retha Boone-Fye, Program Director, Miami Dade County Black Affairs Advisory Board
·Rachel Silverstein, PhD, Executive Director and Waterkeeper, Miami Waterkeeper

Arts and Entertainment Award:
·Alexandra Lioutikoff, President, Latin America and U.S. Latin, Universal Music Publishing Group

Business and Economics Award:
·Pilar Guzman Zavala, CEO, Half Moon Empanadas

Communications and Literature Award:
·Gayle R. Love, Senior Division Director, Public Information and Outreach Division, Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management

Education and Research Award:
·Dr. Jennifer S. Durocher, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics; Director, University of Miami Center for Autism & Related Disabilities

Government and Law Award – Elected:
·Danielle Cohen Higgins, Miami-Dade County Commissioner, District 8, Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners

Government and Law Award – Non-elected:
·Aileen Bouclé, AICP, Executive Director, Miami-Dade Transportation Planning Organization
·Hydi Webb, Port Director & CEO, Port of Miami

Health and Human Services Award:
·Alexandra Villoch, CEO, Baptist Health Foundation

Science and Technology Award:
·Melissa Medina, Founding Executive and President, eMerge Americas

Sports and Athletics Award:
·Kim Ng, General Manager, Miami Marlins

Young Professional Award:
·Angelica Santibañez, Community Engagement, Public Policy Senior Manager, Amazon

Community Spirit Award:
·Honorable Denise Lane, Founder/President, Sisters in Spirit of South Florida, Inc.

In the Company of Women is made possible by the support of generous sponsors, including Amerant Bank, Florida East Coast Industries, Half Moon Empanadas, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Kevin Marino Cabrera, District 6, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Roberto J. Gonzalez, District 11, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Danielle Cohen Higgins, District 8, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Micky Steinberg, District 4, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Juan Carlos Bermudez, District 12, Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, Amazon, Jackson Health Systems, Miami International Airport, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Senator Rene Garcia, District 13, Port Miami, Miami-Dade County Solid Waste Management, Miami-Dade Commissioner Kionne L. McGhee, District 9, Uber, Baptist Health South Florida, FPL, Miami-Dade County Office of Community Advocacy, Miami-Dade County Vice Chairman Anthony Rodriguez, District 10, and Ronald L. Book, PA, and Bacardi.

Proceeds from In the Company of Women Awards will be used to benefit the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, the fundraising arm of Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, to support  parks and parks programming throughout the county, including the Girls Empowerment and Mentoring (GEM) Program at Miami-Dade County Women’s Park.

About Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces and the In the Company of Women Awards:
Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces is the third largest county park system in the United States, consisting of more than 285 parks and 40,000+ acres of parks and natural areas, comprised of active, passive parklands and nature preserves. It is one of the most unique park and recreation systems in the world and focused on placemaking, health and fitness, and conservation and stewardship.

The In the Company of Women Awards Ceremony, presented by Amerant Bank, highlights the work and contributions of The Women’s Park – a Miami-Dade County Park – which opened in 1992 to recognize and celebrate women’s impact and influences in society.  It is the first park in the nation of its kind, spearheaded by pioneer feminist Roxcy O’Neal Bolton, a coalition of women leaders, former Miami-Dade Mayor, the late Stephen P. Clark, and with the support of the Board of County Commissioners, it stands as a symbol of the trials and triumphs women have faced throughout the years.

The Women’s Park is home to the Girls Empowerment and Mentoring (G.E.M.) Summer Arts Camp, for girls ages 6-14, providing visual and performing arts and self-enrichment experiences, through classes and workshops in dance, musical theatre, music/chorus, painting, journalism, photography/videography, women’s history, community service, and leadership development.

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