Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) Bestows Applause Award to Female Leaders Advancing Women's Business

Jul 18, 2012, 09:00 ET from Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) bestowed three Applause Awards honoring those who have made exceptional accomplishments expanding opportunities for women's business enterprises (WBEs).  The awards were presented at WBENC's National Conference and Business Fair convening over 3,000 corporations and women's businesses in Orlando, Florida in June.

"WBENC is proud to recognize leaders who are changing the landscape for women's business success," said Pamela Prince-Eason, President and CEO of WBENC, the leading authority on and advocate for women's businesses as suppliers to the nation's corporations and government entities.  "From filling the pipeline of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)-educated women, to enhancing marketplace access for women's businesses in both the corporate and Federal contracting marketplace, our 2012 Applause Award winners are enriching our present and future economy."

WBENC's Applause Award recipients are selected based on their impact on the growth of Women's Business Enterprises (WBEs); creation of policies, procedures or initiatives that increase opportunities for WBEs; and innovative and inspirational leadership on behalf of women business owners and their companies.

Two corporate executives receiving the Applause Award were Debra Stewart, Director, Supplier Diversity, Workforce Development and Diversity Outreach at Shell Oil Company; and Cyndi Hopkins, Director, Global Supplier Diversity, at Dell Inc.   Each individual has in her own industry advanced women's business growth through access as suppliers to their companies, supported diversity initiatives within or outside their organizations and mentored the next generation of executives or suppliers.

A special Applause Award went to a team of executives serving on the WBENC Board, the WBENC certification staff, and WBENC's Regional Partner Organizations (RPOs) that together enabled WBENC to deliver the new Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) certification on behalf of the Small Business Administration for its Federal Contracting Program swiftly and effectively.   

After being notified in July 2011 by the SBA of WBENC's status as one of the few organizations to provide WOSB certification, WBENC was able to begin that certification by September, generating an overwhelmingly positive response by suppliers and government entities. The recipients included:

WBENC Certification Team:

  • Candace Waterman, Senior Director of Compliance & Alliance Relationships
  • LaKesha White, Senior Certification Program Manager
  • Susan Cates, Manager, Alliance Relationships

WBENC Board members:

  • Laura Taylor, Chair of the WBENC Board and Vice President, Strategic Sourcing and Procurement Operations, at Pitney Bowes
  • Benita Fortner, Vice Chair of the WBENC Board and Director, Supplier Diversity, Raytheon
  • Cheryl Stevens, Vice President of Supplier Diversity at Energy Future Holdings, and former WBENC Board Chair
  • Pamela Prince-Eason, President & CEO, WBENC

RPOs - all 14 Regional Partner Organizations with special recognition to: 

  • Geri Swift, Chair of the Leadership Council and President, Women's Business Enterprise Council PA-DE-sNJ
  • Susan Rittscher, CEO, Center for Women and Enterprise
  • Michelle Richards, President, Women's Business Enterprise Council - Great Lakes
  • Blanca Robinson, President, Women's Business Enterprise Council – South
  • Debbie Hurst, President, Women's Business Council Southwest

About WBENC: Founded in 1997, WBENC is the nation's leading third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women, with over 11,000 WBENC-certified WBEs.  WBENC certification is accepted by more than 1,000 corporations representing America's most prestigious brands, in addition to many states, cities and other entities.   WBENC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks and accepts donations from corporations, foundations and individuals that support its mission and programs.  www.wbenc.org.

SOURCE Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)