Champions for Women in Business Awards Announced at Miami Beach Convention Center

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The Champions for Women in Business Awards were handed out on Wednesday at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The awards, given at the annual Women's Congress(http://www.thewomenscongress.com) salute outstanding women, men, companies and organizations that support and improve opportunities for women business leaders and business owners. Criteria for consideration included leadership, mentoring, outreach, education and funding of enterprises and corporate initiatives in support of women during 2007.

The Champions for Women in Business Awards were handed out on Wednesday at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The awards, given at the annual Women's Congress(http://www.thewomenscongress.com) salute outstanding women, men, companies and organizations that support and improve opportunities for women business leaders and business owners. Criteria for consideration included leadership, mentoring, outreach, education and funding of enterprises and corporate initiatives in support of women during 2007.

Over 100 nominations were received for companies, corporate women and men, entrepreneurs and non-profit executives and organizations.

And the winners are:

Company Champion award: Given to a company that supports women through leadership, mentoring and educational programs and has successfully increased the number of women in senior leadership and/or officer positions.

Wellpoint
WellPoint best practices around career and leadership development focusing on women and minorities have resulted in a significant number of women achieving top leadership positions. With almost 40% of all corporate executives being women and a female employee population of 77%, WellPoint is a true champion of women in business. WellPoint's most visible women leader is the President and CEO, Angela Braly, who has been recognized as one of the most powerful women in corporate America. Their commitment is reflected in numerous family-friendly benefits, development opportunities, education programs, and a work environment that promotes the advancement of women.

Individual Corporate Champion award: Given to a corporate executive who passionately supports, mentors and promotes women within and outside their company.

Christine St. Clare, Partner, KPMG
As a 32-year veteran of KPMG, Christine is a beacon for the advancement of women and has been instrumental in establishing KPMG's position as a leader in women's issues. She is a founding member of KPMG's Women's Advisory Board (WAB). Christine has officially mentored more than 25 women who have advanced their careers. Christine also advocates for women outside of KPMG. Additional, this past year she established KPMG's sponsorship of Women Corporate Directors (WCD), which facilitates the sharing of experience and knowledge that will help women become more effective board members. A firm believer in giving back to the community, Christine is a member of the Women's Leadership council of United Way, Metro Atlanta, and serves on the board for several other academic and non-profit organizations.

Entrepreneur Champion Award: Entrepreneur that demonstrates leadership qualities by supporting and mentoring women professionals within and outside their company.

Tie:
Lena West, Founder & CEO, xynoMedia Technology
Lena has done a lot of work with women owned businesses and she always makes time to mentor other women starting businesses. Eighty percent of her client base is women-owned companies. She's a woman of great integrity, compassion, and generosity. Not only does she have high business and moral standards in delivering quality services, she is also committed to helping women to be wildly successful. A dedication to women in business and helping them to find the best way to achieve their business goals is constantly being demonstrated as evidenced through Ms. West pro bono work, Board positions, numerous organization memberships and various speaking engagements.

Peggy Hollander, Managing Partner, The Succession Group
When I think of a woman in business who serves as a leader, a role model and an advocate for other women, I think of Peggy Hollander. Peggy's company, The Succession Group, specializes in wealth-transfer and business succession planning for an exclusive roster of high net-worth individuals, families and affluent business owners. Having Peggy support the women advisors at AXA is critical for us because she arguably is the most well-known and most successful woman financial advisor affiliated with our company. As a member of our Women's Leadership Council, Peggy is dedicated to fostering and mentoring other women, and has spoken for us frequently at local, regional and national events - each talk more inspirational than the one before, and each with key business building ideas for women that can make an impact on their success. Peggy is committed to providing opportunities for the advancement of her women employees, all currently women. Peggy is passionate about giving back to her community and serves on the United Way of America's Planned Giving Committee; the United Way of Miami-Dade's Board of Directors; and is a member of the United Way's Alexis de Tocqueville Society.

Non-Profit Champion Award: Given to a non-profit executive or organization that supports women business professionals and owners through education, funding or outreach.

Sharon Vosmek, CEO AND Astia
Sharon has done a great deal through her work at Astia to address the issue of women's access to capital. Through her work at Astia, Sharon upholds two fundamental principles: that gender should not be part of the equation of calculating business risk and that there is an objective of giving back. Sharon has worked tirelessly to foster the full participation and leadership of women in entrepreneurship and as accelerators of high growth businesses.

Astia is a unique organization that truly champions female entrepreneurs. I have not seen a more dedicated and effective non-profit that tirelessly champions women in business and delivers tangible results. Astia has developed, and actively taps, a powerful network of CEOs, executives, investors, lawyers and other service providers, which advises and mentors women-led companies. Astia helps to close a critical funding gap that enables women to get in the game and their two programs have resulted in over $250 million in funding for companies.

Humanitarian Champion award: Given to a non-profit executive or organization that empowers women worldwide to be self sustainable through education, funding and business support.

Marcia Odell, Director of WORTH/PACT
Marcia Odell has envisioned, developed and executed the most extraordinary program reaching over 100,000 women in Africa alone in less than 3 years. This unique, self-sustaining project is grass roots at it's best and follows a similar model she developed that taught 150,000 Nepalese women to read and write in only a few years and tens of thousands to become financially productive. Marcia empowers women in Africa and Asia by introducing a program to teach the women how to read, write and do math. The women use these skills to start their own village banks and lend money to other women to start their own businesses. It's a wonderful program to empower women in countries where women aren't usually given opportunities like this. It helps to increase the wealth of the entire village.

About The Women's Congress
The Women's Congress combines a business exhibition, innovative matchmaking sessions in supplier diversity and recruiting, a venture fair, and a conference designed to provide the education necessary for women to take their businesses and careers to the highest levels. Sessions focus on corporate leadership, entrepreneurial growth and today's hot business topics. The business expo features products and services to run businesses effectively and profitably, and connects exhibiting companies with the chief purchasing officers and decision makers in business today. Women's leadership is transforming business, and the Women's Congress will accelerate that development through two days of business education and exchange. For more information, visit http://www.thewomenscongress.com.

Media contacts:
Patricia San Pedro                                                        
San Pedro Productions                                                
305-445-4979                                                                

Sascha Gardiner
The Women's Congress
203-795-8983 x105

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