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Chamber to host 9th Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon

062018 Women of Excellence

Last year's winners of the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce's Women of Excellence Awards are shown. This year's Women of Excellence Luncheon will be held at the Carolina Center on Corporate Drive Wednesday at noon.

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From staff reports

Friday, June 14, 2019

Area leaders in business, education, local government and nonprofit services — many of them also volunteers in the community or at their church — are among the 20 nominees for the five Women of Excellence Awards that will be presented by the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce next week.

The Chamber will host its 9th annual Women of Excellence luncheon at The Carolina Center on Corporate Drive on Wednesday at noon. Doors open at 11:30 for those planning to attend.

Holly Staples, president of the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce, said this year's nominees come from a range of career paths. For example, one nominee is a former NASA employee. Another is a retired member of the military who spent 23 years in the U.S. Army. Another is a certified pilot instructor. Several are community philanthropists.

This year's nominees include:

* Liz Batson, a social worker for the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, board member of ECP Backpacks, and a church and community volunteer;

* Brenda Bowman, organizer of this year's Camden County's Litter Sweep, creator of Camden County's newsletter, and organizer of the 2020 Camden County Heritage Festival;

* Rita Cornelius, a fitness coach at Albemarle Family YMCA, Albemarle Family YMCA Volunteer of the Year for 2017, and a community volunteer;

* Amber Davis, principal at Camden County High School and Camden Early College High School;

* Norma James, broker in charge for Taylor Mueller Realty, first vice-president of the Home Builders Association of Northeastern North Carolina, a past president of the Albemarle Area Association of Realtors and for Elizabeth City Habitat for Humanity, a former trustee at Elizabeth City State University, and a three-time Realtor of the Year;

* Rhonda James-Davis, interim superintendent of Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools, director of career and technical education for ECPPS, a NASA-certified mechanical engineer designer and a former NASA employee, a former Principal of the Year, and a community and church volunteer;

* Eden King, a certified pilot instructor and one of 7 percent of female pilots in the U.S.;

* Ginger Midgett, finance director of Albemarle Regional Health Services and a community volunteer;

* Crystal Owen, a dispatcher with Pasquotank-Camden 911 Central Communications, co-owner of Orange Crate of Elizabeth City, and an Emergency Medical Dispatcher of the Year;

* Liz Reasoner, executive director of Food Bank of the Albemarle, a past president of Elizabeth City Rotary, and board member for Smart Start and the area Homeless Coalition;

* Rachel Reddick, founder and current president of the Pasquotank County Chapter of AARP and a church and community volunteer;

* Dena Richardson, interim fire marshal for the city of Elizabeth City and a community volunteer;

* Monica Sandridge, a former member of the Army who served 23 years in the military, the first female officer of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6060 who also was instrumental in Post 6060 being named an All-American Post, and captain of the VFW Honor Guard;

* Tammy Sawyer, director of community schools and interim human resources director for ECPPS, co-founder of ECP Backpacks, and a church volunteer.

* Abigail Simmons, owner of Abbey's Waggin Tales and organizer of the annual Cause for Paws Charity Dog Walk;

* Lorna Smith, a nurse at the Children's Developmental Services Agency and a church volunteer

* Judy Stallings, community liaison for the Education Foundation for ECPPS, a community volunteer and a philanthropist;

* Mary Wallace, owner of Nehemiah Christian Counseling and a church and community volunteer;

* Jazsimin Wood, a preschool teacher at Albemarle School and a church volunteer;

* Jeannie Young, founder of her own daycare center and school, a member of Elizabeth City City Council, and a philanthropist.

A 21st nominee, Jeannette Evans, voluntarily withdrew her nomination, Staples said.

Nominations for this year's Women of Excellence awards were accepted from late April to late May. A panel of past winners of the award then chose this year's five winners who will be announced on Wednesday, Staples said.

Unlike previous Women of Excellence luncheons, this year's won't feature a keynote speaker. A representative of the event's sponsor, Piedmont Natural Gas, will give remarks, Staples said.

Also speaking at Wednesday's event will be the nominators of this year's five winners, who will talk about why their nominee is deserving of the award, and the five winners themselves.

Staples said response to this year's luncheon, which will be catered by Carolina Barbecue, has been good.

"We're expecting 125 people," she said.

Tickets are $25. Corporate tables are also available for $225. For information, call 335-4365 or visit elizabethcitychamber.org/events.

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