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2020 Class of Women of the Year – Pinnacle Award Winners Announced

This article was archived on 12/15/2019

YWCA in partnership with the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women is excited to announce the winners of the coveted 2020 Women of the Year – Pinnacle Awards.

The winners are:

Anna C. Roth Legacy Award: Tina Pena — Associate professor of Spanish & Community/Medical Interpreter Trainer at TCC. Recipient of the 2015 Human Rights Award by the United Nations of Oklahoma. 2017 Newsmaker Award by the Association for Women in Communications and the 2018 Community Leader Award by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Arts and Humanities: Kenya Carter — The Designer and Creator of the K. Nicole brand. She is a Fashion Designer, Boutique Owner and Community Volunteer.

Corporate/Business/Trade: Shella Bowlin — Senior Director Strategy and Analytics Cherokee Nation Businesses and Board Member Youth Services Tulsa, the only Tulsa non-profit organization focused solely on adolescents and young adults.

Community Building: Laurie Tilley — Executive Vice President of Brand Strategy at Littlefield Agency. Former Board Chair and current board member, Tulsa YMCA recognized as 2010 Volunteer of the Year. Co-Founder of Project Elf which began as a grassroots network that could help schoolkids with basic needs today serves every TPS school (more than 80), some private schools, and has over 800 volunteers.

Education and Public Service: Omare Jimmerson — Program Director Strong Tomorrows; A school-based initiative that identifies and serves both mothers and fathers in junior high and high school by providing one-on-one case management for participating students, as well as education and training on a host of topics including prenatal care, child birth, career planning, health and high-quality child care.

Rising Star: Gabriella Ortega Lagorin — Program Director Take Control Initiative; The choice of when and if to have children is associated with securing better women’s health and pregnancy outcomes. TCI drives this change by breaking down social, economic, and clinical barriers to access with a goal of promoting health equity for women.

Corporate Champion: Junior League — Since 1923, JLT has provided volunteer leadership in more than 100 community projects in the areas of healthcare, education, social services, child abuse prevention, homelessness, domestic violence prevention, food insecurity, and many more.

“This event was originally designed to help elevate the voice of women and the incredible contributions that women have made and continue to make that impacts lives in Tulsa and around the world,” said Julie Davis, Chief Executive Officer for YWCA Tulsa. “We are excited to celebrate these incredible women at our 2020 Pearl Party on International Women’s Day, and continue to raise the level of conversation around the importance of inclusive leadership at all levels.”

“We are proud to honor these Tulsa women who are making valuable contributions to our community through their professional work and volunteer activities,” said Mayor G.T. Bynum. “These women have distinguished themselves through accomplishments in their fields of expertise and have stepped up as advocates and leaders in our city.”

The honorees were selected from nominations of women across Tulsa for their outstanding accomplishments and/or projects of distinction. Each honoree has labored tirelessly throughout her career and philanthropic endeavors to empower women and serve individuals in the Tulsa community.

Each honoree upholds the legacy of the Pinnacle Awards, which is reflected in women who are role models in their professions, take risks on behalf of others, perform community service, and advocate for women’s issues.

Winners will be honored on Thursday, March 5, 2020 at the Mayo Hotel in downtown Tulsa. The Pearl Party is a great way for people to support and celebrate the investment that women are making in our community every day. It also supports the work that YWCA Tulsa does. To sponsor the Pearl Party or get more information about this event, visit

All Women of the Year – Pinnacle Award winners are available for interview through YWCA Tulsa. Please contact Director of Development, Zoe Cauley to make arrangements with the winners.

History of the Two Awards
Two powerhouse advocates for women’s rights merged forces in 2015 to bring the first ever Women of the Year – Pinnacle Awards ceremony to Tulsa. The Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women has honored more than 200 Tulsa women with the Pinnacle Award since its inception in 1987. After celebrating their 100-year anniversary in December 2014, YWCA honored their first Women of the Year at Wine, Women and Shoes in April 2015. Given the success of both awards and the shared objective, YWCA’s board of directors and the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women voted unanimously to approve the organic partnership. Over the past 5 years we’ve collectively honored approximately 40 women.

About YWCA
YWCA is on a mission to stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities. Each year YWCA creates real change in the lives of more than 10,000 women, men, and children through direct service programs while also focusing on advocacy efforts that reduce disparities in our region. YWCA’s work begins with a focus on empowering and advancing ALL women, making racial justice - along with women’s empowerment – a core component of its mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

Infusing the ideals of the mission, YWCA’s direct service departments are:

About the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women
The Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women acts as the central clearinghouse and coordinating agency for activities and information relating to women. The commission is charged with helping women develop a collective voice to influence public policy and effect positive changes in their lives, in addition to stimulating research in the area of women’s legal rights; educating the community on the status of women by publicizing information on women’s rights and obligations; reviewing the range of services available to women to enable them to fully contribute to society through their homes and participation in community life; and to strengthening existing services and assisting public, commercial, cooperative or voluntary agencies in pursuing needed services. More information on the Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women can be found online.