Career Women of Achievement Luncheon

YWCA 2019 Annual Career Women of Achievement

Wednesday, May 8, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  


NOMINATIONS Now Being Accepted

Due November 30, 2018 



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Duke Energy Convention Center

Partner Benefits 

2018 Partners

Full Listing of Past Honorees

Past Keynote Speakers



The YWCA Career Women of Achievement Luncheon was established in 1980 to increase community awareness and appreciation of the diverse contributions of women in the work force and in the community. The luncheon has evolved into the YWCA's largest fundraising event, sponsored by 150 companies and organizations each year, with an attendance of over 2,100. All proceeds directly benefit YWCA programs, supporting its mission to eliminate racism and empower women.

Upwards of 75 women are nominated to be Career Women of Achievement each year. An independent panel of 5 community leaders selects women who exemplify personal career success, dynamic leadership qualities and the unique ability to serve as role models. Former honorees include artists, physicians, educators, executives, politicians, lawyers, human service workers, entrepreneurs, and law enforcement officers.


2018 39th Annual Career Women of Achievement Luncheon



2018 Honorees
Front: Carolyn Wallace, Debbie Hayes, Ashley Judd, Wijdan Jreisat, Donna Salyers
Back: Kimberly Halbauer, Stacey Browning, Cathy Bernardino Bailey, Tracy Cook



 Barbara Perez, YWCA President/CEO, Susan Zaunbrecher, Co-Chair, Ashley Judd, Hope Felton-Miller, Board Chair, Christi Cornette, Co-Chair



Natera Bean, Mamie Earl Sells Scholar, Ashley Judd, Beverly Hector, Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Scholar


 2018 Honoree & Scholar Bios


Watch Past Honoree, Scholar and YWCA videos.

Keynote Speaker




Ashley Judd is well known for dexterously starring in both box office hits and for turning in unforgettable performances in fine independent films. From her debut in Sundance Film Festival grand jury prize winner, Ruby In Paradise, to Where the Heart Is, Simon Burch, Helen, De-Lovely and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, her films tell very personal stories-- which is exactly what Judd does when she is not making movies. But the stories she tells are not about being a Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actress or about making People magazine's “50 Most Beautiful People” list three times.

Ashley Judd is a feminist and social justice humanitarian. She has been working internationally, with NGO’S, grass roots organizations, governments, and supranational bodies since 2004. Presently, she serves as Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA, is the Global Ambassador for Population Services International, and also for Polaris Project. She serves on the Advisory Boards of International Center for Research on Women, Apne Aap Worldwide, and Demand Abolition. She is Chairperson of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project: Curbing Abuse, Expanding Freedom. She has also served as a board member for Population Services International (PSI) and as Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS.

She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, and in 2010, earned an Master of Public Administration (MPA) from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her paper, Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice won the Dean’s Scholar Award at Harvard Law School.

Ms. Judd speaks on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves.

Judd has traveled the world to do international public health work on all fronts– maternal health, child survival, human rights, family planning, STD and HIV prevention and malaria prevention and treatment. She has experienced firsthand the connection between poverty, illness and gender inequality and how that sets up the pain and degradation that is sex and labor slavery (on which she testified before the General Assembly of the United Nations). Judd says, "The more we hear their stories, the more motivated we are to heal them and the social systems that victimized them in the first place. I believe with all my soul that the art of compassionate witnessing is at the core of global change and peace building."

She has spoken at many prestigious conferences around the world, including the London School of Economics' Family Planning Summit, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She also hosted a talk with President Clinton on the work of the Clinton Foundation for the London School of Economics. In 2012, she spoke on the floor of the Democratic National Convention as the delegate from Tennessee asked to cast the ballots for the party's nominee for president and vice president. She is also passionate about the environment. An eighth generation Kentuckian, she is an outspoken critic of mountaintop removal coal mining. A proponent of a "green collar" economy, Judd is committed to helping find innovative renewable energy solutions.

She frequently serves as an expert panelist at international conferences, is a sought after public speaker and is a widely published OpEd author, with a diverse and unique social media presence. Her book, “All That Is Bitter and Sweet,” detailing her visits to grassroots programs in 13 countries, was a New York Times bestseller.

She is well recognized for her work on behalf others. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Muhammad Ali Kentucky Humanitarian Award, and her alma mater, University of Kentucky, established the Ashley T. Judd Distinguished Graduate Fellowship in the Office for Policy Studies on Violence Against Women. She was also featured on the cover of TIME Magazine’s 2017 Person of the Year issue honoring the “The Silence Breakers, “ the thousands of people across the world who have come forward with their experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

Whether it's on behalf of a patient dying from a preventable illness a world away or on behalf a woman struggling with mental illness and abuse, Judd is telling the stories of the vulnerable and the at-risk.

Judd says, "I don't do it because I'm an actor. I do it because I'm a human being."




Luncheon Co-Chairs


Christi Cornette is Chief Culture Officer for Cincinnati Bell, Inc., and reports directly to Leigh Fox, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cincinnati Bell. As Chief Culture Officer, Christi is responsible for Cincinnati Bell’s corporate marketing, brand strategy, employee development, human resources, internal and external communication, community involvement, and events and sponsorships.

Christi brings more than 30 years of Marketing, Sales and Technology experience to Cincinnati Bell. She joined CBTS in 2001 and served for five years as Vice President of Marketing. In her most recent role as Senior Vice President of Marketing for Cincinnati Bell, which started in 2013, Christi was responsible for product marketing, partner management, branding, sponsorships and communications.
Christi is an active mentor for females in the workplace; she leads the company’s culture and diversity initiative; and she serves on the Board of Directors for CancerFree KIDS. She has a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. In 2016, Christi was named a YWCA Career Woman of Achievement.



Susan B. Zaunbrecher chairs the Corporate Department at Dinsmore and as chair oversees one of the largest law firm corporate groups in the Midwest region, with over 150 lawyers in 17 offices. She also sits on the Firm’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee which oversees the Firm’s 650+ lawyers in 21 cities. Susan continues her legal practice which focuses on corporate law, mergers & acquisitions and regulatory and securities matters for public and private companies, particularly financial institutions.

Susan regularly writes and speaks on financial institutions matters. She sits on numerous community boards including Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, University of Cincinnati Economics Center, Pro Bono Partnership of Ohio and Downtown Cincinnati Inc. Susan was named a YWCA Career Woman of Achievement in 2016.

Susan graduated from Tulane University and University of Cincinnati College of Law.


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