Career Women of Achievement

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Luncheon Legacy

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 workforce 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.


2020 Event

This year, our agency took the unprecedented step by pivoting from our annual Career Women of Achievement Luncheon to broadcasting a version on network television.

We met the COVID-19 crisis head-on by transforming the previously-scheduled May 6 luncheon into a TV event. 

Nearly 15,000 viewers tuned in to watch our 41st Annual Career Woman of Achievement on June 18th!


Program Book

Take a look through our digital Career Women of Achievement Program Book to read more about our Honorees, Scholars & Community Partners!


program cover



During the June 18th broadcast, viewers donated $16,000 to support our Domestic Violence Shelters!

Please help us reach our fundraising goal of $20,000.

Text ONAMISSION to 44321 to give on your phone, or click on the image above for a link to donate online.

Thank you!


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Thank you to our amazing partners at Duke Energy Convention Center for lighting up the CINCINNATI sign orange through June 18th in honor of our 2020 Career Women of Achievement! 


cincinnati sign

Introducing the 2020 Career Women of Achievement Honorees!

Visit our YouTube Channel to watch the Honoree Videos

Iris Simpson Bush

President, CEO

Pig Works

Deborah Gentry Davis

Vice President of Human Resources

Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati

Brandi Nicole Hutchins Elliott, EdD

Director, Office of Ethnic Programs & Services

University of Cincinnati

Jennifer Loeb Goodin

Executive Director

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati

Roni Luckenbill

Chief Executive Officer

Girl Scouts of Western Ohio

Jeanne Rehling-Golliher

President & CEO

Cincinnati Development Fund

Verna L. Williams

Dean & Nippert Professor of Law

University of Cincinnati College of Law

Mary Zalla

Global President Consumer Brands & Managing Director Cincinnati


*Honoree Photo Credit: Mary Strubbe Photgraphy



41st Annual Luncheon Co-Chairs

Debbie Hayes

Vice President & Chief Compliance Officer, The Christ Hospital Network

Lakshmi Sammarco, MD

Hamilton County Coroner

Keynote Speaker Patty Brisben

Patty Brisben
Founder & Chair, Pure Romance

In 1983, Patty was a single mother of four children working as a medical assistant. To make more time for her children and improve the quality of their lives, she took a leap and started working as a consultant selling intimacy products following a feature on the Phil Donohue Show. Following 10 productive years as a top sales earner, the company she worked for shut its doors. With $5,000, Patty launched the company that would become Pure Romance from her basement and provided a new opportunity to the 55 consultants who were left stranded when the previous company folded. That company would later be known as Pure Romance and currently has an extensive network of 30,000 consultants across the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Puerto Rico, and South Africa.
Since founding Pure Romance in 1993, Patty’s drive to empower and educate women and her truly inspiring leadership abilities have transformed the company into a multi-million dollar business. This has made Pure Romance one of the industry’s foremost companies, as well as a credible resource for women’s sexual health education and the second largest women owned business in the Greater Cincinnati area.
In 2006, Patty launched the Patty Brisben Foundation for Women’s Sexual Health. In collaboration with universities and research organizations, the Foundation aims to lead change by directing resources and funding research to advocate for women’s sexual health, and advance the understanding of the issues facing women’s sexuality. To date, the Foundation has raised over $5 million to support research projects and educational initiatives to ensure women have the information they need to live healthy, fulfilled lives.
Patty was recently inducted in to the Greater Cincinnati Business Hall of Fame and was honored as a YWCA Career Woman of Achievement in 2017.