Women of Distinction Ceremony

The only way to predict your future is to create it. Lincoln said it, and every year NCCWSL honors women who have lived it! They’ve found their place, they’re making it better, and they’re going to empower you to do the same.

Join us at the Women of Distinction Awards ceremony as these women share their advice, inspiration, and experience with the future leaders of tomorrow (that’s you, right?). After hearing their incredible stories, you’ll have the opportunity to meet them, face-to-face, during the reception after the ceremony.

Check out the highlights from the 2013 Women of Distinction ceremony.

When does this year’s ceremony take place?

The event will be held Thursday, June 5, 2014, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

How can I attend the ceremony?

If you’ve registered for NCCWSL 2014, you’re all set to attend.

Who are the 2014 NCCWSL Women of Distinction?

Hattie businessHattie Kauffman
Television anchor and news correspondent

Hattie Kauffman is a veteran network news correspondent and the author of Falling into Place: A Memoir of Overcoming. Raised in poverty, Kauffman achieved success as a television anchor and news correspondent for ABC and then CBS. In 1989 she became the first Native American to file a report on a network evening news broadcast. Kauffman has interviewed heads of state, Oscar winners, and Olympic athletes and has covered many major stories in the United States including the Oklahoma City bombing. A member of the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, Kauffman is a frequent speaker for Native American youth groups and is a longtime supporter of the American Indian College Fund. Read more »

Lily LiuLily Liu
Entrepreneur

Lily Liu started her career working for local government on a variety of topics ranging from civic engagement to educational funding to innovative technology projects. She spent time working for the Transportation Security Administration, the city of Long Beach, California, and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s special projects and analytics team. Inspired by her time on Bloomberg’s project, she went on to start PublicStuff, a civic engagement platform designed to promote communication between local government and residents. PublicStuff is utilized in small to large cities across the world, including Palo Alto, California; Philadelphia; and New York City. Liu was recently named one of Forbes magazine’s 30 top entrepreneurs under 30 and one of Business Insider’s startup CEOs to watch. She received her master of science from Carnegie Mellon University and is a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie and lover of the arts. Learn more about Liu on her website. Read more »

Melroy-webPamela Ann Melroy
NASA astronaut

A former NASA astronaut, Pam Melroy is one of only two women to command the space shuttle. She is a retired Air Force colonel and test pilot and a veteran of Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. She currently serves as deputy director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Commissioned through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program, Melroy attended undergraduate pilot training at Reese Air Force Base. She flew the KC-10 at Barksdale Air Force Base as co-pilot, aircraft commander, and instructor pilot before attending the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base. Upon graduation, she was assigned to the C-17 Combined Test Force, where she served as a test pilot until NASA selected her to be an astronaut candidate.

As an astronaut, she flew three missions in space: as space shuttle pilot during STS-92 in 2000 and STS-112 in 2002 and as space shuttle commander during STS-120 in 2007. All three missions were assembly missions to build the International Space Station. During her time at NASA, Melroy performed support duties for launch and landing and capsule communicator duties in mission control. She also served as the lead for the crew module on the Columbia reconstruction team, deputy project manager for the Columbia crew survival investigation team, and branch chief for the Orion branch of the Astronaut Office. She has logged more than 924 hours (more than 38 days) in space.

Melroy is a member of the Wellesley College Board of Trustees, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots, the Association of Space Explorers, and The Ninety-Nines. She received a bachelor’s degree in physics and astronomy from Wellesley College and a master’s degree in earth and planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Read more »


Pollard Headshot-webDeRionne P. Pollard
President of Montgomery College in Maryland

President of Montgomery College DeRionne P. Pollard is committed to empowering students by providing higher education opportunities for all and seeking innovative ways to support their success. She serves on a number of national and local boards, including those focused on the future of higher education and the improvement of Montgomery County, Maryland. Pollard has also partnered with Montgomery County public schools and the Universities at Shady Grove to create Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES), a support program that helps students transition from high school to college graduation.

A proud graduate of the Leadership Montgomery program, Pollard was named its Outstanding Leader for 2013. She has been included in Washingtonian magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women; Bethesda magazine’s 50 Most Fascinating People, Places, and Things; and the Daily Record’s Influential Marylanders. Pollard has also received the Washington Business Journal’s Minority Business Leader Award. Read more »

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Pollard formerly served as president of Las Positas College in Livermore, California. She received her doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies in higher education from Loyola University, Chicago, and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in English from Iowa State University.


Judy Smith, Judy Smith ManagementJudy Smith
Founder and President of Smith & Company

Judy Smith is the founder and president of Smith & Company, a strategic and crisis communications firm. Perhaps best known for her expertise as a crisis management adviser, Smith has served as a consultant for a host of high-profile clients over the course of her career. She honed her skills through her experiences with some of the most historic and sensational events of our time, including the Iran Contra investigation; the prosecution of former Washington, D.C., Mayor Marion Barry; the Gulf War; the Los Angeles riots; the confirmation hearings of Justice Clarence Thomas; the Monica Lewinsky scandal; the congressional inquiry of Enron; the Gen. David Petraeus scandal; and the U.N. Foundation and World Health Organization response to the SARS epidemic.

In addition to her work as a communications adviser, Smith serves as a counselor to Fortune 500 corporations and has provided strategic advice on a variety of corporate communications issues. She has worked with federal agencies and organizations on issues including the housing crisis, childhood obesity, education, and economic development. She has also advised international companies and governments.

Before founding Smith & Company, Smith was a partner at several Washington, D.C.-based public relations firms. Before that, she was a senior vice president at NBC, a White House appointee, an assistant U.S. attorney, an associate counsel for the U.S. Office of the Independent Counsel, a writer, and a public affairs expert.

An experienced and sought-after crisis management expert, Smith is also co-executive producer of the ABC series Scandal, which was inspired by her wide-ranging career as a professional crises “fixer”.

Smith’s book, Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities into Your Biggest Assets, was published in 2012. She earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations from Boston University and graduated from the American University Washington College of Law, where she was the first African American woman to serve as executive editor of the law review.

Who makes this ceremony possible?

The AAUW of Maryland Janet Wert Crampton Honorary Fund is the platinum sponsor of the 2014 NCCWSL Women of Distinction Awards ceremony and reception. AAUW of Maryland and many generous friends of AAUW member Janet Wert Crampton contribute to this fund to honor Janet for her leadership, vision, and commitment.