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In the Company of Women Awards

Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, in partnership with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and the Miami-Dade Commission for Women announce the winners of the 2020 In the Company of Women Awards:

Mayor’s Pioneer Award
Darlene Boytell-Pérez, ARNP, co-founder of Pérez Art Museum Miami

Arts and Entertainment Award
Maria Banda-Rodaz, Executive Director at Area Stage Company

Business and Economics Award
Nancy Batchelor, Sr. Vice President of EWM Realty International

Communications and Literature Award
Griselle Marino, Press Officer and Community Liaison, Office of Community Advocacy, Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners

Education and Research Award
Suzanna M. Rose, Ph.D., Founding Associate Provost, Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity (AWED), Florida International University

Government and Law - Elected Official Award
Honorable Jeanette M. Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor, State of Florida

Government and Law - Non-Elected Award
Christina White, Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections

Health and Human Services Award
Ana “Teri” Busse-Arvesu, Senior Advocate for Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez’s Initiative on Aging

Science and Technology Award
Yuk-Ching Tse-Dinh, Ph.D., Professor and founding director of the Biomolecular Sciences Institute and the Translational Molecular Discoveries program, Florida International University

Sports and Athletics Award
Kerry Gruson,  Co-Founder and Co-Chair, ThumbsUp International

Young Professional Award
Claudia Prado, National Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Empowerment, Univision Communications Inc.

Community Spirit Award
Marie P. Woodson, Retired Miami-Dade County Administrator and former Chair of the Miami-Dade Commission for Women.


Winners will be honored during the 2020 In the Company of Women Awards ceremony and dinner on Thursday, March 19, 2020, at the beautiful Coral Gables Country Club.

The event begins at 6 p.m. with a reception, followed by the awards ceremony and dinner. Cynthia Demos, multi Emmy award-winning journalist and owner of Cynthia Demos Communications, will serve as emcee.

Tickets are $120 per person and can be purchased online.

For more information, contact Laura Morilla at 305-375-4967 or

In the Company of Women Awards ceremony recognizes Miami-Dade County women leaders and their contributions to this community, in celebration of Women's History Month and International Women’s Day.

  • How to Nominate

    Call for nominations for the 2020 In the Company of Women has closed.

    All women in Miami-Dade County who have exemplified professional development, community responsibility, leadership and vision, contribution to women's progress and promotion of pluralism are eligible.

    Past award winners are not eligible. See below for a list of past award recipients.

  • Sponsorship Opportunities

    Be a part of this special celebration by becoming a sponsor. For more information email or download the sponsorship package.

  • About the In the Company of Women Awards

    Every March, in celebration of Women's History Month, Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, in partnership with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and the Miami-Dade Commission for Women, present the In the Company of Women Awards ceremony to recognize Miami-Dade County women leaders and their contributions to this community.

    Created in 1989 during a tumultuous time in Miami where racial and ethnic tensions caused divisions in our community, the award was meant to help heal those wounds and bring the community together. Women like Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Yvonne Santa Maria, Athalie Range, Elizabeth Virrick and Alice Wainwright were the first set of trailblazers to be recognized for the role they played in paving new paths for women. After more than 30 years, hundreds of women have joined this elite group of recipients.

    The In the Company of Women Awards Ceremony also highlights the work and contributions of The Women’s Park, a Miami-Dade County Park, which opened in 1992 to recognize and celebrate women’s impact and influences in society. Spearheaded by pioneer feminist Roxcy Bolton, a coalition of women leaders, former Miami-Dade Mayor Stephen Clark and with the support of the County Commission, it is the first park in the nation of its kind and stands as a symbol of the trials and triumphs women have faced throughout the years. The Women’s Park is home to the Girls Empowerment and Mentoring (G.E.M.) Summer Arts Camp for girls ages 6-14, funded by The Children’s Trust, providing visual and performing arts and self-enrichment experiences through classes and workshops in dance, musical theatre, music/chorus, painting, journalism, photography/videography, women’s history, community service and leadership development.

    Proceeds from In the Company of Women Awards help support The Women’s Park, its Girls Empowerment and Mentoring (G.E.M.) Summer Arts Camp and Miami-Dade Parks’ children’s programs.

  • Past Winners

    2019 Winners

    • Mayor’s Pioneer – Barbara Falsey, Ph.D, Retired Miami-Dade County Division Chief and Planner; author, editor, and architecture critic
    • Mayor's Community Spirit – Ana VeigaMilton, Esq., President, Jose Milton Foundation
    • Arts and Entertainment – Colleen Stovall, Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Florida Shakespeare Theater
    • Business and Economics – Janet Kyle Altman, Marketing Principal, Kaufman Rossin
    • Communications and Literature – Lissette Gonzalez, Meteorologist, CBS4
    • Rising Star Community Spirit – Sabrina Cohen, Founder-President, Sabrina Cohen Foundation
    • Education and Research – Ora L. Strickland, Ph.D., MSN, RN, FAAN, Dean, FIU College of Nursing & Health and Sciences
    • Government and Law (Elected Official) – Honorable Ana Maria Rodriguez, Representative, Florida House of Representatives, District 105
    • Government and Law (Non-Elected) –
      • Delma K. Noel-Pratt, Chief, City of Miami Gardens Police Department
      • Susan R. Windmiller, Government Affairs Analyst, Miami-Dade Police Department
    • Health and Human Services – Rochelle A. Baer, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., Director of Leadership Training Initiatives, Mailman Center for Child Development, UM Miller School of Medicine
    • Science and Technology –
      • Ranu Jung, Ph. D., Wallace H. Coulter Eminent Scholar Chair in Biomedical Engineering, Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing
      • Tatjana Rundek, M.D. Ph.D., Scientific Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute and Evelyn F. McKnight Chair for Learning and Memory in Aging at the UM Miller School of Medicine
    • Sports and Athletics – Isabella Rojas, Founder of Doña Pan (women’s cycling group) and Purchasing Manager, No Boundaries Sport, Coral Gables
    • Young Professional – Maxeme Tuchman, CEO & Co-Founder, Caribu Inc.


    • Mayor's Pioneer – Honorable Enid Weisman, Mayor, City of Aventura
    • Arts & Entertainment – Silvia Cubiñá, Director and Chief Curator, The Bass Museum of Art
    • Business & Economics – Lakitsia Gaines, President, Lakitsia Gaines Insurance Agency, Inc.
    • Communications & Literature – Sandra Peebles, Anchor & Broadcast Journalist, Univision 23
    • Education and Research – Joanna Lombard, Architect/Professor, University of Miami School of Architecture; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences
    • Government and Law (Elected Official) – Honorable Shelley Kravitz (Aug. 9, 1953 - Jan. 2, 2018), Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court Judge, County Civil Division
    • Government and Law (Non-Elected) – Aliette DelPozo Rodz, Litigation Attorney/Partner, Shutts & Bowen LLP
    • Health and Human Services – two winners: Catherimarty (Cathy) Burgos, LCSW Division Director of Operations, Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department; and Dr. Giselle Guerra, Medical Director of Transplant Services and Living Donor Kidney Program, Miami Transplant Institute; Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
    • Science & Technology – Veronique Koch, Producer/Filmmaker, Vero Productions/South Florida PBS/Frost Science Museum
    • Sports & Athletics – Caron B. Schiffman, Physical Education Instructor/Coach, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School
    • Young Professional (New) – Honorable Patricia D. Fairclough, Vice Mayor, City of Homestead
    • Community Spirit – Marile Lopez, Philanthropist, Miami Children's Hospital Foundation, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross and others


    • Mayor's Pioneer - Carol Kruse, director, Zoo Miami
    • Arts & Entertainment - Nannette Zapata, COO and art curator, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
    • Business & Economics Patricia Nelson, regional head of strategic accounts, AvMed
    • Education and Research - Dr. Lenore Rodicio, executive vice president and provost, Miami-Dade College
    • Government and Law (Elected Official) Honorable Nushin Sayfie, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court judge, Criminal Division; and Honorable Angelica Zayas, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court judge, Juvenile Division
    • Government and Law (Non-Elected) - Dr. Emma Lew, director and Medical Examiner, Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department
    • Health and Human Services - Annie Neasman, MS, RN, president and CEO, Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Inc.
    • Science & Technology - Dr. Yesim Darici, director, FIU Center for Women's and Gender Studies
    • Sports & Athletics - Leslie Nixon, J.D., Ed.D., director, Government and Community Affairs, Miami Dolphins LTD/Miami Dolphins Foundation.
    • Posthumous - Julie Kay, journalist, Daily Business Review
    • Community Spirit - Maria M. Blet, chair of the Women's Leadership Council, United Way Worldwide / United Way of Miami-Dade

    List of all past winners

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