On May 28, 2015 Southwest Jewish Congress (SWJC) welcomed more than 300 people to the Inspiring Women of the Southwest Awards, renamed in memory of Audrey Kaplan, who founded the event.
Audrey herself was a past recipient and remained a staunch supporter of the awards until her tragic death in 2014.
Many of Audrey’s family were in attendance and her daughter-in-law, Diane
Hudson, gave remarks honoring Audrey.
Co-Chairs Esty Elan, Cindy Ray, Rosie Stromberg and Keo Strull, said that these awards recognize women from diverse disciplines and backgrounds who have been diligent in the pursuit of social change. As role models, these outstanding women have made an impact on our communities, either locally, regionally or nationally. They advocate for inclusiveness and support positions consistent with the mission of SWJC.
Roberta Berger, Ph.D., received the Audrey Kaplan Inspiring Women of the Southwest Lifetime Achievement Award for her many years of community activism, advocacy and involvement at local, regional and national levels.
The 2015 award recipients were:
- Governmental relations and corporate philanthropy executive, retired
- Founder/program coordinator, summer reading academy for immigrant children in Vickery Meadow and volunteer at Lee McShan, Jr. Elementary
- Special needs ministry, and international partner for SMU graduate/doctoral students
- President of Legacy Willow Bend Senior Communities
- Vice-president of Jewish Family Service and successful entrepreneur
- Prominent volunteer, fundraiser and strategic supporter of various organizations
- Life skills counselor at Methodist Children’s Home
- Co-founder of two nonprofits in housing and adolescent youth in crisis
- Educational volunteer and history researcher
Jocelyn D. Kidd, D.D.S.
- Dentist, active in several dental and health associations
- Volunteer in service organizations, such as The Links, Incorporated and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
- Provides free dental screenings for local youth
Michele Wong Krause
- Board-level leadership in Dallas and American Bar Associations, past president of both Dallas Asian-American Bar Association and Dallas Hispanic Bar Association
- Serves on the Dallas Rapid Area Transit board of directors
- Former Dallas Associate Municipal Judge
The 5 Future Inspiring Women of the Southwest award recipients (ages 14-21) were nominated and selected for qualities of initiative, volunteerism and effort to make their world, and beyond, a little bit better.
Recipients included: Teresa Balderas, UTA freshman; Meredith Burke, Hockaday School senior; Jacqueline Elise Olness, Highland Park High School senior; Leah Prager, Centennial High School junior; and Samara Nicole Taper, Plano West Senior High School junior.
Sylvia Komatsu, executive VP and chief content officer of KERA/KXT, served as master of ceremonies of evening, keeping it at a brisk clip with grace and humor.
Eddie Dean’s Ranch catered an exceptional menu of Western-style food which complemented the authenticity of the evening.