HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (March 10, 2016) – There's 2,700-plus miles separating Hollywood, California from Hollywood, Florida, but the glitter isn't indigenous to the West Coast. Three inspiring women were in the spotlight Thursday night in the Sunshine State.
PGA and LPGA Professional Renee Powell of East Canton, Ohio; entertainer-actress Vanessa Williams and Dr. N. Joyce Payne, founder of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, were recipients of the Women of Power Legacy Awards. It was an Academy Award-like evening hosted by Black Enterprise before more than 1,000 guests at the Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood.
Black Enterprise's 11th Women of Power Legacy Award ceremony showcased the talented and the exceptional. The Women of Power Legacy Awards recognize outstanding impact, achievement, and leadership by women in business, the arts, education, government, and other influential areas.
"I am extremely honored," said Powell, the first woman of color to be elected to membership in the PGA of America. "You know, we stand upon the shoulders of those who came before us. It is so important that we also pay forward and give to others. There were so many years that not only did I receive, but I was also conscious of what I could give back.
"My mother would always say to me, 'You have to make sure that you leave the world a better place than you found it,'" she added. "Receiving a legacy award means so much to me and also reminds me of the Clearview Legacy Foundation we have at our home club. So legacy is a very, very important word to me as I hope it is to you."
The Women of Power Summit is the nation's No. 1 executive development and leadership conference for women of color, annually attracting more than 1,000 corporate executives, professionals, and businesswomen from across the country. The Women of Power Summit, hosted by ADP, takes place at the Diplomat Resort & Spa Hollywood.
Powell is one of only six African-American women to ever play on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. In 2015, she was among seven women named the first honorary members in the 260-plus-year history of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews, Scotland. She is the daughter of the late William Powell, the only African-American to design, build, own, and operate a golf course – Clearview Golf Club in Ohio – in the United States.
Williams, is one of the most respected and multifaceted performers in the entertainment industry today. Having sold more than 7 million records worldwide, Williams is one of just a few artists to score No. 1 and Top 10 hits on Billboard's Album and Singles charts in the combined areas of Pop, Dance, R&B, Adult Contemporary, Holiday, Latin, Gospel and Jazz – the latter is where her release, "The Real Thing," debuted at No. 1 in June of 2009.
Her critically acclaimed work in film, television, recordings and the Broadway stage has been recognized by every major industry award affiliation including four Emmy nominations, 17 Grammy nominations (of which 11 were for her individually), a Tony nomination, three SAG award nominations, seven NAACP Image Awards, three Satellite Awards and ultimately a Golden Globe, Grammy, and an Oscar for Best Original Song for her platinum single Colors of the Wind, from the Disney film "Pocahontas." A strong advocate for equal rights, especially concerning the gay community and minorities, Williams was honored with the Human Rights Campaign "Ally for Equality" Award for her humanitarian contributions.
Payne (Barbara Graves honoree) founded the nationally recognized Thurgood Marshall College Fund in 1987. The TMCF is designed exclusively for exceptional students at the nation's 47 publicly supported historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Before joining the Advancement of Public Black Colleges (OAPBC), Payne was the president of Global Systems Inc. and was a senior staff member under the Carter administration with the President's Advisory Committee for Women; President's National Advisory Council on Women's Education Programs, and the White House Conference on Families. An authority on women's issues in relation to higher education and labor force participation, Payne has published and presented a number of papers on the pursuit of equality for women and African Americans in higher education.