By Special to the Daily World
The YWCA of Greater Atlanta honored the 2011 Woman of Achievement Kathy Betty, owner of the Atlanta Dream, at the annual Salute to Women of Achievement Luncheon on Wednesday, May 18 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. This year’s theme was “Life is But A Dream” and featured a special performance by Jennifer Holliday, singer and Tony Award-winning actress, known for her Broadway role in “Dreamgirls.” The YWCA presented a new award, the Y’s Man Award, to Tad Hutcheson, vice president of marketing and sales for AirTran Airways.
“It was like a YWCA/Atlanta Dream prep rally — the Atlanta Dream players, coaches, owners and even Star, the mascot, showed up along with 800 other guests to salute Betty, Hutcheson and eight other amazing women. We had an incredible turnout, phenomenal entertainment, inspiring testimonials about our programs and a celebration out of this world. This event truly inspires and reminds us why we are passionate about the work we are doing. I am grateful to the Atlanta community for their unwavering support,” said YWCA CEO Justine Boyd.
Co-chaired by Erica Qualls (Atlanta Marriott Marquis general manager) and Hala Moddelmog (president, Arby’s Restaurant Group), this was the 28th year that Salute has been in the philanthropic landscape of Atlanta. Established in 1984, Salute to Women of Achievement is the first event of its kind to honor women of distinction who are trailblazers in business and philanthropy.
For the first time in 28 years, the YWCA presented the Y’s Man Award. The recipient, Tad Hutcheson of AirTran Airways, has been a longtime supporter of the YWCA and is clearly and absolutely dedicated to the empowerment of women and elimination of racism.
“AirTran Airways has partnered with the YWCA over the years because of their positive reputation for providing quality and impactful programming to the Atlanta area,” says Hutcheson.
Betty [the first woman in Atlanta history to own a professional sports team], purchased the Atlanta Dream in October 2009 shortly after the franchise completed its second season in Atlanta. Betty, widow of former EarthLink CEO, Garry Betty, has more than 25 years of business management and consultancy experience, one of the first female partners with Ernst & Young. She later served as executive vice president and partner with ScottMadden.
Betty was a guest to the Salute to Women of Achievement in 2010. She had this to say about her experience at the event. “I attended Salute for the first time in 2010 as a guest of an Academy member. It was here at Salute that I was able to network with an influential sisterhood of women. My experience at the 2010 Salute to Women of Achievement was one that allowed me to promote the Atlanta Dream, as their new owner. To share the stage this year with such incredible women as an honoree this year was such an amazing experience.”
The following women joined Betty in the Academy of Women Achievers: Rabbi Analia Bortz, Congregation Or Hadash; Molly Burke, General Counsel, GE Energy Services; Emily Ellison, Co-Founder, Atlanta Girls’ School; Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, President, Agnes Scott College; Penny McIntyre, Group President, Office Products, Newell Rubbermaid; Judge M. Yvette Miller, Presiding Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals; Sheryl Sellaway, Executive Director-Public Relations, Verizon Wireless; Geri Thomas, State President of Georgia, Bank of America.
The 2011 College Woman of Achievement and recipient of the Carol Dunlap Reiser Scholarship was Ms. Kayla Hogan, a senior at McNair High School, and a participant in the YWCA’s Teen Girls in Technology (TGI Tech) program. This scholarship was created in 2002 [with the support of Rich’s-Macy’s] as a special tribute in memory of Ms. Reiser, a champion of the YWCA.
For more information on the YWCA and its programs, visit the website at www.ywcaatlanta.org.