More than 700 sophisticates assembled at the Marriott Marquis ballroom as the Urban League of Greater Atlanta paid homage to multi-Grammy-winning singer Toni Braxton and six other august women at the 53rd Equal Opportunity Day Dinner.
With members of her family in tow — and co-stars on the WEtv hit reality show, “Braxton Family Values,” —including her mother, Evelyn Braxton and sisters Trina, Tamar and Towanda Braxton, Toni Braxton eloquated her gratitude of this monent.
“It is such an honor to be here… I have gone through so many struggles and I’ve survived and succeeded, and one of the reasons … is because of my family,” said Braxton, who was honored for her career successes, her perseverance in overcoming obstacles and her leadership in addressing Autism, heart disease and Lupus.
“I would like to thank the Urban League for honoring me. I would like to thank all of the women who inspire me,” Braxton continued. “I hope that my life is an inspiration for those who follow me. My mom is here and she is the woman who helps us feel confidence in ourselves. She said there is nothing greater than you but God.”
The ULGA also honored Jocelyn Dorsey, who was presented the award by Deborah Thomas, senior vice president, Human Resources, Cox Media Group; Victoria Williams Jenkins, presented by Dr. DeRetta Cole, vice president, Human Resources, First Data Corporation; Pat Lottier, presented by Myra Reeves, manager, Diversity & Inclusion, The Home Depot; Patrise Perkins-Hooker, presented by Dr. Jabari Simama, president, Georgia Piedmont Technical College; Alicia Philipp, presented by Pam Cross, vice president, Community Development/Atlanta Market, Wells Fargo, and Adrienne Green , presented by Ken Hodges, shareholder, Polsinelli, P.C.
“These women accept nothing less than excellence in their professional careers and they believe equally strongly in the importance of helping others,” said Nancy Flake Johnson, president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta. “They have lent their time and talent to causes that affect the physical, financial and mental health of our communities. They have embraced the responsibility of empowering others, and in so doing, they have become quintessential women of empowerment.”
Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves brought greetings and the invocation was delivered by Rev. Marion Sailor, co-pastor, Christ the King Baptist Church. Dinner co-chairs were Nick Nelson, president of the ULGA Board of Directors and CMO, Liquid Soul Media, and Carl A. Tims, assistant vice president, Claims, at GEICO Insurance. DeMarco Morgan, WXIA TV 11 anchor, served as emcee.
Saxophonist Mike Phillips performed a rousing rendition of the Frankie Beverly hit “We Are One,” and the elegantly attired guests enjoyed a scrumptious dinner and danced to the music of the Isaac Harris Group.
Honorees by category
Woman of Empowerment: Toni Braxton became an instant international sensation with the release of her first solo recording in 1992. Today she is recognized as one of the most outstanding voices of this generation. Recently, Braxton has wowed audiences with her Braxton Family Values reality show on the WE network. She balances her career with extraordinary support for raising visibility around health issues including Lupus and heart disease.
Community Advocate: Jocelyn Dorsey, an award-winning journalist with WSB-TV for more than 40 years, is noted for her active fundraising for Special Olympics of GA. Dorsey also lends her considerable talent to produce, write, edit and narrate videos for various nonprofit organizations.
Greater Atlanta Guild: Victoria Williams Jenkins, who spent 35 years as a librarian with the Atlanta Public School System, has been a driving force for more than 50 years with the Atlanta Urban League’s Guild, the United Negro College Fund, the NAACP, and in voter registration drives.
Entrepreneurship: Pat Lottier is publisher and chief executive officer of the award-winning Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, a monthly business-oriented publication that covers metropolitan Atlanta’s African American community. Her numerous civic activities encompass the arts and health issues including sickle cell and cancer.
Economic and Civic Development: Patrise Perkins-Hooker is vice president and general counsel for Atlanta Beltline, Inc., and formerly was a partner with the law firm of Hollowell, Foster & Gepp, PC. She owned her own law firm for 10 years. She is president of the State Bar of Georgia. She is active with Hosea Feed the Hungry, and has received numerous honors for her service to the legal profession and the community.
Community Philanthropy: Alicia Philipp, named to Georgia Trend’s “100 Most Influential Georgians” list, is president of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, one of the largest and fastest growing philanthropic service organizations in the country. She has led the organization for the past 37 years. Under her leadership, The Community Foundation has grown from $7 million in assets in 1977 to more than $929 million in total assets today.
Young Professionals: Adrienne Green, owner of 2nd Level Salon Studio, is a program management operations analyst with American Tower Corporation in Atlanta. A member of the Urban League of Greater Atlanta’s Young Professionals group, Green also is involved in civic activities with the Atlanta Business League and the North Carolina Agriculture& Technical State University, Atlanta Alumni Chapter.
Take a look at the photos from the event: