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 The YWCA of Greater Atlanta will honor the power of women in the community at its 35th Annual Salute to Women of Achievement. This year’s theme, Lifting the World, illustrates the solid impact of YWCA of Greater Atlanta’s programs in lifting women, girls and families served toward a brighter future and exemplifies the impact of this year’s Woman of Achievement, Erica Qualls-Battey. 

Atlanta is a vibrant, progressive city that offers quality education, a thriving nonprofit sector, and strong community engagement thanks to the efforts of women like Qualls-Battey. She is extremely passionate about her role as a community leader and her energy and positivity are contagious. The YWCA is grateful to Qualls-Battey for her unwavering advocacy of its mission:   eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities.  “We are thrilled to honor Erica for the commitment, service and leadership she has given to the YWCA and all of Atlanta,” said Sharmen May Gowens, CEO of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta. “It is an honor to “Salute” her as our 2018 Woman of Achievement.”  

The 2018 Woman of Achievement, Erica Qualls-Battey, is one to the most dynamic leaders in Atlanta and the hospitality industry. As Marriott International Area General Manager, Qualls-Battey manages the largest hotel in Georgia and one of the largest in Marriott International’s global portfolio. She is an engaged community citizen active on multiple boards including Executive Board of Directors for Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau and Atlanta Hotel Council. Qualls-Battey is Immediate Past Chair of the YWCA of Greater Atlanta, Atlanta Business League, Grady Health Foundation, Partners for H.O.M.E. and the International Women’s Forum Georgia. She has also been named one of Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence 

In addition to recognizing Qualls-Battey at Salute, the YWCA will induct ten distinguished Atlanta leaders into its Academy of Women Achievers. These women are leading the charge and changing the course for women, and girls and align with one of our three focus areas: Education & Empowerment, Health & Safety, and Advocacy & Social justice. This year’s inductees are: 


  • Dr. Debra Carlton, M.D., Associate Medical Director for Care and Service Experience, Kaiser Permanente 
  • Daryll Griffin, President, Accolades, Inc. 
  • Beth Holder, Chair, Agnes Scott College Board of Trustees 
  • Erika James, Dean, Goizueta Business School, Emory University 
  • Anne Kaiser, Vice President, Community & Economic Development, Georgia Power Company
  • Mary Laschinger, Chairman of the Board & CEO, Veritiv Corporation
  • Wonya Lucas, President & CEO, Public Broadcasting Atlanta
  • Mary Pat Matheson, Anna and Hays Mershon President & CEO, Atlanta Botanical Garden
  • Bea Perez, SVP, Chief Public Affairs, Communication and Sustainability Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
  • Wendy Stewart, Atlanta Market President, Bank of America

 These inductees join a list of more than 300 prominent Atlanta women who are a part of the Academy of Women Achievers. Past honorees include Billye Aaron, Carol Tomé, Stephanie Blank, The Honorable Shirley Franklin, Mary Brock, Rep. Stacey Abrams, and Lisa Borders.

The 35th annual Salute to Women of Achievement luncheon will take place on Thursday, April 19 at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis from 11:30-1:30 PM. Delta Air Lines and Kaiser Permanente are lead sponsors of the event.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit: https://ywcaatlanta.org/events-2/salute-to-women-of-achievement-2/

YWCA OF GREATER ATLANTA IS A LOCAL CHAPTER OF YWCA USA and has been a voice for change for women and families in Georgia since its founding at Spelman College in 1902. Our organization’s foundation is built upon a history of mobilizing diverse groups of women leaders to identify community problems and advocate for solutions. To affect long-term change, YWCA of Greater Atlanta addresses the needs of women and girls at multiple levels, providing direct services and programs in tandem with awareness raising and public policy analysis. By focusing on advocacy and social justice, health and safety, and education and economic empowerment, we work to improve the lives of women and girls and their families, and to create safer, healthier, more equitable communities in Georgia. Visit http://www.ywcaatlanta.org for more information.

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