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Women That Shine - 2018

  • Sonesta Coconut Grove 2889 McFarlane Road Miami, FL, 33133 United States (map)

In honor of Women’s History Month, please join the League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade County (LWVMD) for our 4th Annual Women That Shine celebration on March 17, 2018, at the Sonesta Coconut Grove, get your tickets here

We are excited to recognize the following outstanding women who have a meaningful impact on our community and are role models for the community:

Ilena Ros-Lehtinen

Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen is awarded a Lifetime Achieve Award.  She is known for her strong voice on many issues, especially representing her South Florida community.

Ileana was the first Hispanic woman to be elected to serve both the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida Senate.  She was the first Hispanic woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989 to serve in Congress--following a special election to fill the seat held by the late Claude Pepper and has been re-elected ever since by strong margins.  She is Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, and presently serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa.  She has been a strong advocate of programs that address the serious problem of domestic violence against women. She supports protecting the environment, including being against offshore drilling. And she has been a leader in support of LGBT rights, supporting anti-hate crime laws, anti-discrimination bills, supporting serving openly in the armed forces, and was the first Republican member of the U.S. Congress to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act.  Consistent with the League of Women Voters and the courageous women who worked to pass the 19th Amendment almost 100 years ago, Ileana uses her strong, courageous voice to lead on important issues, making a difference at home and across our country.

Andrea Mercado

While Andrea has more than 15 years experience in Workers’ Rights, it was this year, that she distinguished herself as a local leader, along with her New Florida Majority team by recognizing that there was a terribly disproportionate ability to prepare for and respond to Hurricane Irma across the many marginalized communities in Miami-Dade County.  Pre-hurricane, Andrea and her team initiated a plan, establishing a statewide coalition of organizations, and secured more than $1.5 million for a Hurricane Fund dedicated to the most vulnerable. Andrea marshaled her team and many volunteers, put out the call, online and via social media, especially Twitter, and got responses from dozens of volunteers to respond to the needs of many Miami-Dade County residents. With Andrea’s leadership and vision, a plan was in place before the storm and response efforts could be quickly mobilized after the storm to address as best as possible the needs of hundreds of Miami-Dade residents in need.

Melba V. Pearson, Esq.

Melba served as Assistant State Attorney, in the 11th Judicial Circuit with the Honorable Katherine Fernandez-Rundle for 16 years.  In this position, she handled every kind of case imaginable, and held a series of critical assignments, including homicides and domestic violence, community outreach, and ended her career as Assistant Chief, Career Criminal/Robbery Unit, supervising young junior attorneys while prosecuting homicides. After 16 years, she was ready for a big life change and accepted the position to be the ACLU Florida Deputy Director. The ACLU is an opportunity to work with Howard Simon, the Executive Director, a civil rights icon, presenting a “once in a lifetime opportunity”; was at the core of the Loving Vs. Virginia Case, which for Melba is personal, as she herself is in an interracial marriage, married to the love of her life; and with the changes in our country today, she knew it was her personal “call to action.” In just the first few months at the ACLU, Melba was instrumental in raising awareness on various civil rights issues, such as voting, women's rights, and the plight of dreamers/immigrants. Melba is a frequent guest on national media regarding legal trends, is a frequent guest lecturer nationally on a wide array of law enforcement concerns, and is Past President of the National Black Prosecutors Association. As a volunteer, she will soon begin as President of the Gwen S. Cherry Black Women’s Lawyers Association, whereas President she is very conscious of the fact that she is standing on the shoulders of trailblazing women who paved the way for her. Melba is an extraordinary role model for other women, demonstrating by her example, to have the courage to stand up be heard and take action to make a positive change. 

Judy Schaechter, M.D., M.B.A.

Judy is professor and chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and Chief of Service at Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial Medical Center. Dr. Schaechter is a general pediatrician with special interests in adolescence, injury and violence prevention, education, and community health. She serves as senior advisor to the Florida Children’s Movement, president of the national Injury Free Coalition for Kids, gubernatorial appointee to the Florida Children and Youth Cabinet, and board member of The Children’s Trust, where as chair of the Health Committee, she led the creation of HealthConnect, launching health teams in 170 schools and initiated home visitation for families in Miami-Dade County. Dr. Schaechter has a national reputation advocating for child safety, access to care, health promotion, professional diversity, and wellness. She has affected policy change in firearm injury prevention, vaccination supply and scheduling, quality education and freedom of speech. Judy continues to care for patients, both in the office and the hospital.  

Equal Pay Miami-Dade Campaign

The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade is advocating for Equal Pay for women and girls for economic security.  Why Equal Pay?  Research shows that when Equal Pay is resolved for working women, the economic security of working women increases.  When economic security increases for women, their families thrive, they have access to resources they haven’t in the past, and they invest back into the community.  The Equal Pay Miami-Dade Campaign is the only program of its kind dedicated to eradicating pay inequity in Miami-Dade County. The Campaign is dedicated to creating an equal playing field; providing a voice for women who might be afraid to use their own, and a resource to mentor women to believe their voice should be heard.  The Equal Pay Miami-Dade Campaign is using a data collection platform to strategically develop new approaches to equal pay initiatives for the county and beyond, as a best practice national model.  The Campaign has partnered with government and community leaders, has engaged more than 10 organizations as partners and added another 20 organizations who have made a pledge to equal pay.  The Equal Pay Miami-Dade campaign is shining a new light on the issue of equal pay with a strong commitment to changing the lives of working women, their families, and communities.

Earlier Event: March 12
LWV Board Meeting