Seven highly accomplished women were celebrated on Friday night at the Bet on Her awards dinner at the Chameleon Event Space on Hempstead Turnpike.
Motivational speaker and life coach Jessica Toussaint hosted the awards ceremony. She is the founder of Dream Encore, a group whose stated mission is to equip leaders with the tools and resources to have real impact. The group does coaching, workshops, retreats and other programs to encourage success. Toussaint intended the awards as a post-pandemic tip of the hat to women leaders who are bringing change to their communities and whose lives embody empowerment.
Seven prizes were awarded based on seven mountains of social influence. The awards were given for arts and entertainment, business, education, family, government, media and religion.
Lynette Carr-Hicks received the arts and entertainment award. The Uniondale High School choir director is just one of many hats she wears, with a background in the music industry, having started her own independent children’s choir and much more. .
Carr-Hick is beaming with the accomplishments of her choir students. “We were on Steve Harvey’s show, the Today show. They played with the legendary Barry Manilow and Kenny Rogers.
Toussaint first met Carr-Hicks when she was his student. “I’m a little emotional and a little tearful, because I’m so proud of her,” Toussaint’s former mentor said.
Recently, Steven Spielberg-led production company Amblin Partners signed the film rights to Carr-Hick’s life story.
Next, the Business Success Award went to Sydney Perry, baker and owner of Sydney’s Sweets. Perry’s talents have been showcased numerous times on television.
Perry offered some advice to attendees. “Whatever your job, be the expert in your craft,” she said. “Ask your customers to come to you and feel like they can’t get what you provide from someone else.”
Writer and coach Renee Daniel Flagler received an education award. Executive Director of Empowerment Girls Inc. of Long Island, she has been instrumental in securing scholarships for many students.
She stressed the importance of recognizing and using the resources and talents one already possesses. “God called Moses and said ‘what’s in your hand?’ Moses didn’t believe he could do the things God told him to do, but he did. I ask you today, ‘What’s in your hand?’
Verdel Jones received an award recognizing the importance of family. “I’m a talk show host. I am an educator. I am an author,” she explained. “But one of the things I’m most proud of is our family production.” Jones hosts Let’s Kick It With The Joneses with her husband and two children. “The show is really about a strong family that can not only love each other but also love each other, and talk about things that are maybe a little harder to talk about.”
Judge Michelle A. Johnson received an award recognizing her service to government. Currently a member of the 11th Judicial District of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Johnson has an impressive career in the legal field, working for many years in the public sectors before founding the Armstrong law firm specializing in defense. legal.
Johnson reflected on the theme for the evening. “If there’s anything to be learned from ‘betting on her’, it’s betting on yourself. The hardest doors to open are the ones you close on yourself.
Deja Cromartie received the Bet on Her media award. She ran her own PR firm Deluxe Media Agency for over seven years. In her work, she has helped organizations and brands like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Young Gets it Done, Lumina Foundation and many more.
Finally, Pastor Jean Price received an award on the theme of religion. Price is the CEO of Women Ignited Now LLC, a women’s empowerment group, and has been a strong advocate for victims of sexual abuse. “I’m so passionate about helping women and girls. I’m a 12-year survivor of sexual abuse, and that’s my mission, my goal, my goal, to go out there and help women, girls , men and boys who have been raped,” she said. “When God calls you to do something, it’s like I have no choice but to do it.”
Reverend Bianca Faith Johnson gave a keynote address. Johnson has deep roots in Baptist ministry, first preaching at 16, becoming a licensed preacher at 20, and ordained at 30. Johnson’s activities and accomplishments are many, holding a Juris Doctor degree, volunteering in Kenya, Haiti, and Vietnam, and serving as president of the nonprofit God’ Gospel Café Network.
The theme of empowerment in the face of challenge hit even closer to home after Johnson suffered a near-fatal motorcycle accident in 2017, leaving her paralyzed from the chest down. “If it hadn’t been for the women, men and people in my life who have bet on me, who have continually poured into me and embraced my healing and helped me constantly grow, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Tonight, I just hope that something I say can bring a word of encouragement into their lives.