Over two hundred people showed up at Brookside Golf Club for the Journals’ Women of Achievement Breakfast on Saturday, April 15, 2017. The Breakfast, in its 9th year, honored six highly intelligent women from the Pasadena, Altadena area who demonstrated how sharp they were in their impromptu acceptance speeches.
Joann Forte’-Wormley told of her rise from the small Texas community which she left to come to California, where she received some of the beneﬁts of her brother’s earnings from two car washes he owned. This lasted until he suggested that she actually go to work at one of the car washes which she could not envision, so she quickly got a job at the bank. After being exposed to working in the ﬁnance industry, she used her time wisely to increase her education and rise to a management position in the Credit Union industry, stating that along the way she hit a “brick ceiling instead of a glass ceiling” and how she had to bring her own seat to the table and, sometimes, her own table, in order to make it to where she is today.
Berlinda Brown, Pasadena City College’s only African American Board Member, told of being at her husband’s hospital bedside when she got the call from the Journal wanting to honor her. She hesitated and asked him if she should accept. He gave her his permission before his passing. Those present at the WOA breakfast who came to honor her included her brothers from Costa Rica, and the President of PCC along with some of the administrative staff of PCC and fellow board members. She gave an emotional thanks for the honor. The crowd thanked her and PCC’s President for the school’s new policy that will allow new students entering PCC to complete their ﬁrst year at PCC tuition free.
Commander Cheryl Moody the ﬁrst Black female to hold such a position at the Pasadena Police Department talked about her being mentored by Police Chief Sanchez. She praised Chief Sanchez for helping her to prepare for her rise in the Department to become the ﬁ rst Black Female Commander. Chief Sanchez was present with his wife who came to support Commander Moody in receiving the Journal Honor. Even he couldn’t keep the crowd quiet as they shouted for Commander Moody and Beverly Bogar, the Chief’s Administrative Assistant.
WOA honoree, Beverly Bogar also praised the Chief for his leadership of the Department. She jokingly warned the police ofﬁcers there to quiet down because as she put it, “Mother will be back at the Department Monday.” Bogar was praised for her work at her church and for her work with the homeless in Pasadena.
Char Bland introduced her husband and said how grateful she was for her family and their support of her, which allows her to do volunteer work. She reminded us that without family support, it would be impossible to do all the volunteer work she does. She is a member of the First AME church Los Angeles and head of the Commission on the Status of Women for Pasadena, and numerous other volunteer organizations. A large contingent of women who she called her sisters were present to share in her honor.
Brenda Harvey Williams gave praise for her family and shared her parents’ value of getting a college education they instilled in her and her siblings. Likewise, she and her husband raised their children with those same values. One son has completed college and the other son attends college. She thanked the Journal for her honor and likened the Journal to “a tree planted in the community, with its roots permeating and spreading deep throughout the community.”
Each of the Honorees were provided with a shoe box and a “Red Bottom” shoe, serving as a handle and certiﬁcates from The Journal, State Senator Anthony Portantino, State Assemblymember Chris Holden and The city of Pasadena represented by Councilmember John Kennedy.
Dr. Gerda Govine, held the crowd spellbound with her poetry ﬁlled keynote speech. Dr. Govine shared the following about the event:
“…Awesome, Beautiful, Thankful and full of Grace. I told my story, anchored by my poems. Great audience of Community friends and acquaintances bearing lots of hugs, kisses, shot outs and heartfelt memories. Thank you Joe and Ruthie for continuing to do the heavy lifting with love, compassion and truth no matter where it leads.”
Dr. Malika Hendry gave an inspiring invocation for the event, and Dr. Pamela Short Powell, the event’s mistress of ceremonies for nine years, gave special recognition to the young women in the crowd by stating that seeing the Women of Achievement helps to prepare them for future roles as leaders in the community. The event was topped off by a performance by songstress Chelsea J. and an original poem, as a tribute to the Women of Achievement, by Kejohnn Owens from The JazzZone.
Plans for next year are being discussed.