Women To Watch Awards

Our annual awards celebrating the women making an impact on our community in the areas of Arts, Business, Education, Health Care, Nonprofit/Volunteer, Public Service and Rising Stars.

It’s time to roll out the red carpet! On October 11, WILMA will recognize the thirty-five women selected as finalists for this year’s WILMA’s Women to Watch Awards. We’ll also announce the winners for the seven categories, Arts, Business, Education, Health Care, Nonprofit/Volunteer, Public Service and Rising Star. Join us in celebrating these regional women who are the movers-and-shakers, the disruptors and the inspiration for successes to come.


Friday, October 11, 2019
5:30-10 p.m.


Wilmington Convention Center
515 Nutt Street
Wilmington, NC

Meet Our Finalists

Introducing the 2019 Women to Watch Finalists: 

Finalists listed alphabetically.


  • Gwen Baker – President, CDM Federal Programs Corporation
  • Catherine Hawksworth – Owner, Modern Legend
  • Ruth Ravitz Smith – President, RR Smith Strategic Solutions (R2S3)
  • Alyson Smist – Assistant General Manager, Wilmington Sharks
  • Lorin Van Zandt – Co-Founder/President, MISSIO Hair

Rising Star:

  • Kobe Campbell – Licensed Professional Counselor Associate, The Healing Circle LLC
  • Estefania Gutierrez – Paralegal, David Creech Law Firm PLLC
  • Lee Rochelle – Supervisor, Guardian ad Litem Program
  • Michaela & Annabelle Sanchez – Musicians, Entangled Dreams
  • Leah Sherrill – Founder, Special Pedals

Health Care:

  • Buffy Andrews – Owner & Wellness Guru, Made Well Center for Wholeness
  • Candice Curtin – Chief Executive Officer, Pressure Dx
  • Lauren Gainor – Medical Director, Inpatient Pediatrics & Newborn Services, Coastal Children’s Services
  • Candy Lee – Dementia Care Nurse Specialist, Lower Cape Fear Hospice
  • Rebecca Mullaney – Owner and Psychotherapist, Stable Ground Counseling


  • Lauren Brooke Brown – Owner/Cosmetic Tattoo Artist, Lasting Looks By Lauren Brooke LLC
  • Donna Gargett – Executive Director/Founder, Blank Canvas Awareness Art
  • Kim Henry – Executive Director, Theatre for All
  • Jamie La Londe-Pinkston – Program Coordinator, DREAMS of Wilmington
  • Gale Smith – Artist, Gale Smith Art


  • Janelle Babington – Founder/Executive Director, American Red Lion Disaster & Abuse Fund
  • Evelyn Bryant – Chief Executive Officer, Northside Bridge Builders
  • Angie Hill – Chief Executive Officer, Brigade Boys & Girls Club
  • Emily Klinefelter – Founder/Foster Mom , Foster Pantry
  • MaLisa Umstead – Founder/Executive Director, A Safe Place

Public Service:

  • Stephanie Boucher – Lieutenant, Wilmington Police Department
  • Mebane Boyd – Director, New Hanover County Resiliency Task Force
  • Jessica Loeper – Chief Communications Officer, New Hanover County
  • Elizabeth Peterson – Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development, North Carolina Cooperative Extension
  • Lauren White – Lieutenant, New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office


  • Jessica Gaffney – Theater Department Chair, CFCC
  • Kellie Griggs – Assistant Professor, UNCW School of Nursing
  • Darlena Moore – President, The Gilbert Scholarship Inc.
  • Crystal Sutherland – Founder/President, Journey to Heal Ministries
  • Kendall Tidey – Facilitator, Adult Transgender Support Group

Any female resident of New Hanover, Brunswick or Pender County is eligible for the W2W Awards.​

Click on the Buy Tickets tab above to make a reservation for the 2019 Women to Watch Awards Celebration! 

Photos from last year’s award ceremony can be found by following the links below.
Women to Watch Awards 1
Women to Watch Awards 2

WILMA’s Women to Watch Awards is part of the WILMA Leadership Initiative. If you would like to be a sponsor of the Initiative, please contact Melissa Pressley, VP of Sales, at (910) 343.8600 x 203 or mpressley@wilmingtonbiz.com

If you have questions or for more information email Vicky Janowski and Maggi Apel, co-leaders of the Leadership Initiative, at W2W@WILMAOnTheWeb.com. To learn more about WILMA’s Leadership Initiative, click here.

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