women-who-dared-winners-2010_web.jpgDaring to make a difference has its rewards. For five trailblazing women in Broward County, their efforts to change the lives of others for the better were rewarded by the Broward County Commission on the Status of Women at its inaugural “Women Who Dared” awards luncheon.

The keynote speaker was U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fort Lauderdale.

The honorees are:

• Olga G. Alvarez, Cooper City, principal of Project Coordinating Services, a design and consulting firm that works on renovations and new construction projects. Its "green" interior design services focus on minimizing the environmental impact of building products and materials.

• Hazel Armbrister, Pompano Beach, a teacher who has long been active in politics, including the Democratic Executive Committee and the Democratic Black Caucus. Her priorities are education, health and rehabilitative services and housing and criminal justice.

• Nadine McCrea, one of the most effective leaders of change in the city of Hollywood. She is president of the Washington Park Homeowners Association and founder of the Community Enhancement Collaboration, a community-based organization working to enhance the quality of life for residents of Washington Park.

• Niara Sudarkasa, Lauderhill, scholar, educator, Africanist and anthropologist. In 2001 she became the first African American to be installed as a chief in the historic Ife Kingdom of the Yoruba of Nigeria. She is the Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale.

• Mary Zalaznik, Oakland Park, vice president of operations and general manager for VITAS Innovative Hospice Care, the nation's leading provider of end-of-life care. She oversees 2,208 employees in three counties, dealing with some 2,800 patients per day.

The awards luncheon held at the Orangebrook Golf and Country Club,  also kicked off the Commission on the Status of Women’s Needs Assessment 2011 Survey which will evaluate the services provided for women in Broward County. Based on the survey findings, the commission will make recommendations to the Broward County Commission, which it advises on all matters pertaining to the status of women.

To view and complete the survey, visit www.broward.org/Intergovernmental/StatusWomen/Pages/Default.aspx.

PHOTO COURTESY OF BROWARD COUNTY. TRAILBLAZERS: Honorees at the “Women Who Dared” luncheon were, from left, Niara Sudarkasa, Nadine McCrea, Olga Alvarez, Mary Zalaznik and Hazel Armbrister.