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Mayor Bowser Honors Community Leaders at Washington Women of Excellence Awards

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

(WASHINGTON, DC) – This evening, Mayor Bowser honored six women leaders from Washington, DC at the Washington Women of Excellence Awards, an annual event hosted by the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives. The six honorees, who have a wide range of accomplishments in their respective fields, are all trailblazers who have advanced opportunities for other women in Washington, DC and beyond. 

“Tonight, we honor six women who embody DC’s values. Tonight’s honorees are trailblazers and role models, and the contributions they have made to our community are invaluable,” said Mayor Bowser. “As Mayor, one of my top priorities is ensuring that we level the playing field for women and girls, and it is because of women like these six honorees that we continue to make tremendous progress in Washington, DC.”

This year’s honorees included:

Maureen Bunyan, a pioneering figure in TV news
Bunyan was among the first African American women in the nation to anchor a local evening newscast, and she appeared almost continuously over the past 44 years as a reporter and anchor on local DC stations. Bunyan is a founder of both the National Association of Black Journalists and the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF).

Pege Gilgannon, the official photographer for ABC7 
Gilgannon served as the official photographer for ABC7 for 42 years. She first joined the news channel as a film editor in 1977, and later worked in film and digital. 

Diane Groomes, Assistant Chief of Patrol Services and School Safety Bureau at the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD)
Assistant Chief Groomes first joined MPD in 1990, quickly moved up the ranks, and was appointed to her current position in 2007. Assistant Chief Groomes oversees school safety in DC, all patrol units from the First to Seventh Districts, and the Special Liaison Division. 

Janaye Ingram, leader of the Women’s March Movement
Ingram, one of the leaders of the Women’s March movement, currently works as a consultant in Washington, DC and previously served as the National Executive Director of the National Action Network. She has engaged communities throughout the United States and internationally on civil rights, voting rights and democracy, healthcare, education, economic empowerment, women’s rights, and activism. 

Jodi Elaine Ovca, founder and CEO of Access Youth
Ovca has worked for over 20 years to curb the school-to-prison pipeline and better the lives of disadvantaged youth in Washington, DC through her work as the CEO of Access Youth. She has worked as an advocate, mentor, teacher, and mediator and developed, implemented, and promoted holistic, community-based alternatives to violence and incarceration. 

Catalina Velasquez, activist and a Commissioner for the DC Office of Latino Affairs
Velasquez is the President and founder of Consult Catalina, a strategic policy, communications, and diversity firm. In addition to working with the DC Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs, Velasquez has also worked with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the AFL-CIO, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. She is the first transgender immigrant Latina appointed as a Commissioner for the DC Office of Latino Affairs.   

All honorees were nominated by members of the DC Commission on Women, the Director of the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives, and Mayor Bowser’s senior staff. Final selections were made by Mayor Bowser.