The 2010 Fairness Award Honoree Ela Bhatt, the Founder of the Self Employed Women's Association.
2013 Grasstops Honoree
President Tarja Halonen
Her Excellency, Mrs. Tarja Halonen served as the 11th President of Finland from 2000 to 2012 and is the first female to have held the office. While in office she earned record high approval ratings and was elected to two consecutive terms. A trained lawyer, Halonen began her career as the Social Affairs and General Secretary of the National Union of Finnish Students from 1969 to1970, and after became an attorney for the Central Organization of Finnish Trade Unions through 1979. She joined the Social Democratic Party (SDP) of Finland in 1971, serving as Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Kalevi Sorsa from 1974 to 75, and was elected to the Helsinki City Council in 1977, where she served until 1996. In 1979, she began a 21-year run as an SDP Member of Parliament. Halonen also served in various ministerial roles prior to being elected President, including minister of social affairs and health (1987 to 90); minister of Nordic cooperation (1989 to 91); minister of justice, (1990 of 91); foreign affairs minister, (1995 of 2000). As President of Finland, Halonen advocated for inclusion of labor voices in government. Outside of the Presidential office, Halonen has been an advocate for LGTB rights. Prior to her career in public service, she served as Chairman of Seta, the main LGTB rights organization in Finland. Ms. Halonen publicly supported same-sex marriage in 2013.
2013 Grasstops Honoree
Ms. Susan Berresford is the former President of the Ford Foundation (1996-2007) and currently a philanthropy consultant based in New York City. As President of one of the largest foundations in the world, Berresford oversaw programs across the globe that strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Ms. Berresford joined the foundation’s Division of National Affairs in 1970 as a research assistant, eventually becoming officer in charge of its women’s programs and then Vice President for the U.S. and International Affairs programs. After then serving as Vice President in charge of worldwide programming, she was named Executive Vice President and chief operating officer of the foundation, a position she held until she became President in 1996. Before joining Ford, Ms. Berresford served as a program officer from 1965 to 1967 for the Neighborhood Youth Corp and worked from 1967 to 1968 for the Manpower Career Development Agency, where she was responsible for the evaluation of training, education, and work programs. Currently, Ms. Berresford is a board member of numerous organizations, and chairs United States Artists, Inc. Ms. Berresford also serves as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences.
2013 Grassroots Honoree
Ms. Zeinab Al-Momani
Ms. Zeinab Al-Momani is a Jordanian activist and social entrepreneur who founded the Sakhrah Women’s Society Cooperative in 2003. Al-Momani moved to the Sakhrah region after earning her B.A. in Elementary Education, where she found herself inspired to establish programs to provide education for orphans and people with special needs while reducing poverty and unemployment among working women. She began her efforts by establishing the Zain Nursery and Kindergarten School in 2002. In 2003, she subsequently founded the Sakhrah Women’s Society Cooperative to play an active role in the development of the community and the reduction of poverty and unemployment through the economic, social and cultural empowerment of women. The cooperative’s members cultivate, manufacture, package and market agricultural and craft products, allowing the group to operate as a successful for-profit organization. At the same time, the cooperative provides a childcare program and school and university grants for members’ children. The cooperative also offers the women loans to start their own enterprises, as well as the necessary technical training to become project managers of agricultural and dairy initiatives to create local employment. In 2006, Zeinab Al-Momani’s work was recognized with the King Abdullah II Award for Self-employment and Leadership.
2013 Grasstops Honoree Presenter
Senator Jack Reed
Senator Jack Reed is a native of Cranston, Rhode Island and a champion for middle-class families. He believes that, through hard work, all Americans should have the opportunity to build a better life. A graduate of the United States Military Academy, the John F. Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Law School, Senator Reed has served the people of Rhode Island in elected office since 1982, first as a Rhode Island State Senator, then a member of the United States House of Representatives before being elected to succeed Claiborne Pell in 1996 as Rhode Island’s 46th United States Senator. Today, Senator Reed continues to utilize the lessons he learned growing up in Cranston, which were deepened in the Army and tested in the halls of Congress, to stand up and speak out for the hard-working families who are the heart and soul of our country.
2013 Grasstops Honoree Presenter
Ms. Kathryn Fuller
Kathryn S. Fuller is currently the chair National Museum of Natural History and a managing partner in Doyle Property Partners. Previously, Ms. Fuller was president and chief executive of World Wildlife Fund from 1989 to 2005. Prior to that, she was executive vice president, general counsel and director of WWF’s programs in public policy and wildlife trade monitoring. Ms. Fuller serves on a number of boards, including Alcoa, the Summit Foundation, Resources for the Future, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Greater Himalayas Foundation.
2013 Grassroots Honoree Presenter
Ms. Ann Stock
On June 23, 2010, Ms. Ann Stock was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA), which promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private sector, professional, youth and sports exchange programs. From September 1997 to June 2010, Ms. Stock was vice president of Institutional Affairs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts following her tenure as Deputy Assistant to President William J. Clinton and as Social Secretary at The White House. Assistant Secretary Stock, a native of Indiana, holds a B.A. from Purdue University.
2013 Special Guest: Mistress of Ceremonies
Ms. Andrea Roane
Ms. Andrea Roane joined WUSA 9 in August of 1981 as the Sunday evening and 6:30 a.m. weekday anchor. Andrea is best known to viewers for her passionate reporting on breast health issues and promoting the importance of early detection in the fight against breast cancer. In 2006, Andrea was named one of Washingtonian Magazine’s “Washingtonians of the Year” for her continued work on breast cancer awareness. A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Andrea earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Education and a Master of Arts degree in Drama and Communications from Louisiana State University in New Orleans, now the University of New Orleans.
2013 Musical Guest: Special Performance
At a young age, Shemekia Copeland is already a force to be reckoned with in the blues. While only in her early 30’s, she’s opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival and numerous festivals around the world, scored critics choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic (The New York Times and The Times of London), shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton, and has even performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Heir to the rich tradition of soul- drenched divas like Ruth Brown, Etta James and Koko Taylor, the singer was presented with Taylor’s crown on June 12, 2011 at the Chicago Blues Festival and officially given the honor as the new “Queen of the Blues” by Taylor’s daughter, Cookie.
Born in Harlem, New York, in 1979, Copeland actually came to her singing career slowly. Her father, the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, recognized his daughter’s talent early on. He always encouraged her to sing at home, and even brought her on stage to sing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was just eight. At the time, Shemekia’s embarrassment outweighed her desire to sing. But when she was fifteen and her father’s health began to fail, her outlook changed. “It was like a switch went off in my head, and I wanted to sing,” she says. “It became a want and a need. I had to do it.”
At only 19, Shemekia stepped out of her father’s shadow with the Alligator release of 1998 debut recording, Turn the Heat Up!, and the critics raved. The Village Voice called her “nothing short of uncanny,” while the Boston Globe proclaimed that “she roars with a sizzling hot intensity.” A year later, she appeared in the Motion Picture Three To Tango, while her song “I Always Get My Man, was featured in the film Broken Hearts Club.
Her second album, Wicked, released in 2000, scored three Handy Awards (Song of the Year, Blues Album of the Year, Contemporary Female Artist of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination. Two years later, New Orleans R&B legend Dr. John stepped in to produce her third recording, Talking To Strangers (2002), which Vibe called “a masterful blend of ballsy rockers and cheeky ballads.”
Watch Shemekia Copeland's Video HERE