Honor the Empowerment of Women at the Pillar Awards LuncheonFeb 24, 2020 03:45PM ● By WLMagazine
by Megan Sarnaki | photo by Two Eagles Marcus
Entering its 31st year, the Women’s Resource Center sets the stage for its annual Pillar Awards Luncheon on March 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Held at the JW Marriott, this luncheon aims to honor companies that focus on elevating and empowering women across West Michigan.
“When women feel empowered at work, they are not only encouraged to advance within the workplace, but also given access to training and development opportunities as well as leadership positions that women have not traditionally been afforded in the past,” said Sandra Gaddy, CEO of the Women’s Resource Center. “It’s important for companies to ensure that every woman on every level of your organization has access to fair opportunities within your company and feel empowered to go after those positions and training.”
Serving over 600 women each year, the Women’s Resource Center assists those who are transitioning from poverty or long-term unemployment to self-sufficiency. According to Gaddy, the main purpose behind the Pillar Awards Luncheon is not only to celebrate the companies and community organizations being awarded, but it is also to commend each of the women who are served every year.
“This is truly a fundraiser that helps us serve more women in the community who are looking for opportunities to make a transition into the workforce. It’s critical to helping us be able to continue to sustain and share the impact of the programming that we have at Women’s Resource Center,” Gaddy said.
Established in 2012, the New Beginnings program is one such service that offers women who are housed in the Kent County Jail opportunities to thrive after incarceration with mentoring, employment plans, life skills development and case management services. Out of 382 women served, 85% of women secured employment and 86% of those women were still employed at the six-month benchmark, according to the Women’s Resource Center.
“This past year, we served close to 150 women coming out of our Kent County program,” Gaddy said. “Helping women transition from incarceration into workforce is challenging, but it’s incredibly important for our community to have such programs that help these women make that transition back into the workforce and give them another chance. When men and women are productive citizens, the economic impact is seen by the entire community because you are building a stronger workforce and stronger families side by side.”
What: 31st Annual Pillar Awards
When: March 12, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Where: J.W. Marriott