The University Record, November 8, 1999

Women of the Year named at WCTF ceremony

By Theresa Maddix

1999 Women of the Year Award recipients are (left to right) Linda R. Kennedy, the Rebecca A. Vaughn Distinguished Service Award, Linda M. Chatters for human relations, Martha Taylor for leadership and Carmen R. Green for human relations. Photo by Bob Kalmbach
“When you have creative people thinking about how we can get together, how we can support each other,” Gloria Edwards said, “it does mushroom into something more and something that benefits all of us.”

Edwards, director of the Program for Multicultural Health and 1998 Woman of the Year in Leadership, spoke at the Women of Color Taskforce Woman of the Year Awards ceremony Nov. 4 in Rackham Assembly Hall. This year’s award recipients were Martha Thomas, Linda M. Chatters, Linda R. Kennedy and Carmen R. Green.

Edwards reminded recipients, friends and families that for women to succeed they “must certainly be reliable and dependable,” must have technical and academic expertise, and must “be the person who goes the extra mile—giving 110 percent.”

“We often ask ourselves,” she said, “ ‘Are we going to blend in or are we going to do those things that can be a part of our own cultural identity?’ ” Examples Edwards gave were of choice of dress, expressions, hairstyles and what is brought for lunch—“all these things are a part of who we are.”

“Part of our mission is to educate, to inform others who are not like ourselves. We must take the opportunity to talk about why we may do the things that we do.”

Edwards warned that while climbing the career ladder, friends “left behind” may feel jealous and react negatively. This is unfortunate, she said, because with new responsibilities comes a need for support from established friends. To maintain some friendships, she said, you have to “be supportive but in different ways than before. Many relationships have to change.”

Taylor, technologist in the Information Technology Division (ITD), was named the Woman of the Year in Leadership. In receiving the award, Taylor said she would like to “Thank God for health and strength” and thank the “great role models in leadership from ITD.”

Taylor is on the Ypsilanti School Board, is vice chair of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival and works very closely with Project HOPE (Health Occupational Programs in Education). The project encourages young students to pursue professions in health.

Chatters, associate professor of health behavior and health education in the School of Public Health, was named the Woman of the Year in Human Relations. “Being true to yourself, remembering who you are, and letting who you are shine through,” she said, are important personal tasks. Chatters, who studies the relationship between race, religion and health, mentored a student in the Summer Research Opportunity Program.

Presenting Chatters with her award was Sherman A. Williams, the John P. Kirscht Collegiate Professor of Public Health, and chair, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education. He spoke of Chatters as bringing “a mature, reasoned voice” at committee meetings.

Kennedy, administrative assistant in the Rackham Graduate School Human Resource Office, received the Rebecca A. Vaughn Distinguished Service Award. Stephanie Estes-James, academic secretary, read her acronym for L-I-N-D-A in the presentation: L for loving and loud, I for intelligent and insightful, N for neurotically perfect, D for dynamic and direct, and A for a true friend, daughter, aunt, godmother and sister-friend.

Estes-James said she has seen Kennedy “work so hard her ankles swell and she can’t put on a shoe.”

Kennedy spoke of the Women of Color Task Force as “a safe haven where women, especially women of color can receive encouragement.” Then, she thanked her mother by reading a poem written by Stevie Wonder.

Green, assistant professor of anesthesiology and director, Acute Pain Service, also was named the Woman of the Year in Human Relations. Kevin Tremper, the Robert B. Sweet Professor of Anesthesiology and chair, Department of Anesthesiology, said that Green was the first physician ever to be named employee of the month at the Medical Center and the first physician to be named employee of the year. Tremper said Green has affected the entire anesthesiology department by “making sure she hears what everyone has to say” in meetings and “stating her mind no matter what.”

Green said, in her acceptance speech, “I am incredibly blessed to have a chairman like Kevin—a chairman of great conscience.” She also thanked her parents, saying her mother was always telling her, “You’re my horse. I’m betting on you to win, place or show.”

“I am a product of my environment,” Green said, “a great and healthy environment with people of good conscience.”