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Warwick Beacon: YWCA honoring 13 ‘Women of Achievement’ on Nov. 8

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Two Warwick women, Maya Breuer and Sharon Conard-Wells, will be honored when the YWCA Rhode Island hosts its 14th annual Women of Achievement awards luncheon on Thursday, November 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Kirkbrae Country Club, Lincoln.

The public is invited to join YWCA in honoring 13 women for their accomplishments in industry, culture and public service. Selection is based on YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Recipients demonstrate exceptional skills as leaders, role models or mentors; break new ground or old barriers; are agents for positive change; and inspire others.

An Organization of the Year also will be recognized.

Deborah L. Perry, president and CEO of YWCA Rhode Island will present the awards. Deborah Ruggiero, host of the award-winning radio program “Amazing Women,” will be the emcee.

Maya Breuer, recognized by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of America’s distinguished black yogis, is a preeminent yoga instructor, practitioner, author, community activist and consultant with a career spanning three decades.

She is the president and co-founder of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance, a 501(c)3 non-profit. She is president and co-founder of the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance as well as founder and director of the Santosha School of Yoga. Her annual Yoga Retreat for Women of Color has been offered for 20 years at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

She studied at the Lakulish School in Khayavorahan, Gujarat Province, India, and emphasizes yoga as a method to abate and control chronic illnesses that disproportionately impact people of color. She is co-author of a National Institutes of Health study, Back to Health: Yoga vs. Physical Therapy for Minorities with Chronic Low Back Pain, conducted at the Boston Medical Center and published in the Annals of Medicine in July 2017. She co-created an educational outreach program for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation of RI. She is one of the featured yogis in, Will Yoga and Meditation Really Change My Life: Personal Stories from 25 of North Americas Leading Teachers, by Stephen Cope. She now serves as vice president of Cross-Cultural Advancement for the national Yoga Alliance.

Sharon Conard-Wells has been in community development work for most of her life, professionally and personally. After working as a Computer Systems Analyst and serving as clerk to the RI Senate Corporations Committee, she became involved with the West Elmwood Housing Development Corporation and has been the Executive Director since 1991. Under her leadership, WEHDC works to keep pace with the industry to become a successful 21st century community development corporation. Sharon has a Master of Education degree from Cambridge College and a fellowship from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. She serves on the Board of Directors for; Care New England, the Brain Injury Association of RI, Grow Smart RI and The Housing Network of RI, she is also on the Integra ACO Council, Santander Bank Community Advisory Board and the Rockland Trust New Market Tax Credit Advisory Board. Her passion for empowering others is a gift for all communities.

Also being honored are: Tina-Marie Sullivan, director of the Central Falls Housing Authority; Karen Santilli is president and CEO of Crossroads Rhode Island; Suzanne Magaziner who made her career in business strategy consulting; journalist and storyteller Alisha Pina who is chief Public Affairs Officer for the Rhode Island Department of Human Services; Lucy Rios, director of prevention and communications for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Barbara J. Silvis, a retired VP/Engineering at FM Global; Nondas Hurst Vollis, a peace and social justice advocate; Captain Alyssa DeAndrade is a 21-year veteran of the Providence Police Department; Lindsey Brickle is a strategic program and development consultant working with organizations in the non-profit, public and private sectors; Captain Victoria Tolbert a full time member of the Rhode Island National Guard; Lisa M. Carcifero who has worked in the field of behavioral healthcare treatment for more than 25 years.

Citizens Bank is being named the YWCA’s Organization of the Year. Tickets are $55 per person of reserve a table of 10 for $550. Event underwriting opportunities support YWCA programming and range from $150 to $3,000. Reservations must be made by November 1 by calling 769-7450 or registering online at

Courtesy of Warwick Beacon