Nominations for the 2022 In the Company of Women Awards has closed. Winners will be selected by a committee of judges that includes previous winners.
Save the Date for the 33rd Annual In the Company of Women Awards which will be on March 10, 2022, at the Coral Gables Country Club, 990 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables, FL.
Winners and tickets will be announced in January 2022.
Every March, in celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women's Day, Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, in partnership with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and the Miami-Dade Commission for Women present the In the Company of Women Awards ceremony to recognize Miami-Dade County women leaders and their contributions to this community.
Mayor’s Pioneer Award
Darlene Boytell-Pérez, ARNP, Co-Founder, Pérez Art Museum Miami
Darlene Boytell-Pérez is native to Miami, Florida. She is an advanced registered nurse practitioner with more than 25 years of experience specializing in gastroenterology and the Hepatitis C virus. She received her nursing and nurse practitioner degrees from Florida International University (FIU).
She has received numerous awards for her contribution to the profession. Outside of private practice with Gastro Health, she is an adjunct clinical preceptor for the Nurse Practitioner Graduate Program at FIU. She is a champion for health care and education, especially for the physically and developmentally disabled.
Boytell-Pérez is involved in various civic and cultural organizations, having served as a board member at United Community Options, as well as the United Way. She currently serves as an active member on the boards of the Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation, the Nursing Advisory Council for the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing and Health Sciences at FIU, Generation S.O.S., and Gulliver Schools Board of Trustees. She is also a founding member and ambassador of the International Women’s Committee at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
Most recently, Boytell-Pérez and her husband, along with their children, established the CreArte Grants Program through the Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation supporting 23 Miami-based organizations that have received grants to promote arts and culture across South Florida. As a family, they are focused on making a positive impact through their community investments as well as a leaving behind a long-lasting philanthropic legacy.
An important aspect of Boytell-Pérez’s life is spending quality time with family – Felipe, their teenage son, and Jorge’s three children, Christina, Jon Paul and Nicholas, and her parents, sisters, and dogs. Boytell-Pérez enjoys reading, cooking, and traveling with her husband.
Arts and Entertainment Award
Maria Banda-Rodaz, Executive Director, Area Stage Company
Maria Banda-Rodaz is a mother of five and holds a degree in modern languages from Florida International University where she graduated magna cum laude. Born and raised in Ecuador, she became a dancer at the young age of three. In 1980, she moved to New York City to expand her performing arts training at Columbia University and Kean University.
In 1989, Banda-Rodaz joined the award-winning theatrical organization Area Stage Company in Miami as the managing director. There she began working with and later married Founder and Artistic Director John Rodaz.
She went on to earn a reputation as a critically acclaimed director and producer, and in 1997 was named “Best Director” by the Miami New Times. In 2002, she founded FemeninoPlural, a two-year Spanish theatre initiative, directing the play “Hombres” at GableStage, which debuted at the Hispanic Theatre Festival. She also presented, among other works, a series of play readings for the Centro Cultural Español.
Later, Banda-Rodaz pivoted from theatre to the Miami television and film industries as the associate producer of “We Shoot ‘Em,” and later independently working with industry giants such as Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Sony, 20th Century Fox, HBO, Disney, NBC, Bravo, Style, and Castle Rock. She also founded and worked as the president of Videndi Entertainment Group, a film company that developed multicultural content.
In 2009, Banda-Rodaz helped create the Area Stage Theatre Conservatory which offers professional development to artists of all ages. In 2014, she started the Inclusion Theatre Project, extending the conservatory training to actors with special needs. The project serves more than 300 students with developmental disabilities a year.
To date, Banda-Rodaz has contributed to the production of more than 400 plays and musicals - many of them award-winning. She also has the unique honor of being the first Hispanic woman to win the Carbonell Award for Best Direction (“Sea Marks”). Banda-Rodaz and her husband John were also honored with the 2014 Remy Award for their Outstanding Contribution to Children’s Theatre in South Florida. Additionally, in recognition of her three decades serving the community through nonprofits, the City of Coral Gables named her 2017 Woman of the Year in Public Service.
Currently, Banda-Rodaz is working on the original play “Letters from Camp” with famed Broadway producer and director Arthur Whitelaw.
Business and Economics Award
Nancy Batchelor, Sr. Vice President, EWM Realty International
Marketing savant, trusted real estate resource and top-producing agent with over $850 million in career sales, Nancy Batchelor is the leading real estate agent to CEOs, celebrities, the world’s elite, and international investors looking to buy or sell real estate in South Florida. Batchelor has earned a reputation of having in-depth market knowledge and marketing prowess to successfully showcase and sell some of South Florida’s most sought-after residences.
Batchelor serves on the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden Board and the Adrienne Arsht Foundation Board, and is part of the United Way’s Tocqueville Society. She has also chaired the Chapman Partnership Gala, as well as the Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science Gala, and has served on the board of the Cushman School. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami recently honored her and her husband Jon as its Gala Power Couple, largely due to their philanthropy through the Batchelor Foundation.
Batchelor was honored by the Junior League of Miami and received an award for Women Who Make a Difference. Batchelor is an active member of La Gorce Country Club, Coral Reef Yacht Club, Ocean Reef Yacht Club and Caribou Club Aspen. She is a dog lover and an avid equestrian.
Communications and Literature Award
Griselle Marino, Communications and Media Director, Office of Community Advocacy, Board of County Commissioners
Two-time Emmy award-winning journalist Griselle Marino is a 25-year communications professional who has served Miami-Dade County Government in various capacities, from public information officer at Miami International Airport to public affairs manager for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and the Office of Emergency Management. She also served as director of media for the Office of the Chair, Board of County Commissioners.
Throughout her career, Marino has used her professional skills to inform and enlighten residents of all economic, ethnic and racial backgrounds, and to empower them with the knowledge to improve their quality of life. She currently hosts a biweekly web and radio show to inform the community of the many services and programs available in Miami-Dade County.
Marino was a news anchor at Bay News 9, TV co-host with Ed O’Dell at WLRN-PBS Channel 17, and worked as a journalist at America-TEVE Channel 41, Telemundo 51, Dynamic Cablevision - Miavision, Univision 23, and Radio Caracol 1260 AM. She has interviewed former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, Prince Albert of Monaco, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, and many other world figures.
Marino earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications with a minor in English from Florida International University, where she also completed 43 semester credits at the Legal Studies Institute in the College of Law.
Education and Research Award
Suzanna M. Rose, Ph.D., Founding Associate Provost, Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity (AWED), Florida International University
Suzanna Rose, Ph.D, is founding associate provost for the Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity and professor of psychology and women’s and gender studies at Florida International University (FIU).
She is the lead investigator for FIU’s NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant, aimed at improving recruitment, promotion and retention of women and underrepresented minority faculty. A key research project of the grant is the development of an evidence-based bystander intervention program to reduce gender and race bias in faculty hiring, promotion and retention. She has published extensively on issues related to gender, race, and sexual orientation, including professional networks, career development, and leadership.
Government and Law - Elected Official Award
Honorable Jeanette M. Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor, State of Florida
Jeanette M. Nuñez was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She became Florida’s first Latina lieutenant governor in 2018. As lieutenant governor, she oversees the Department of Health, where she chairs the Board of Space Florida, the state’s Cybersecurity Task Force and Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission and serves on the Statewide Human Trafficking Council.
In her former role as State Representative of the Florida House of Representatives and Speaker Pro Tempore, Nuñez chaired subcommittees on health quality, government operations and technology appropriation, higher education and workforce.
She began her healthcare career at Jackson Health System, where she worked as state director and later, vice president of government relations. She went on to lead Hospital Corporation of America, as vice president of community affairs for both Kendall Regional Medical Center and Aventura Hospital and Medical Center.
Over the years, Nuñez has demonstrated her staunch commitment to the South Florida community through her active involvement in organizations and groups like Kristi House, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, Leadership Miami, and Women’s Healthcare Executive Network.
Nuñez is a proud graduate of Florida International University (FIU) with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Political Science and a Master of Public Administration. She is also served as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer for FIU. In addition, she holds a Six Sigma Certificate from the University of Miami and is a Leadership Miami graduate.
She is married to husband Adrian and together they have three children – Megan, Justin, and Jason.
Government and Law - Non-Elected Award
Christina White, Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections
Christina White is a career public servant with over 16 years of employment with Miami-Dade County, 14 of which are with the Elections Department.
White has served in several leadership capacities while with the department. In 2015, the mayor of Miami-Dade County appointed White as Supervisor of Elections, where she oversees the largest elections operation in the state of Florida and the seventh in the nation. This includes administering more than 30 federal, state and municipal elections per year, serving more than 1.5 million registered voters, managing up to 30 early voting locations and 907 precincts on Election Day. White manages a staff of 99 full-time employees, up to 1,500 temporary employees and 6,000 poll workers with an annual operating budget of $32 million.
She holds a bachelor's degree from Florida International University.
Health and Human Services Award
Ana “Teri” Busse-Arvesu, Elderly and Disability Services, Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services Department
Together with public and private partners, Busse-Arvesu is advocating for some of the most vulnerable resources and information on programs and activities for seniors throughout the county. She believes in a strong community partnership, proper training, and increased awareness on the needs of seniors, and works tirelessly for the betterment of the community by spearheading projects on their behalf. She most recently served as a senior advocate for former Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez's Initiative on Aging.
Busse-Arvesu holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Florida International University and a Master of Science in Human Resources from Nova University; along with a certification in Medical/Legal RISK Management and a Health/Annuity/Long Term Care license. She is also a commissioned Lay Minister in the Archdiocese of Miami in the area of women issues.
She has over 40 years of healthcare experience in managed care, hospital administration, pharmaceutical research and sales. Busse-Arvesu has also focused on social services, working with disabled adults, homeless and abused women and the elderly. She has also worked on programs to empower women.
Science and Technology Award
Yuk-Ching Tse-Dinh, Ph.D., Professor and founding director of the Biomolecular Sciences Institute and the Translational Molecular Discoveries program, Florida International University
Dr. Yuk-Ching Tse-Dinh is an educator, inventor, and expert on anticancer and antibacterial drugs. After receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she conducted research as a Principal Investigator at DuPont. She then rose through the faculty ranks of New York Medical College before joining Florida International University in 2012 as the Founding Director for the interdisciplinary Biomolecular Sciences Institute. Recently, she established the Emerging Preeminent Translational Molecular Discoveries Program, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported Transdisciplinary Biomolecular and Biomedical Sciences doctoral training program. Her research has been funded by NIH, industry, TB Alliance and gifts from private donors.
Sports and Athletics Award
Kerry Gruson, Co-founder and co-chair, ThumbsUp International
Kerry Gruson’s occupation on LinkedIn reads “Terminal Optimist” and you would be hard-pressed to find someone more suited to the position than her. Shortly after graduating from Harvard, Gruson was working as a journalist and was traveling to Vietnam to report on the end of the war. While interviewing a Green Beret veteran, he experienced a PTSD flashback and thought Gruson was part of the Viet Cong. He strangled her and left her for dead. Thankfully, she survived, and though she is quadriplegic, she has continued to work as a journalist and is an accomplished athlete.
Gruson founded a non-profit called ThumbsUp International that pairs able bodied athletes with differently abled athletes so they can compete. She and her athletic partners compete in races from 5Ks to triathlons. Fighting for those with different abilities so they can partake in all the activities of their choosing, ThumbsUp International want children to learn that anything is possible with their motto: TOGETHER WE CAN.
She has won four Emmys for her documentary “May I Help You”, released a second documentary in 2019, and with her running partner Caryn Lubetsky, holds one record in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most triathlon races hauling another person completed in one month. Gruson is also an accomplished scuba diver.
Gruson has touched countless lives. She inspires everyone she meets. She encourages everyone to push beyond perceived limitations. In her own words, “I choose to live out loud. I never allow my disabilities define or deter me. [I have] an appreciation of the gift of life and its challenges.”
Young Professional Award
Claudia Prado, National Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Empowerment, Univision Communications Inc.
Claudia Prado is a Corporate Social Responsibility Professional, who has earned the reputation as a strategic leader in the media industry.
Currently, Prado leads national programs for Univision's Corporate Affairs Team. She manages complex operations for corporate social responsibility initiatives and serves as the chief liaison between Univision Corporate teams and over one-hundred affiliates nationwide. Prior to her present role, she served as part of Univision Miami in public affairs, research, and sales.
Throughout her career, Prado has been recognized with the Gold President Volunteer Service Award and regional Emmy Awards.
Prado holds a Master of Business Administration from Florida International University.
Community Spirit Award
Honorable Marie P. Woodson, Florida Representative, District 101, Miami-Dade County Administrator (retired), and former Chair of the Miami-Dade Commission for Women.
Marie P. Woodson is a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing District 101. She assumed office on November 3, 2020, after winning the general election.
A retired Miami-Dade County administrator, Woodson completed 35 years of service in Miami-Dade County government. Her professional experiences, ranging from social worker aide to assistant department director of the Community Action and Human Services Department, resulted in her unwavering commitment to helping others in her community and impacting so many lives.
Woodson is the immediate past chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, the board chair of the Family Action Network Movement, the Broward regional director of the Democratic Haitian American Caucus of Florida, vice president of the Haitian American Democratic Club, and a member of other boards.
She is the recipient of many honors, including Women of Excellence and Women of Impact awards.
Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, in partnership with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and the Miami-Dade Commission for Women announce the Call for Nominations for the 2022 In the Company of Women Awards.
Nominations for the 33 Annual In the Company of Women Awards runs from July 19 through Sept. 3. All women in Miami-Dade County who have exemplified professional development, community responsibility, leadership and vision, contribution to women’s progress, and promotion of pluralism, are eligible.
How to Nominate
- Complete the nomination form
- Submit the following:
- Nominee’s resume
- One high-resolution color photo of the nominee
- No more than three supporting documents such as recommendation letters, newspaper or magazine articles, etc. If submitting recommendation letters, the letters must be from persons other than the nominator. For the Mayor’s Pioneer Award, please submit three recommendation letters and no more than two additional supporting documents.)
Nomination packages must be completed by 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 3.
Nomination forms that fail to include the requested items and/or do not meet the application deadline, will automatically be disqualified.
Past recipients of the In the Company of Women award are not eligible.
A committee of community leaders will review nomination packages to determine the nominee’s eligibility.
For more information, contact:
Monica Skoko Rodriguez, Executive Director
Miami-Dade County Commission for Women
111 NW 1st Street, Suite 1034, Miami, FL 33128.
Phone: 305-375-4967 or Email: [email protected].
It’s time to honor an amazing woman – nominate her today!
Every March, in celebration of Women’s History Month, Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, in partnership with the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and the Miami-Dade Commission for Women, present the In the Company of Women Awards ceremony to recognize Miami-Dade County women leaders and their contributions to this community.
Created in 1989 during a tumultuous time in Miami where racial and ethnic tensions caused divisions in our community, the award was meant to help heal those wounds and bring the community together. Women like Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Yvonne Santa Maria, Athalie Range, Elizabeth Virrick and Alice Wainwright were the first set of trailblazers to be recognized for the role they played in paving new paths for women. For more than three decades, hundreds of women have joined this elite group of recipients.
The In the Company of Women Awards Ceremony also highlights the work and contributions of The Women’s Park – a Miami-Dade County Park – which opened in 1992 to recognize and celebrate women’s impact and influences in society. It is the first park in the nation of its kind, spearheaded by pioneer feminist Roxcy O’Neal Bolton, a coalition of women leaders, former Miami-Dade Mayor, the late Stephen P. Clark, and with the support of the Board of County Commissioners, it stands as a symbol of the trials and triumphs women have faced throughout the years.
The Women’s Park is home to the Girls Empowerment and Mentoring (G.E.M.) Summer Arts Camp, funded by The Children’s Trust, for girls ages 6-14, providing visual and performing arts and self-enrichment experiences, through classes and workshops in dance, musical theatre, music/chorus, painting, journalism, photography/videography, women’s history, community service, and leadership development.
Proceeds from In the Company of Women support the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and Miami-Dade County Parks’ programs, such as The Women’s Park’s Girls Empowerment and Mentoring (G.E.M.) Summer Arts Camp.
- Mayor's Pioneer Award - Darlene Boytell-Pérez, ARNP, Co-Founder, Pérez Art Museum Miami
- Arts and Entertainment Award - Maria Banda-Rodaz, Executive Director, Area Stage Company
- Business and Economics Award - Nancy Batchelor, Sr. Vice President, EWM Realty International
- Communications and Literature Award - Griselle Marino, Communications and Media Director, Office of Community Advocacy, Board of County Commissioners
- Education and Research Award - Suzanna M. Rose, Ph.D., Founding Associate Provost, Office to Advance Women, Equity & Diversity (AWED), Florida International University
- Government and Law - Elected Official Award - Honorable Jeanette M. Nuñez, Lieutenant Governor, State of Florida
- Government and Law - Non-Elected Award - Christina White, Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections
- Health and Human Services Award - Ana ''Teri''Busse-Arvesu, Elderly and Disability Services, Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services Department
- Science and Technology Award - Yuk-Ching Tse-Dinh, Ph.D., Professor and founding director of the Biomolecular Sciences Institute and the Translational Molecular Discoveries program, Florida International University
- Sports and Athletics Award - Kerry Gruson, Co-founder and co-chair, ThumbsUp International
- Young Professional Award - Claudia Prado, National Director of Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Empowerment, Univision Communications Inc.
- Community Spirit Award - Honorable Marie P. Woodson, Florida Representative, District 101, Miami-Dade County Administrator (retired), and former Chair of the Miami-Dade Commission for Women
- Mayor’s Pioneer – Barbara Falsey, Ph.D, Retired Miami-Dade County Division Chief and Planner; author, editor, and architecture critic
- Mayor's Community Spirit – Ana VeigaMilton, Esq., President, Jose Milton Foundation
- Arts and Entertainment – Colleen Stovall, Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Florida Shakespeare Theater
- Business and Economics – Janet Kyle Altman, Marketing Principal, Kaufman Rossin
- Communications and Literature – Lissette Gonzalez, Meteorologist, CBS4
- Rising Star Community Spirit – Sabrina Cohen, Founder-President, Sabrina Cohen Foundation
- Education and Research – Ora L. Strickland, Ph.D., MSN, RN, FAAN, Dean, FIU College of Nursing & Health and Sciences
- Government and Law (Elected Official) – Honorable Ana Maria Rodriguez, Representative, Florida House of Representatives, District 105
- Government and Law (Non-Elected) –
- Delma K. Noel-Pratt, Chief, City of Miami Gardens Police Department
- Susan R. Windmiller, Government Affairs Analyst, Miami-Dade Police Department
- Health and Human Services – Rochelle A. Baer, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., Director of Leadership Training Initiatives, Mailman Center for Child Development, UM Miller School of Medicine
- Science and Technology –
- Ranu Jung, Ph. D., Wallace H. Coulter Eminent Scholar Chair in Biomedical Engineering, Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing
- Tatjana Rundek, M.D. Ph.D., Scientific Director of the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute and Evelyn F. McKnight Chair for Learning and Memory in Aging at the UM Miller School of Medicine
- Sports and Athletics – Isabella Rojas, Founder of Doña Pan (women’s cycling group) and Purchasing Manager, No Boundaries Sport, Coral Gables
- Young Professional – Maxeme Tuchman, CEO & Co-Founder, Caribu Inc.
- Mayor's Pioneer – Honorable Enid Weisman, Mayor, City of Aventura
- Arts & Entertainment – Silvia Cubiñá, Director and Chief Curator, The Bass Museum of Art
- Business & Economics – Lakitsia Gaines, President, Lakitsia Gaines Insurance Agency, Inc.
- Communications & Literature – Sandra Peebles, Anchor & Broadcast Journalist, Univision 23
- Education and Research – Joanna Lombard, Architect/Professor, University of Miami School of Architecture; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences
- Government and Law (Elected Official) – Honorable Shelley Kravitz (Aug. 9, 1953 - Jan. 2, 2018), Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court Judge, County Civil Division
- Government and Law (Non-Elected) – Aliette DelPozo Rodz, Litigation Attorney/Partner, Shutts & Bowen LLP
- Health and Human Services – two winners: Catherimarty (Cathy) Burgos, LCSW Division Director of Operations, Miami-Dade County Juvenile Services Department; and Dr. Giselle Guerra, Medical Director of Transplant Services and Living Donor Kidney Program, Miami Transplant Institute; Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
- Science & Technology – Veronique Koch, Producer/Filmmaker, Vero Productions/South Florida PBS/Frost Science Museum
- Sports & Athletics – Caron B. Schiffman, Physical Education Instructor/Coach, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School
- Young Professional (New) – Honorable Patricia D. Fairclough, Vice Mayor, City of Homestead
- Community Spirit – Marile Lopez, Philanthropist, Miami Children's Hospital Foundation, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross and others
- Mayor's Pioneer - Carol Kruse, director, Zoo Miami
- Arts & Entertainment - Nannette Zapata, COO and art curator, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
- Business & Economics Patricia Nelson, regional head of strategic accounts, AvMed
- Education and Research - Dr. Lenore Rodicio, executive vice president and provost, Miami-Dade College
- Government and Law (Elected Official) Honorable Nushin Sayfie, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court judge, Criminal Division; and Honorable Angelica Zayas, Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court judge, Juvenile Division
- Government and Law (Non-Elected) - Dr. Emma Lew, director and Medical Examiner, Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department
- Health and Human Services - Annie Neasman, MS, RN, president and CEO, Jessie Trice Community Health Center, Inc.
- Science & Technology - Dr. Yesim Darici, director, FIU Center for Women's and Gender Studies
- Sports & Athletics - Leslie Nixon, J.D., Ed.D., director, Government and Community Affairs, Miami Dolphins LTD/Miami Dolphins Foundation.
- Posthumous - Julie Kay, journalist, Daily Business Review
- Community Spirit - Maria M. Blet, chair of the Women's Leadership Council, United Way Worldwide / United Way of Miami-Dade