I had the great honor of photographing some of the most talented, beautiful & inspirational women these past few weeks, that I have known. Each of the are recipients of the Women of Distinction Award, given out by the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) of Southern Nevada. NAWBO's main goal is to educate, empower and promote women business owners to experience success in all economic, political and social arenas. The organization provides informative and success driven monthly meetings which include time devoted to networking with other women entrepreneurs.
The first meeting of Southern Nevada’s chapter of NAWBO was held on February 26, 1990. The inaugural class had 52 members and the meeting was standing-room only. That early success was contagious and, only two years after forming, the first NAWBO National Conference was held in Las Vegas. The conference had record attendance including nearly 200 walk ins. In 1995, just five short years after forming, three NAWBO Southern Nevada members were elected to the Nevada delegation for the White House conference on small business. In 1998 the chapter launched the Women of Distinction Awards, honoring women from all walks of life for their work in improving Southern Nevada’s business landscape.
Meet the 4 or the 13 outstanding women who received this prestigious award last year. After spend just a couple of hours with each you can see why they were selected to receive the WODA.
Mayor Debra March
City of Henderson Mayor Debra March is the 2018 recipient of the Glass Ceiling Award presented by the National Association of Women Business Owners Southern Nevada during its Women of Distinction Awards. This prestigious tribute annually recognizes a woman who has demonstrated acts of breaking down barriers and securing opportunities for women to advance in their chosen profession.
Debra March was sworn in as Mayor of the City of Henderson in June 2017. She serves with her fellow council members as the legislative branch of the Henderson community, where she is a strong advocate of economic development and works to attract new business, create jobs and diversify the local economy. These efforts are designed to maintain Henderson’s standing as a premier city in which to live, work, and enjoy award-winning parks, trails and recreational opportunities.
Always seeking ways to further women’s growth and development, Mayor March participated in the Governing Institute’s 2018 Women in Government Leadership Program class. This is a national program that selects 25 women to participate every year. The yearlong program is designed to promote and support elected women leaders from across the nation.
Dr. Carrie A. Buck
Dr. Carrie Buck began her career as an educator in 1996, teaching at Gwendolyn Wooley Elementary in Southern Nevada. Over the next 10 years, Carrie went from teacher to an assistant principal. She earned the title of principal of C.T. Sewell Elementary school in 2006. She went on to lead the school to become a National Title I Distinguished School.
Carrie made the transition from the Clark County School District to a public charter school in 2014 when she became the principal of Pinecrest Academy. The school’s mission is to unite the community in order to prepare students for college and a career. Since becoming principal, Carrie has helped lead the school to tremendous growth. Pinecrest has grown from one to four campuses in two years. The school has also become a hub for STEM education. Today Carrie serves as executive director for the schools.
Diva Las Vegas Productions CEO, Performer and Event Producer
Michelle Johnson contracts talent, directs and coordinates entertainment for large scale events. She is known as “Las Vegas’ First Lady of Jazz” and her unique talents as both an entertainer and producer have led her to work with a myriad of well known recording artists, television and film studios, Fortune 500 corporations and destination management companies.
In addition to her production skills, she is a vocalist, composer, actress and writer. Michelle attended and graduated from Yale University, has performed on Broadway and enjoys a successful career backing up icons in the music industry. Today, she is a headliner in Las Vegas, and performs at consistently sold out shows at the Smith Center and performing arts centers across the world. In her spare time, Michelle is a motivational speaker and mentor to women who are seeking careers in entertainment. She is also a co-author of the book “Power of the Platform”.
Highlights of her theater career include playing Sister Hubert in Nunsense, Evilene in The Wiz, and Effie inDreamgirls. She also has an extensive resume as a premiere backup vocalist, and has enjoyed touring, recording or making special appearances with mega superstars including Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, Elton John, Gladys Knight, David Foster, Sheena Easton, Wynonna, Slash, Donnie Osmond, and many more. She is also currently a member of the world-famous Platters. She has appeared on CBS, HBO, NBC,ABC, TNT and more,and performs on award shows like the CMA (County Music Awards) and at live sporting events for the NBA and MLB (Major League Baseball.)
Founder & CEO of The Salt Room, Inc.
Ava is the true embodiment of the American Dream. She was born and raised in Armenia, a country where the hierarchy of men and women still stands strong. Noticing opportunities for growth overseas inspired her to make a better life for herself and other women. Ava has a passion for helping women feel empowered and live a wholehearted life.
Throughout her career she worked in many international non-profit organizations and helped empower many women and youth through leadership training, building communities and changing hierarchy patterns in rural areas. After moving to Las Vegas in 2007, Ava began a banking career. She became vice president of business banking before retiring in 2014 to found The Salt Room.
Ava is an advocate of self care and living life to the fullest. She hopes that one day all women will unlock their full potential, live fearlessly and change the world.