Meet the Honorees
25th Annual Sara Hopkins Woodruff Spectrum Awards for Women
For 25 years, the American Red Cross has celebrated its rich history of women leaders by honoring their achievements with the Spectrum Awards for Women. These awards pay tribute those who represent the humanitarian principles of the Red Cross: Humanity, Impartiality, Independence, Unity, Neutrality, Universality and Voluntary Service.
The word “spectrum” refers to the women’s impact across the broad scope of community life and reflects the diversity of cultures represented in our community.
This year, the Silver Anniversary Spectrum Awards Luncheon will be held on Friday, Nov. 16 at the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove. Due to the overwhelming support and enthusiasm for this year’s Honorees, this event is sold out. To join the waitlist or for questions about the event, please contact Jessica Tobin at Jessica.Tobin@redcross.org or visit redcross.org/spectrum25.
Silver Anniversary Lifetime Achievement Award: Phillis Oeters
Phillis Oeters is the Corporate Vice President of Government and Community Relations for Baptist Health South Florida, the largest not-for-profit healthcare organization in the region.
She serves on many community boards, including the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce where she assumed the position as Chairman in June 2012, Beacon Council, United Way, Florida TaxWatch, Actors’ Playhouse, Camillus House, Barry University and Orange Bowl, where she was the 2009-2010 Chairman of the Orange Bowl Committee. She was also Chairman of the Board from 2003-2008 of the Neurologically Injured Compensation Fund for the State of Florida and is a founding member and past Chairman of the President’s Council of 100 for Florida International University.
Phillis has been a long-time supporter of the American Red Cross and was Chairman of the Board for the Greater Miami & The Keys Chapter 2002-2005. She has chaired the Spectrum Awards for Women since 1997, received the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2001 and Trail Blazer Award in 2000. She has also been active in the Coral Gables Community Foundation, Miami City Ballet, New World Symphony, Miami Bridge and the University of Miami's Cancer Link.
Phillis has received numerous community recognitions for her leadership and service throughout the years.
She came to Miami in 1981 to attend Barry University where she received her master’s degree in social work. She has been a Miami-Dade resident for more than 25 years, living most of that time in Coral Gables. She has a 19-year-old daughter, Raquel Peña. She is an adventure traveler, accomplished equestrian and an avid sailor. In 1988, she was the first woman to win the J/30 North America Sail Championship presented by the American Yacht Club.
Do Unto Others Trust Philanthropy Award: Mary “Mimi” Shafey
Mary Bradley Shafey was born and raised in Connecticut. She attended Norwalk Community College School of Nursing, graduating with an Associate of Science degree. She then completed degree requirements for a Bachelor of Arts at Manhattanville College.
“Mimi” moved to Miami in 1977 where she worked as a nurse at the Miami Heart Institute, progressing to head nurse in CCU. She left Miami Heart to join Mercy Hospital as a nurse clinician in Cardiology. After a brief stint at the University of Miami School of Nursing, she became office manager at a very busy neurology practice involved in clinical trials, with international patients from the Caribbean and South America, and which saw the height of the HIV/AIDS crisis.
Volunteer work has been a theme throughout Mimi’s life, especially with the Junior League. When she transferred to the Miami League, her community project work was at Jackson Memorial Hospital in the emergency room. She has generously supported various fundraising initiatives. This year, she is serving as the President of the Junior League of Miami Foundation. She has also been involved with Camillus House and Good Shepherd Health Center where she set up the first neurology clinic.
Mimi joined the American Red Cross’ Tiffany Circle in 2016 and that same year was Chair of the Centennial Ball in Miami. This year she was asked to serve on the Tiffany Circle National Council. Her committee assignments include TC University and the Communications Council. She attended the International Summit in Geneva, Switzerland in June.
Trish and Dan Bell Chairmen's Award: Remedios Diaz-Oliver
Remedios Diaz-Oliver is the President of All American Containers, Inc., a leading supplier in the United States of glass, plastic and metal containers and caps with operations in Miami, Tampa, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Atlanta and Dallas. Its marketing network spans to 50 countries in Central and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. All American Containers Inc. supports this tradition by making plastic, glass and metal containers for the beverage, chemical, cosmetic, food, liquor, perfume, and pharmaceutical industries. Remedios founded All American Containers, Inc. in 1991. As President and Chief Executive Officer, she is entrusted with full administrative and financial responsibilities including financial statements. Under her leadership, the company has reached $105 million in sales and employs 167 employees. Her husband Fausto Diaz-Oliver is the COO of the company. All American supplies packaging products to companies such as McCormick, Schering, Pepsi Cola and Coca Cola. All American has sales offices in Central and South America as well as England, Switzerland, and Australia.
Cervera Real Estate, Inc. Ambassador Award: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen represents Florida's 27th Congressional District, a diverse area which includes Coral Gables, Cutler Bay, Key Biscayne, Little Havana, Miami, Miami Beach, Pinecrest, South Miami and Westchester.
She was born in Havana, Cuba in July 1952 and moved to Miami when she was eight. She earned an Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade Community College in 1972, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Florida International University in 1975 and 1985 respectively, and a doctorate in education from the University of Miami in 2004.
She began her career as a teacher and later founded and served as the principal and teacher of a private bilingual elementary school in Hialeah. In 1982, she was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives and the Florida Senate in 1986, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in either body. She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1989 – the first Hispanic woman to serve in Congress.
Ileana has worked to strengthen the Head Start program; supported legislation to increase the availability to student financial aid; was lead sponsor of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; supported legislation to increase criminal penalties for perpetrators of Medicare fraud; worked to improve our nation’s military, safeguard veteran’s health care and ensure that returning veterans have access to a college education; and authored legislation awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots who were denied recognition for their service during World War II.
She is Chairman Emeritus of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is now Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. She also proudly serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
She is the proud wife of Dexter Lehtinen, mother and stepmother to four adult children, and grandmother to five beautiful grandchildren.
Rick and Margarita Tonkinson Community Service Award: Martha Avila
Martha Avila is president and co-founder of Heartbeat of Miami Pregnancy Help Medical Clinics. She has assisted in establishing five locations since July 2007 in Hialeah, North Miami, Little Havana and Kendall. The goal is to open more clinics in the neediest neighborhoods of South Florida such as Homestead and Florida City.
Martha was born in Havana, Cuba and came to the United States in 1963, graduating from Miami Senior High School in 1973. She started her career working with Eastern Airlines, System One, EDS, for over 25 years as a technical support account executive maximizing customer relations and service. In 2000, she joined Equant/Orange Business Services as the operations manager of their airline clients until 2007 when she followed her passion to help women and the unborn.
For over 35 years Martha has been involved in Christian ministry, serving as Women's Ministries president, Missionettes’ leader, and Married Couples Ministry leader. She was ordained in 2008 at Word of Faith Global Ministries where she is actively serving. In 2012, Martha received an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Divinity from the Latin University of Theology, and was ordained Chaplain at United Chaplains International.
Her goal is to continue opening doors and touching the hearts of the Christian community to answer the call, helping women in need and the unborn child.
Martha is happily married with six children, 13 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. In 2014 she and her husband adopted one of Heartbeat of Miami’s teenage moms and her baby girl.
Bank of America Education Award: Linda Dwyer
Linda Dwyer has dedicated her life to helping children. She began in college by serving as a Big Sister, then a court liaison, an advocate for victims of domestic abuse, a wilderness guide and an assistant at the Beverly School for the Deaf.
After earning a B.S. in Psychology from Gordon College, Linda worked full-time as a behavioral specialist for children with behavioral difficulties. She earned her M.S. in Counseling Psychology and became the assistant director of Women’s Services at an alternative to incarceration drug rehabilitation facility for women and their children. Over the years, she and her husband, Jed, have fostered and loved more than 20 at-risk and deserving children.
Linda founded the Newcomers Club at Palmetto Elementary School, served on the Palmetto Middle School PTSA executive board for five years, two as president, and currently serves as president of Miami Palmetto Senior High School PTSA.
She is a founding Board member of the Miami Pediatric Fund, which provides funding for medically underserved children in Miami-Dade County.
Linda is currently the patient coordinator of Living Hope Haiti and partners with Baptist Hospital to coordinate lifesaving medical and surgical care for Haitian patients and families. She travels to Haiti three times a year on surgical mission trips.
Linda received the Palmetto Elementary School Volunteer of the Year award and the Special Recognition of Distinction Award from the Miami-Dade County Public School Board; has served as a Girl Scout leader for 10 years; and sits on several MDCPS boards and advisory councils.
Holland & Knight Culture Award: Diane Moss
Diane Moss was the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Helena Rubinstein Foundation in New York City. She has been with the Foundation since 1968. She is committed to the Foundation’s programs in education, the arts and community services. Her special concern for the advancement of women and for the arts in education has brought the Foundation to the forefront of these issues. Diane participated in the President’s Task Force on International Youth Exchanges at the White House and was inducted into the YMCA’s Academy of Women Achievers. She was a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for 18 years and formerly served as a board member of Louise Wise Services and on the executive committee of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Blood Foundation at New York Hospital. Diane presently serves on the executive committee of the Board of Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Katonah, N.Y., and as a board member of Art in Public Places in Key Biscayne. She served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she was also a member of the education committee; she also served on the executive committee of Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in North Miami.
Mercantil Bank Entrepreneurial Award: Christine Franklin
Christine Franklin is the president of Cherokee Enterprises, Inc., responsible for steering and directing the accomplishment of the CEI’s mission of “Best Value Fueling Solutions for a Sustainable World.” From assisting clients in the formulation of their projects to implementing the firm’s strategic plan, she ensures that the firm fulfills its obligations to the stakeholders.
CEI has received many accolades since she has been at the helm, such as the Small Business Achievement Award for Outstanding Performance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Top 100 Minority Business Owned List from the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; Top 10 Women Led Businesses in the State of Florida from The Commonwealth Institute; and more.
Christine has also fostered a culture of community, excellence and integrity. She is very proud of the firm’s commitment to being an active participant in improving and enhancing communities and the lives of their residents.
She encourages employees to be active participants in community events throughout the year. CEI employees have paid volunteer days where the company, through its workforce, can contribute time and resources to causes that heal. Christine believes that the businesses are channels for resources that can be infused into local communities to make a difference.
In addition to being a Florida Registered Professional Engineer and a Building Contractor, Christine has a Master of Business Administration from the University of Florida. She is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers and the Florida Engineering Society.
Baptist Health South Florida Healthcare Award: Linda Quick
Linda Quick is president of the Quick Bernstein Connections Group, whose clientele includes educational institutions, policymakers, foundations and businesses. For almost forty years, Linda has been at the forefront of healthcare executives in the United States, studying and analyzing the full range and scope of health facilities and community health planning.
Linda served as president of the South Florida Hospital & Healthcare Association from 1994 to 2015 – leading efforts to implement transparency; providing counsel to private, public and for-profit hospitals; protecting consumers; and leading advocacy at the local, state and national levels for over 50 hospitals throughout South Florida.
Linda has served on the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association, as the president of the American Health Planning Association, and the chairperson of the Conference of Metropolitan Hospital Associations. She was on the Regional Policy Board of the American Hospital Association, and served on several AHA committees and task forces during the past 22 years.
Locally, Ms. Quick sits on the advisory boards for the healthcare industry programs at the University of Miami, Florida International and Barry University. She is on the Board of Governors of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, where she has also served in various roles. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County.
Linda is a longtime Board member and former chairperson of Carrfour Supportive Housing Corporation. Since 2013, she has also been on the board of Camillus Health Concern and Camillus House in Miami.
Norma Echarte & Associates Hospitality Award: Mercy Vera
Mercy Vera has been the chef instructor in the Coral Gables Senior High School Culinary Arts Program for the past 17 years. Under her leadership the students organize and maintain an organic garden for use in their dishes. Three years ago, she began a program called “Our Gala Night on the Mile” to give students hands-on experience running a restaurant for one night. The proceeds go to the Culinary Arts Program. In partnership with Doctor’s Hospital, the Biltmore Hotel and local Coral Gables restaurants, she also created an internship program to familiarize students with necessary job skills and to promote the Culinary Arts Program to the community. Mercy has also created connections that allow students to participate each year at the Food Network’s South Beach Food & Wine Event at the Biltmore Hotel. Mercy has been directly responsible for the high school training of over a thousand hospitality industry workers during her tenure and has had substantial impact on the lives of some teenagers who would not otherwise be ready for gainful employment.
UHealth Red Cross Service Award: Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz
Vivian de las Cuevas-Diaz is a partner in Holland & Knight's Miami office and serves as the deputy section leader of the Real Estate Section. She has experience representing developers in a range of projects, including land development, multifamily, condominium, office and single-family development and hotels. She also handles the financing for these types of developments, including institutions and mezzanine financing, public representation of complex real estate transactions, as well as government relations. She also focuses on joint venture negotiations for these transactions at all levels.
Vivian has extensive experience in complex real estate transactions for developers, family offices, and equity investors for acquisitions, developments and construction, institutional lenders in commercial lending for various types of projects and developments in the United States, as well as asset-based loans secured by real estate, inventory, equipment receivables and securities.
Vivian's special assets experience includes representation of lenders and developers across the U.S. with respect to forbearance, negotiation of loan modifications, restructuring and workouts on behalf of lenders and borrowers for various types of loans, deeds-in lieu of foreclosure, note purchase, and sales and foreclosures affecting numerous commercial properties located throughout the state and nation.
Vivian has been a Red Cross supporter since she attended Law School at Tulane. She has served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Miami & The Keys Chapter for almost nine years, and is an incredible ambassador for the Red Cross in the community.
Swanee and Paul DiMare Youth Award: Aurora Cosio
Aurora Cosio is a rising senior at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart’s IB program. “Rory” is a student co-founder of CODeLLA.org, the first immersive coding/technology-entrepreneurship camp for low-income Hispanic girls ages 9-13 in the U.S. Rory helped develop CODeLLA into a year-round coding academy that teaches STEM, computer literacy, coding and tech-entrepreneurship, and hosts the annual SheTech.Miami coding/entrepreneurship and app competition attended by over 300 Title I middle-school girls.
Last year, Rory won a partial scholarship to attend the African Leadership Academy in South Africa for a semester, helping rural communities and teaching a course on entrepreneurial leadership.
She is the president of Carrollton’s Medical Students in Action club and has participated in their annual mission trip to the Dominican Republic for the last five years serving as a Spanish translator. She led a campaign to build two houses for some of the neediest patients and raised funds to donate computers and printers for a neighborhood computer center.
Rory has received many awards – AspireIT program grant as well as the Aspirations in Computing-South Florida Affiliate Award from the National Center for Women & Information Technology; the ABC Summer of Creativity Award from Youth Service America; the President’s Volunteer Service Award; the Prudential Spirit of Community Award; MVP awards for soccer; Carrollton’s IB Literature and Language excellence award; a state finalist in the Library of Congress Level 3 Writing Contest; a dedicated photographer showcased at the Coral Gables Museum.
Rory plans to study computer science and entrepreneurship in college and work in technology after graduating.
Ospina, Everett & Shechter, LLP Red Cross Rising Star Award: Kamille Garness
Kamille Garness is originally from Saint Lucia. She began volunteering during high school as a youth swimming instructor and served the St. Lucia Red Cross Chapter for five years offering assistance at the homes of the sick and elderly.
Kamille has wanted to be a doctor since she was two years old. She moved to Tampa, Fla., in 2007 and earned a bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from Saint Leo University. She became a member of the Tri-Beta Honor Society and received the Who's Who Among American Universities Award upon graduation in 2011.
She continued giving of her time at Saint Leo – mentoring college students, volunteering for the Hernando Pasco Hospice for two years, and serving at the Love One Another Feed the Homeless Shelter as part of the Good Samaritans Club.
After graduating Kamille was accepted into medical school in Saint Lucia for a two-year basic sciences program. She then moved to Miami one year ago to complete the other two years of her medical degree at Larkin Community Hospital in South Miami and Palm Springs Campus.
She is concurrently pursuing a Master in Public Health at The George Washington University, where she became a member of the Golden Key Honor Society.
Kamille began volunteering with the American Red Cross while living in Orlando as a Client Assistance Card activator and continuing in Miami on the disaster action team. She also volunteers at Nicklaus Children's Hospital as she hopes to become either a pediatrician or internist.
Ospina, Everett & Shechter, LLP Red Cross Rising Star Award: Annia Elena Lopez
Annia Lopez’s commitment to volunteering, engaging in her community and leadership is second nature. She has been actively volunteering since she was 10 and has completed over 500 service hours during her three years at Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, where she is currently a senior. She is an Honors student involved in various school clubs including Key Club, God Squad and Peer Ministry.
It is her parents Marile and Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq. and her faith which guide her. She proudly lives her faith and believes it is what drives her to help others, to understand their needs and above all to show compassion.
Annia has given of her time and talent at several organizations. She has volunteered with Miami Children’s Hospital and HandsOn Miami. Every year she organizes a group of her friends to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in honor of her paternal grandmother who is a survivor. She volunteers at the Chapman Partnership’s family fun day every September.
Annia’s passion for children led her to the Boys and Girls Club where she has been a camp counselor to first graders every summer since 2015. She understands that for many of these kids, summer camp means not only fun days, but a safe place and warm meal.
In 2017, through the generous donation of her maternal grandmother, Annia started a campaign – in partnership with the American Red Cross – to donate a Maria Elena Headpiece to military brides for their wedding day.