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Meet the Honorees
American Red Cross 2013 Sara Hopkins Woodruff Spectrum Awards

Twelve outstanding women have been named by the American Red Cross to receive the Sara Hopkins Woodruff Spectrum Awards at the organization’s 20th anniversary luncheon on March 5th at the InterContinental Miami Hotel. Tickets range from $125 to $250 per person, and tables are available beginning at $1000 for a Friends Table of eight. To learn more about the luncheon and the American Red Cross, contact Kenia Tedesco at 305-728-2512 or by email at Kenia.Tedesco@RedCross.org.

The women being honored serve as exceptional examples of the humanitarian principles of the American Red Cross: Humanity, Impartiality, Independence, Unity, Neutrality, Universality and Voluntary Service. “Spectrum” refers to the impact these women have on a broad scope of community life and also reflects the spectrum of cultures represented in our community.

The 2013 honorees are:

BlueCross BlueShield of Florida Philanthropy Award
Irene Korge

Rosalind Ludwig Chairmen's Award
Jeanett Slesnick

Cervera Real Estate Ambassador Award
Penny Shaffer

Bank of America Cultural Award
Kathryn Q. Mikesell

White and Case LLP Education Award
Mary Young

Mercantil Commercebank Entrepreneurial Award
Olga M. Ramudo

Baptist Health South Florida Healthcare Award
Sabrina Cohen

Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association Hospitality Award
Julie Grimes

The Ethel and W. George Kennedy Family Foundation Volunteerism Award
Patricia Robbins

Barbara Nelson Red Cross Service Award
Janelle Patty

Swanee and Paul DiMare Youth Award
Marina Bryant

Global Pioneer Award
Lorena Vásquez

Irene Korge - BlueCross BlueShield of Florida Philanthropy Award

Irene Korge

Community service and philanthropy have always been principal focuses of Irene Korge’s life. Over the years, she has been active in a variety of nonprofit organizations, giving not only her treasure but her time and energy. These include: American Cancer Society, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, Chapman Partnership for the Homeless, Honey Shine Mentoring Program, Humane Society of Greater Miami, Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, Special Olympics, United Way of Miami-Dade, Voices for Children and The Zoological Society of Florida. Irene has received many honors for her philanthropic work. Most recently, she was honored as one of The Buoniconti Fund’s “Women of Substance and Style” for Destination Fashion 2012.

Jeannett Slesnick - Rosalind Ludwig Chairmen's Award

Jeannett Slesnick

Among her peers, Jeannett Slesnick is recognized as a tireless advocate on behalf of the preservation, restoration and appreciation of the historic Coral Gables community that she has called home for nearly 40 years. In addition, Jeannett lends her support to many nonprofit organizations, offering leadership and innovative thinking along with her generous spirit. She has blended her entrepreneurial know-how with charitable causes and shares her fundraising and development abilities to promote the organizations she supports and to plan important events.

Penny Shaffer - Cervera Real Estate Ambassador Award

Penny Shaffer

Penny Shaffer is the Florida Blue market president for South Florida and is responsible for business operations in an 8-county region. Throughout her career, she has been active in community and professional organizations, including the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Beacon Council, Dade Community Foundation, the Broward Alliance, Miami-Dade College Foundation and The Foundation for New Education Initiatives of Miami-Dade County Public Schools. She is also a board member of The Commonwealth Institute and the United Way of Miami-Dade. In addition, she’s a member of the University of Miami Dean’s Advisory Board for the School of Business as well as the International Women’s Forum and the Orange Bowl Committee.

Kathryn Q. Mikesell - Bank of America Cultural Award

Kathryn Q. Mikesell

A wife, a mother and the owner of a technology company, Kathryn Mikesell also co-founded The Fountainhead Residency, Studios and Haus, a program that provides artists the opportunity to live and work in Miami for up to two months by providing round trip airfare and living/working accommodations. The residency has hosted over 150 artists from more than 20 countries, all adding the Miami’s rich cultural environment. The Fountainhead Residency supports alternative art programs like Locust Projects', Bas Fisher Invitational and Dimensions Variable, as well as museums, including The Miami Art Museum, MOCA, The Bass Museum, and The Frost Museum at FIU. In addition to the residency program, Kathryn’s organization provides Miami-based artists with affordable studio space.

Mary Young - White and Case LLP Education Award

Mary Young

Currently the Director of the Sanford L. Ziff Career Services Center for the University of Miami’s School of Business, Mary Young is the immediate past IBM Americas Group Location Leader for Miami. During her career, Mary held other technical consulting positions within IBM, including acting as CIO (Chief Information Officer) for South Florida immediately after Hurricane Andrew. She is a graduate of Leadership Miami and Leadership Florida, was chosen as a Miami “Dade Up & Comer” by South Florida Business Journal, was a MIAMI TODAY “Newsmaker” and “Best of the Best.” Mary’s charitable contributions are formidable and include the YWCA of Greater Miami, the Coral Gables Community Foundation, Citizen's Board of the University of Miami, Dade Heritage Trust, CHARLEE Homes for Children, United Way of Miami Dade County, Goodwill, Junior League of Miami, Tropical Council of Girl Scouts and Florida Heart Research Institute.

Olga M. Ramudo - Mercantil Commercebank Entrepreneurial Award

Olga M. Ramudo

After years of being a stay-at-home mother, Olga Ramudo became affiliated with a small travel agency. Specializing in the Hispanic market and with a strong commitment to community involvement and customer service, her company, Express Travel, became one of the top ten travel agencies in Miami. Olga Ramudo has led the charge to promote and grow the South Florida tourism industry, becoming an outstanding public role model along the way. She has been a community leader for over 20 years and has volunteered for leadership positions on hundreds of local events. Additionally, Olga has donated her time and experience to many organizations serving on committees to promote bilingual education. She has also been recognized as one of the top influential women business leaders in Miami Dade County by Camacol (Latin Chamber of Commerce) and was listed as one of the “Best of Miami 2007” by Miami Today. Other recognitions have been bestowed by Owit of Florida and the national advocacy award by the American Society of Travel Agents.

Sabrina Cohen - Baptist Health South Florida Healthcare Award

Sabrina Cohen

During her sophomore year at Miami Beach Senior High, Sabrina Cohen suffered a severe spinal cord injury from a car accident. She immediately found comfort in speaking to elementary and high school students about peer pressure issues and driving safe. The Miami Beach native went on to graduate from the University of Miami, and she holds a post-graduate degree in Copywriting from the Miami Ad School. In 2006, she launched the Sabrina Cohen Foundation (SCF), a nonprofit dedicated to building a global network of top scientists in the field of Regenerative Medicine and funding cutting edge research and innovative therapies to treat impairments of the central nervous system. In just a few years, Sabrina’s organization has awarded $75,000 in grants to top U.S. scientists. Through fundraising events and educational outreach programs, she is building a strong network of supporters in the South Florida region and is gradually gaining national exposure. In 2009, WebMD Magazine named Sabrina an “American Health Hero” and in February 2012 she won the nationwide “America Inspired” contest in the Overcoming Adversity category, winning $10,000 for her nonprofit. Most recently, Sabrina was recognized by SELF Magazine as a winner of its national “Women Doing Good” contest for 2012 and appeared on The Today Show for the award.

Julie Grimes - Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association Hospitality Award

Julie Grimes

Julie Grimes is Managing Partner of the Hilton Bentley Hotel in Miami and oversees the hotel’s strategic direction and operation. She is an innovative, active and well-respected community leader in South Florida. In 2007, she co-founded the Hospitality Institute in Overtown connecting Miami inner city residents with opportunities in the local hospitality industry. Over 1,400 inner city residents have received hospitality training through the Institute with over 450 connecting directly to jobs. In 2008 Miami Mayor Manuel Diaz appointed Julie to chair Operation Hope for Haiti. Her leadership led to a partnership with World Vision, raising over $700K for its interventions in rural Haiti and $500K in earthquake relief aid. Julie co-founded the Center of Service Excellence at Miami Dade College, providing training for over 1,500 people. She connected with Big Brothers & Big Sisters in 2010 to implement their School to Work mentoring program and established a college scholarship fund for these students. She is involved with a multitude of organizations, including Miami Dade College Foundation and Camillus House, and continues to chair Operation Hope for Haiti. She was awarded the James W. McLamore Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award by the Miami Dade Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Patricia Robbins - Ethel and W. George Kennedy Family Foundation Volunteerism Award

Patricia Robbins

Before beginning her second career in philanthropy, Patricia Robbins operated her own restaurant and piloted her private plane to transport commercial seafood for her seafood company. After retiring in 1991, Patricia founded Farm Share, a nonprofit that recovers and provides fresh produce to the hungry in Florida. Today Farm Share has multiple offices throughout Florida and has distributed over 300 million pounds of food to more than 600 groups that feed the hungry throughout the state. While Chairman of the Board of Farm Share, Patricia has served as Vice Chairman of the Florida Fair Board and Vice Chairman of Community Advisory Board for nonprofits for Miami-Dade County. She has received many awards and honors, including Florida’s Finest from Governor Lawton Chiles, recognition from U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman at the World Food Summit in Rome for the “Most Innovative Way to Solve World Hunger,” and the national “Heroes Against Hunger” award, just to name a few. Other accolades include three Florida Legislative Honorary Proclamations and a Miami-Dade County Honorary Proclamation. She was also awarded Woman of the Year in Agriculture by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Janelle Patty - Barbara Nelson Red Cross Service Award

Janelle Patty

Well organized, outgoing, poised are but a few of the outstanding characteristics of Janelle Patty, a high energy individual who is an able communicator and motivator. She has successfully worked with a broad section of community leaders in both the public and private sectors. Her service to the community has included CHARLEE of Dade County where she planned the group’s first ever special event; Coral Gables Community Foundation where she served as executive administrator; Informed Families of Dade County; and Variety Children’s Hospital’s CANDY Project for disadvantaged children and those in the HRS Foster Care Program. Janelle has served in leadership roles in the American Red Cross of Greater Miami & The Keys, The Church of Epiphany, the National Society of Fundraising Executives, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church & School, Junior League of Miami, Beaux Arts – Lowe Art Museum, United Negro College Fund and Dade County Red Ribbon.

Marina Bryant - Swanee and Paul DiMare Youth Award

Marina Bryant

Now a junior at Palmer Trinity School in Miami, Marina Bryant joined SOS – Students Offering Support – in her freshman year. She immediately took on a leadership role in the organization, and her work ethic is well respected by others as she works long hours to give to her community while balancing her school work with her commitment to serving others. Through her affiliation with SOS, she has assisted Neat Stuff by participating in events and organizing a Christmas gift drive for families in financial crises. Marina is also very supportive of the Chapman Partnership for the Homeless Institute (CPHI). She regularly adopts a family by helping to raise money for homeless families to be able to live at the homeless shelter. She spends many hours playing with the children who live there and she is committed to providing family activities which teach leadership skills to the parents. She also participates in the Adventure Club at Neva King Cooper School and often takes children with special needs for a day’s outing. In the summer of 2011 Marina volunteered at one of the premier teaching hospitals in Sao Paulo, Brazil through UNESP, a federally funded hospital offering free services for underprivileged families. Lastly, Marina is involved with Breakthrough Miami, a group that inspires and encourages middle school students to enter and thrive in top college preparatory high school programs and graduate from college.

Lorena Vásquez - Global Pioneer Award

Lorena Vásquez

Lorena Vásquez Ampié is the Master Blender of Ron Zacapa ® Centenario and is a woman at the top of her field. For Vásquez, being a master blender is not a profession but a way of life. She considers herself as having one of the greatest jobs in the world and has devoted her entire career to Zacapa.

Nicaraguan by birth, after she finished her degree in chemistry, food technology and business administration, Vásquez married a Guatemalan and moved to his home country. Learning from the bottom up, she started working in the Zacapa Quality Control department, where she developed her innate sensitivity to scents and flavours.

Passionate about the art of crafting premium rum and is driven in her quest for perfection, her career progressed rapidly. Today, she is one of a small number of female master blenders in the world.

Vásquez is largely credited for making Zacapa the distinguished premium spirit it is today. During her time as Master Blender she has instigated improvements in the production of Zacapa. As altitude and a cool climate allows slow ageing, she chose the location for the Zacapa ageing facility, 2300 m above the sea, fondly known as the “House above the Clouds.” Here, depending on the variety, Zacapa is aged from 6 to 25 years, giving the spirit time to mature and exchange its virtues with the wooden barrels. The result is the exceptionally deep aroma, full colour and rich flavour.

Vásquez also improved the complex Sistema Solera ageing process, which is a dynamic method based on the sherry Solera system. Rums of different ages and personalities are continually blended and then subsequently stored in barrels to continue the maturing process. Vásquez selects American whiskey, sherry, Pedro Ximenez and French cognac barrels for the ageing process and personally oversees each stage of blending, ensuring consistency and unparalleled quality.

Vásquez chooses to serve Zacapa 23 neat or on the rocks as an aperitif or with a great meal. She regards Zacapa XO, which should be enjoyed neat at room temperature, as more sophisticated with a special personality, and it makes an excellent digestif. Says Vásquez, “As I have a true passion for rum making and I am a perfectionist at heart, nothing gives me greater pleasure than meeting those who appreciate and enjoy Zacapa.”

To purchase tickets for the March 5 luncheon, or for more information on the Spectrum Awards, please contact Kenia Tedesco at 305-728-2512 or by e-mail at Kenia.Tedesco@redcross.org.

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