2012 Women of Achievement

Tri Delta’s Women of Achievement Award was created to recognize alumnae and collegiate members who have demonstrated achievement and leadership in their volunteer, philanthropic, civic or professional pursuits.  Honorees are chosen by the Fraternity’s Executive Board, and the award is presented biennially at Convention.

“All of these women have accomplished much success in their professional and personal pursuits,” says Fraternity President Jackye Brown Clark. “Tri Delta is proud to recognize women who are making a difference and living their lives with so much passion.”

A native of Tampa, Pam Bondi, South Florida, became Florida’s first female Attorney General after being elected on Nov. 2, 2010, and being sworn in to office on Jan. 4, 2011.

Attorney General Bondi graduated from the University of Florida before attending Stetson Law School and has served as a prosecutor for more than 18 years. As an assistant state attorney for the 13th judicial district, her investigative and courtroom experience includes the successful prosecution of numerous first-degree murder cases and two capital cases.

As Attorney General, she is focused on protecting Floridians and upholding Florida’s laws and the Constitution. Transparency and openness in government have been important throughout her career, and Attorney General Bondi continues to support Florida’s Sunshine laws.

Attorney General Bondi is dedicated to serving her community, including her membership on the Board of The Spring, Tampa’s domestic violence shelter. In her role as Attorney General, she serves on the Special Olympics Florida Board of Directors and is proud to promote their mission of assisting people with disabilities with being productive and respected members of our communities.

As a child, she once lived in a homeless shelter. Now Zoë Damacela, Northwestern, is running a successful clothing business. Even more amazing, this 19-year-old has been doing it since she was 14. While her single mother was struggling to make ends meet for her family, Zoë was busy learning how to sew. She made dresses for herself and her friends and as a freshman in high school, Zoë began selling custom-made clothes.

But the teenager didn’t have the business skills she needed to properly price her merchandise. “I was charging $40 for dresses that should have cost $250.” So Zoë enrolled in a Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) course at Whitney Young High School in Chicago. She created a powerful business plan for her company, Zoë Damacela Apparel, which placed second in the 2009 NFTE National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, giving Zoë the chance to meet President Obama in the Oval Office.

Today, Zoë juggles managing her growing business — which now includes a board of directors and interns — with her full-time college coursework at Northwestern University. The history major plans to eventually pursue an MBA, and this past summer, she interned at American Eagle Apparel. The young entrepreneur has been featured on Oprah’s Angel Network, The Tyra Banks Show, and in October 2011 she graced the cover of Seventeen Magazine’s after winning the “Pretty Amazing” contest.

Zoë’s advice to other aspiring young entrepreneurs:  “It’s never too early to get started."

Katharine Hable Sweeney, Mississippi, is the entrepreneurial force behind Hable Construction, the business she started with her sister, Susan. Her academic background in journalism, marketing and sales management at Polo Ralph Lauren and Kate Spade refined her skills in co-owning the company.

Smart, determined and seasoned in the business field, it only seemed natural to merge her talents with her sibling. “Let’s do something,” said Susan, as she was seeking the next step in her career. Katharine responded by saying, “Well, give me something to sell.”

That “something” was personal accessories which the duo created and sold to such customers as Barney’s. But after a couple of years, they decided to shift their New York-based business to focus more on the home market, developing home accessories and raw materials such as fabrics. Their products include throw pillows, home storage pieces and other printed accessories. They recently designed a textile collection for the furniture line Hickory Chair and have launched a collection of fabrics for the interior design market.  

Influenced by the surrounding independent and hardworking women around her, and inspired by her sister's artistry, Katharine also realized the benefits of starting her own company which afforded her the freedom to be a mom, wife and her own boss.

Born and raised in Corsicana, Texas, Susan Hable Smith, Alabama, is the designer behind the strikingly colored and lofty-scaled patterns cast on Hable Construction products.

Susan's fine art background in collage, sculpture, welding and painting, bound by an intuitive color sense, has lent an aesthetic that's timeless and universally sophisticated. Travels to Italy, Asia and South America also serve as a backdrop to her inspiration. After a six-year residence in San Francisco working in the design field, she moved to New York City to capitalize on her strength of fine art and design, fusing her love of art’s industrial facets and applying that to textiles.

In her world, whimsical forms are combined with a unique color palette inspired by nature, motherhood, and beauty, rather than trends. Susan's design process begins with the most mundane of moments: “I get inspiration from the simplest things like the flower market, my aunt's photos from the Big Thicket, my hometown, fabric swatches or a knitted sweater. Happiness brings inspiration.”

From a young age, Dr. Elizabeth Stewart, Missouri, was interested in science, and after a family friend received treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Elizabeth’s dream was to one day work there. Today, Dr. Stewart is a pediatric oncology fellow at St. Jude and is one of the youngest physicians currently at the hospital. Originally from Peoria, Ill., she received her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry/pre-med from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She completed her medical degree at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, and she did her pediatric residency at Phoenix Children's Hospital.   

As a pediatric oncology fellow at St. Jude she treats patients at the inpatient unit as well as the oncology and hematology clinics. Her research focuses on the translational approach to the development of new therapeutics using pre-clinical models for pediatric solid malignancies. But she believes one of the greatest benefits of working at St. Jude is the family atmosphere. “It’s such a fun place to go to work to every day. It’s a huge campus, but the people are close-knit. You will find families, researchers and doctors all eating in the lunchroom together,” she says.

During her time away from work, Elizabeth enjoys running, and for the past eight years she has participated in the Memphis to Peoria Run benefitting St. Jude.

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