YWCA Charleston announces Women of Achievement honorees

Charleston Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin is one of five women who will be honored for their outstanding personal and professional achievements and contributions to the community at the YWCA Charleston’s Women of Achievement award ceremony and luncheon next year.

YWCA Charleston announced the five honorees in a news release last week. Joining Goodwin as award recipients are Dr. Michelle Foster, president and CEO of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation; Sandra M. Murphy, a partner in the Charleston law office of Bowles Rice LLP; designer, maker and co-owner of Morgan Rhea accessories, Morgan Rhea Beals; and Deborah R. Harris.

The women will be recognized during a ceremony Feb. 28, 2020, at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center.

“As a women’s organization, we are pleased and proud to recognize the accomplishments of our honorees,” Ruth Joseck, chairwomen of the event, said in a news release. “The annual YWCA Women of Achievement awards luncheon is an opportunity to tell the stories of and applaud the personal and professional successes of our female community leaders and trailblazers.”

Goodwin was elected the first female mayor of Charleston on Nov. 7, 2018. Since taking office, she has worked to make city government more efficient and prioritized infrastructure through additional road paving and improvements to city parks. She also helped establish a partnership between the Mayor’s Coordinated Addiction Response Effort (C.A.R.E.) and the West Virginia Drug Intervention Institute at the University of Charleston to combat substance abuse disorder.

Prior to becoming mayor, Goodwin held several positions within government at state, federal and local levels, including stints as Deputy Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Tourism. She was also a television news anchor and reporter.

Foster has headed The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation since 2016. TGKFV, which has approximately $250 million in assets, is the largest community foundation in the region and the 82nd largest in the nation. It annually grants more than $10 million to fund initiatives that benefit low-wealth individuals.

Foster’s original career was as a chemical engineer, working most recently with Union Carbide. A native of Guyana, she is active in several community and philanthropic organizations in West Virginia and across the region.

Murphy leads the Bowles Rice LLP banking and financial services team, with a focus on acquisition, regulatory, enforcement, corporate governance and securities law matters for banks and other financial institutions.

Her community service includes chairing the PIECES (Partners Implementing an Early Care and Education System) Advisory Council, which is focused on early education in West Virginia and serving on the board of the charitable Glotfelty Foundation.

Beals was named the YWCA’s “Woman to Watch.” After graduating from South Charleston High School, she earned degrees at Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College and the Savannah College of Art and Design.

She learned the art of accessory making from professional designers such as Alexander Wang and Zac Posen. She apprenticed at Coach, in New York City, and has been internationally recognized for her handbags. In 2015, she opened her business in Charleston.

Harris will receive the “Empowerment Award,” which recognizes someone who has, with the help of the YWCA, overcome difficult circumstances to achieve her goals.

Harris was a single mother of three when she first sought the services of the YWCA Mel Wolf Child Development Center. She would go on to attend West Virginia State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Rehabilitation, and later earn a master’s degree from Marshall University. She has worked with the Governor’s Initiative Program “Jobs and Hope WV” in the state Department of Education since 2019.

Funerals for Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Ball, Sherman - 2 p.m., Spencer Chapel United Methodist Church.

Clay, Karen - Noon, Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Clonch, Daniel - 1 p.m., O'Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

Harvey, Joseph - 11 a.m., Donel C. Kinnard State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

McClung, L. Bruce - Noon, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Charleston.

Mills, Ambra - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.

Pitsenbarger, Cindy - 7 p.m., Solid Rock Worship Center, Oak Hill.

Sowards, Teresa - 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Stilwell, Jason - 3 p.m., Strange Creek Cemetery, Strange Creek.

Vacheresse, Robert - 12:30 p.m., procession to leave Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston.

Vaughan, Darlene - 10 a.m., Cross Lanes Baptist Church, Cross Lanes.