“Find Your Why”: Congressional Award Foundation Hosts Entrepreneurship Panel for Gold Medalists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rachel Mallory, Manager of Corporate Partnerships

mallory@congressionalaward.org


October 7, 2020

Washington, DC

Last Saturday, The Congressional Award Foundation hosted an interactive “Entrepreneurship” Panel as part of the first-ever virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, which honored 478 incredible young leaders with the highest recognition bestowed by Congress.

The panel was moderated by Romero Brown, of Romero Brown Consulting, who led a thoughtful discussion with experienced government and industry leaders, including:

  • Congressman Jim Himes, Represents Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District
  • Brad Knox, Aflac
  • Chiling Tong, National Asian American Chamber of Commerce (ACE)
  • Dr. Brian K. Johnson, Advance Higher Education, LLC
  • Kirk Spahn, Institute for Civic Leadership

Panelists shared valuable life skills and strategies for success in the business world. Attendees were also given the opportunity to ask their own questions related to entrepreneurship and their personal goals.

Finding purpose, networking and learning, and promoting a diverse workplace were highlights of the discussion.

“Find your why,” shares Dr. Brian K. Johnson (Advance Higher Education, LLC), referring to the importance of understanding your purpose for going into business. Dr. Johnson is a seasoned educational administrator and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of experience in higher education, as a professor, consultant, and business owner.

“Be curious and stay curious – always learn,” was advice given by Brad Knox, who joined Aflac in 2006 and is responsible for leading Aflac’s Federal Relations team.

Panelists discussed the value of developing marketing skills and finding opportunities to network with others. Congressman Jim Himes shared how business prepared him for politics, “In business, learn how to communicate and market.”

How can young people explore entrepreneurship? Kirk Spahn of the Institute for Civic Leadership is a fourth-generation educator with more than two decades in the field. To foster creativity, Spahn shares the importance of giving students the environment to thrive – “Encourage the students to dare to dream and dare to take risks.”

The value of diversity in all areas of business was emphasized. Chiling Tong (National ACE) has intensive experience in economic and business development, with a focus on enhancing the growth of minority business enterprises. Tong shares, “Private institutions can implement changes in their company by creating initiatives that foster more diverse and inclusive work environments – companies that establish diversity programs can expect a more innovative office with more creativity and higher retention rates.

The virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, usually held in person at The Capitol Visitor Center, is one of several steps taken by The Congressional Award Foundation to support and celebrate America’s youth during the pandemic. To learn more about some of the other ways The Congressional Award has responded to the pandemic and upcoming programs and updates, visit us at our website.

For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:

Bethie Woodall, Director of Events & Strategic Communications

woodall@congressionalaward.org

Erica Heyse, National Director

heyse@congressionalaward.org

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:

Matt Tick, Program Director

tick@congressionalaward.org


“We Can Bridge the Gap”: Congressional Award Foundation Hosts Nonprofit Leadership Panel for Gold Medalists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rachel Mallory, Manager of Corporate Partnerships

mallory@congressionalaward.org


October 7, 2020

Washington, DC

Last Saturday, The Congressional Award Foundation hosted an interactive “Nonprofit Leadership” Panel as part of the first-ever virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, which honored 478 incredible young leaders with the highest recognition bestowed by Congress.

The panel was moderated by Ray Kerins, Senior Vice President and Head of Communications, Government Relations & Policy for Bayer Corporation, who led a thoughtful discussion with experienced government and industry leaders, including:

  • Congressman David N. Cicilline, Representing Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District
  • Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, People to People International
  • Depelsha McGruder, The Ford Foundation
  • Adan Gonzalez, The Puede Network
  • Deborah Rutter, The John F. Kennedy Center

The panel discussed the value of nonprofit organizations in the United States, along with the challenges and opportunities that arise when in the nonprofit sector.

“Make sure your voice is heard loudly in the democracy that you are a part of,” expressed Congressman David N. Cicilline. The Congressman also spoke to the value of nonprofits when he served as Mayor of Providence, Rhode Island, expressing that many of his accomplishments during this time were because of “efforts from intense partnerships with nonprofits.”

Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, great-grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of People to People International. “We can bridge the gap and promote cultural understanding through tolerance and diversity,” says Atwater, who also shares that education, cultural exchange, and humanitarian work around the world are crucial to their success as an organization.

Adan Gonzalez developed the Puede Network as a way to meet the needs of his community. In the panel, Gonzalez explained how his nonprofit organization started with only seventeen students tutoring in his backyard, but has now grown to reach over 5,000 families in a recreation center. “It is my responsibility to create opportunities that don’t exist in my neighborhood – we are successful when we are no longer a need.”

Depelsha McGruder is the Ford Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer and Treasurer. “The nonprofit world is not without financial pressure,” she explained, encouraging youth to learn valuable business and financial management skills.

How can young people get involved with the causes they care about? Deborah Rutter, President of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, spoke of her own experiences, “I am doing what I do because I am emotionally drawn to this work. Stay focused and explore opportunities, and you will have success.”

The virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, usually held in person at The Capitol Visitor Center, is one of several steps taken by The Congressional Award Foundation to support and celebrate America’s youth during the pandemic. To learn more about some of the other ways The Congressional Award has responded to the pandemic and upcoming programs and updates, visit us at our website.

For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:

Bethie Woodall, Director of Events & Strategic Communications

woodall@congressionalaward.org

Erica Heyse, National Director

heyse@congressionalaward.org

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:

Matt Tick, Program Director

tick@congressionalaward.org


“Our Success is How We Are Able to Lead”: Congressional Award Foundation Hosts Women in Leadership Panel for Gold Medalists

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Rachel Mallory, Manager of Corporate Partnerships

mallory@congressionalaward.org


October 7, 2020

Washington, DC

Last Saturday, The Congressional Award Foundation hosted an interactive “Women in Leadership” Panel as part of the first-ever virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, which honored 478 incredible young leaders with the highest recognition bestowed by Congress.

The panel was moderated by Sanyin Siang, Founding Executive Director of the Coach K Leadership and Ethics Center (COLE), who led a thoughtful discussion with experienced government and industry leaders, including:

  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Representing Texas’ 18th Congressional District
  • Karen Gally, Otsuka
  • Kerry McLean, Intuit
  • Keira Lombardo, Smithfield Foods

Building confidence and fostering curiosity were highlights of the discussion. Attendees were also given the opportunity to ask their own questions related to leadership.

“Our success is how we are able to lead, guide, comfort, and get through it on the other side – so many of our problems today are because people do not understand each other,” shared Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, in a powerful statement. She encouraged the Gold Medalists to be the champions of seeing people from their eyes to help solve problems and be the solution.

Panelists shared how they have overcome fear when finding their voice in the workplace. Keira Lombardo, who serves as Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Compliance for Smithfield Foods, gave this advice, “If you’re not naturally confident, I found that the only way to get through it is to push yourself to swallow your fear and deliver your message.”

How can young leaders advance in the workplace? “Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Be more assertive than you think you should be,” shared Karen Galley, Vice President & General Counsel for Otsuka, a pharmaceutical company.

“Engage fully with everything you do with 100% curiosity,” said Kerry McLean, who leads Intuit’s legal and global corporate affairs teams as they work to support Intuit’s mission of powering prosperity around the world. “Ask a lot of questions, don’t worry so much about what others think.”

The Congressional Award Foundation also announced their partnership with Intuit, maker of TurboTax, QuickBooks, and Mint, to develop their Personal Finance Program to help youth own their financial future while earning hours towards their Congressional Award Personal Development goal. The program is open to all youth regardless of ability, circumstance, and socioeconomic status.

The virtual Gold Medal Ceremony, usually held in person at The Capitol Visitor Center, is one of several steps taken by The Congressional Award Foundation to support and celebrate America’s youth during the pandemic. To learn more about some of the other ways The Congressional Award has responded to the pandemic and upcoming programs and updates, visit us at our website.

For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:

Bethie Woodall, Director of Events & Strategic Communications

woodall@congressionalaward.org

Erica Heyse, National Director

heyse@congressionalaward.org

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:

Matt Tick, Program Director

tick@congressionalaward.org


478 Youth Presented with Congressional Award Gold Medal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – written by Jordan Lindsey
September 28, 2020
Washington, DC

For a condensed PDF press release, click here.

The program’s first-ever virtual event took time this past Saturday to recognize students for their dedication to initiative, achievement, and service.


WASHINGTON, D.C., September 26, 2020 — Last Saturday, the United States Congress honored 478 incredible young leaders with The Congressional Award Gold Medal in the program’s first-ever virtual Gold Medal Ceremony.  Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is the first year the Gold Medal Ceremony has been held virtually,  providing a unique opportunity to celebrate the efforts made by some of America’s most exceptional youth.

The Congressional Award Gold Medal is the highest honor that a Member of Congress can bestow upon a youth civilian. This year’s Gold Medalists are the most recent addition to an exceptional group of individuals who have received the prestigious award throughout the program’s 41-year history. Each Gold Medalist has completed at least 400 hours of Voluntary Public Service, 200 hours of Personal Development and Physical Fitness, respectively, and a 5 day, 4-night Expedition/Exploration over the span of a minimum two years.

Hosted by the Chairman of The Congressional Award, Paxton Baker, the ceremony began with an inspiring video message from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi congratulated the medalists and encouraged their continued commitment amidst the pandemic:

“Our nation is at a pivotal moment, as our communities confront the unprecedented coronavirus crisis and fight the systemic injustices that continue to undermine the strength of our democracy. If we are to meet these enormous challenges, we need your leadership, your imagination, and your commitment to serving others.”

Throughout the ceremony video, Chairman Baker took viewers to several of Washington, D.C.’s landmarks including the Capitol Building, Nationals Park, the Washington Monument, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.  Chairman Baker also interviewed each of the ceremony’s special guests: Wolf Blitzer, Senator Mike Enzi, and Emmitt Smith.

Speaking from his experience in becoming a journalist and CNN’s Lead Anchor, Wolf Blitzer encouraged the medalists,

“Find what you really, really love doing and see if there’s a good career path you can take, that will enable you to do that on a day-to-day basis. You’ll do it well—if you love what you’re doing.”

United States Senator from Wyoming, Mike Enzi humbly told Chairman Baker,

“My reward is watching the youth respond to Congressional Awards, and develop through Congressional Awards, and then do things after the Congressional Awards.”

NFL Hall of Famer and businessman Emmitt Smith shared the wisdom he had gained from his family and throughout his career,

“We all have a responsibility to each other, not only to earn the right to be respected and give respect, but to take the opportunity to help another person in need.”

Videos and photos submitted by the Gold Medalists were shown with participants highlighting aspects of the program that meant most to them. Medalist Abhinav Krishnan from North Carolina said,

“The Congressional Award program has given me the ability to see past my social circles in my everyday life and see the true challenges that my real community faces.”

Carson Beck of Arizona commented on some of his Voluntary Public Service work:

“I was able to learn about giving back to my community through raising money for wounded veterans, and redoing a rock wall for a youth outreach center in my community.”

Lavanya Neti from California told viewers how the program

“inspired me to start my own non-profit, Schools for Success, where I guide and motivate other young people to complete their own charitable projects.”

Among other medalists’ videos, special remarks were given by Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45), Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Congressman Richard Hudson (NC-8), and Congresswoman Liz Cheney (WY-0).

“I hope you all will join me in congratulating these young people for all their hard work in making our community a better place,” said Congresswoman Porter, who’s district had the most Gold Medalists this year, with 42 awardees.

Also giving special remarks was Senator for New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, who told the medalists

“Your dedication and service to your communities is needed now more than ever. You’ve shown you not only have what it takes to lead the next generation, but to lead our country into the future.”

As the ceremony video came to a close, viewers were shown a message from Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell:

“I’m proud of the bright young people in Kentucky, and around the country, who have committed time and talent to serving their communities. I’m excited to see all the good that you’ll continue to do.”

Following the ceremony video, Gold Medalists tuned in for a Keynote Address from Congressional Award Board Member and past Gold Medalist (class of ’04) Mateo Magdaleno. Magdaleno is an internationally known, community servant leader and professional empowerment speaker with an inspiring story that stresses the importance of never giving up on the pursuit of an education despite the challenges involved.

Focus on the things you do have, and not the things you don’t have. Work with what you’ve got! We can change our attitudes towards our circumstances. Choose happiness. Choose gratitude.”

Following the Keynote, National Director of The Congressional Award, Erica Heyse made a few exciting announcements and conducted live giveaways for Washington Nationals merch.

Among the announcements was The Congressional Award’s latest partnership in coordination with the program’s Diversity & Inclusion initiative, with Intuit.

Check out The Congressional Award’s Personal Finance Program, powered by Intuit, here.

The medalists then joined virtual break-out networking sessions with The Congressional Award Board Members, sharing their experiences with the program, their interests, and taking advantage of the opportunity to connect with their peers.

Four afternoon panels on topics of interests to the medalists included discussions around nonprofit leadership, race relations and social justice, women in leadership, and entrepreneurship. Panelists featured an array of social, government, and industry leaders committed to work in each area of focus.


Panel #1 | Women in Leadership: Breaking Barriers and Shattering Glass Ceilings

  • Keira Lombardo (Executive Vice President, Corporate Affairs and Compliance, Smithfield Foods)
  • Kerry McClean (Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Intuit)
  • Karen Gally (Vice President & General Counsel, Otsuka)
  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas’ 18th Congressional District)

Moderator:

  • Sanyin Siang (Founding Executive Director, COLE, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business)

Panel #2 | Nonprofit Leadership: Where Business and Social Change Intersect

  • Merrill Eisenhower Atwater (CEO, People to People International)
  • Adan Gonzalez (Founder & Executive Director, Puede Network)
  • Deborah Rutter (President, The Kennedy Center)
  • Depelsha McGruder (COO & Treasurer, Ford Foundation)
  • Congressman David Cicilline (Rhode Island’s 1st Congressional District)

Moderator:

  • Ray Kerins (Senior Vice President and Head of Communications, Government Relations & Policy, Bayer)

Panel #3 | Entrepreneurship: Betting on Yourself

  • Brian K. Johnson (President & CEO, Advance Higher Ed LLC)
  • Brad Knox (Senior Vice President & Counsel, Aflac)
  • Chiling Tong (President & CEO, National ACE)
  • Kirk Spahn (Founder & President, Institute for Civic Leadership)
  • Congressman Jim Himes (Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District)

Moderator:

  • Romero Brown (CEO, Romero Brown Consulting)

Panel #4 | Race Relations & Social Justice: Not a Trend, but a Lifelong Commitment to Progress

  • Dr. Hakim J. Lucas (President & CEO, Virginia Union University)
  • Councilmember Will Jawando (Montgomery County Council, Attorney, Activist)
  • Courtney Christian (Senior Director of Policy and Research, PhRMA)
  • Jodie Geddes (Co-Manager, Coming to the Table)

Moderator:

  • David Osman (Clinical Quality Program Administrator, Anthem)

The virtual ceremony, usually held in person at The Capitol Visitor Center, is one of several steps taken by The Congressional Award Foundation to support and celebrate America’s youth during the pandemic. To learn about some of the ways The Congressional Award has responded to the pandemic and upcoming programs and updates visit us at our website.

The Gold Medalist Class of 2020 come from 41 states, contributing a combined total of over 226,000 hours of Voluntary Public Service to their communities – the states with the highest number of awardees being California, Wyoming, Texas, New Jersey, and New York. See our fact sheet for our full list of medalists from this year and other interesting facts.


For reporters working on national stories and/or members of TV, radio, new media broadcasting:
Bethie Woodall
woodall@congressionalaward.org

Erica Heyse
heyse@congressionalaward.org

For reporters working on local stories, partner organization/congressional staff inquiries, or general information:
Matt Tick
tick@congressionalaward.org

The Foundation Announces Task Force on Curriculum and Virtual Programming

Education Leaders Unite to Develop Emotional and Mental Health Summer Programs for Students


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 19, 2020 — Today, The Congressional Award Foundation (CAF), the United States Congress’ public-private partnership for young Americans, created the Task Force on Curriculum and Virtual Programming, following the suspension of its annual Gold Medal Ceremony. The task force will provide middle, high school, and college students with at-home resources for emotional and mental health, STEM education, and opportunities to remain engaged in community service. The group is chaired by CAF board member Dr. Linda Mitchell, extension professor and regional extension coordinator, Mississippi State University.

The Congressional Award Foundation Task Force on Curriculum and Virtual Programming is developing content for students and educators alike within virtual learning platforms. The task force recently released opportunities for Congressional Award participants to complete their goals from the safety of their homes with the introduction of Tools and Tips in the Age of Coronavirus and Feel Good News: Participants Answering the Call to Service. Guest speakers, lecturers, Congressional Award presentations, guidance for effective goal-setting, and opportunities to meet immediate needs through volunteerism are among the programs that will soon be available.

“We are excited to bring together an alliance of exceptional leaders in education to assist in the evolution of The Congressional Award Foundation and how it serves America’s youngest constituents during these challenging times,” said Paxton Baker, Chairman of the Board of The Congressional Award Foundation. “Many of our teens are withdrawing and finding it difficult to navigate through this period of isolation away from friends, sports, and hobbies. There is concern from parents and teachers that students do not have the experience with self-care and methodology to bring joy and passion back into their lives. We are committed to filling that void.”

Among the committee, members include Congressional Award Foundation board of directors and alumni in the education and non-profit sectors: Dr. Brian Johnson, president & CEO, Advance Higher Ed, LLC (Washington, D.C.); Kathryn Weeden, former principal, United States Senate Page School (Washington, D.C.); Laura O’Connor, registrar, Cedar Valley High School (Eagle Mountain, Utah); Mateo Magdaleno, chief education officer, IDQ Group, Inc. (Dallas, Texas); Mitch Draizin, president, CUNY LGBT Advisory Council (New York, New York); and Romero Brown, chief professional officer, Romero Brown Consulting (Acworth, Georgia).

The committee formed in response to the suspension of The Congressional Award Gold Medal Ceremony, prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, originally scheduled to take place June 15-17, 2020 at the United States Capitol. The Ceremony traditionally welcomes members of the United States Congress, public and private partners, and industry and civic leaders to recognize gold medalists before an audience of their families and peers in a multi-day event. Last year’s ceremony recognized 538 youth across 42 states and territories who logged at least 800 hours of voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration activities.

To learn more about The Congressional Award or to support the mission during this transition, including donations, please visit www.congressionalward.org.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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Contact:
Kyle Rosenbaum, for The Congressional Award
(212) 266-0222
krosenbaum@kylearnett.com

Ford’s Pamela Alexander, Larry H. Miller’s Amanda Covington Join Congressional Award Board of Directors

Washington, DC (March 10, 2020) — The Congressional Award Foundation announces the election of Pamela Alexander and Amanda Covington to the National Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“We’re privileged to welcome Amanda and Pamela to our team during a time of growth and innovation for our organization. Each bring unique talents and perspectives that will strengthen our leadership and tighten our focus on the future of Congress’ award program for youth,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award Board of Directors.

Pamela Alexander is Director of Community Development for Ford Motor Company Fund, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company.

In this position she is responsible for leading Ford Fund’s community engagement and outreach initiatives with key non-profit organizations throughout the U.S. These include Ford Fund’s nationally recognized teen driving program, Driving Skills for Life, multicultural and women’s initiatives, and community development programs.

Prior to her appointment in the Ford Fund, Pamela held a variety of positions in the Ford Motor Company Governmental Affairs office, ranging from policy development on strategic issues and manager of the Company’s PAC and grassroots activities.

Ms. Alexander dedicates her time and has served on various nonprofit boards including the GRAMMY Museum Foundation, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the NAACP Foundation, the Memorial Foundation, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the Dean’s Advisory Committee of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

Recognized as one of Ebony Magazines 2020 Power 100, Ms. Alexander has also been honored with a “High Heels in High Places” award by the Trumpet Foundation, a “Corporate Trailblazer” award from Rainbow PUSH, the Community Service award from the Arab American and Chaldean Council, and was in African Americans on Wheels as one of the auto industry’s most influential African-American women.

Amanda Covington is Chief Communications & Government Relations Officer for the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies.

She recently served as Senior Vice President, Communications and Government Relations for Vista Outdoor Inc. Covington has more than 20 years of experience leading corporate communications and government relations strategies impacting financial communications, crisis communications, domestic and international media/public relations, corporate branding and advertising, digital media, employee relations, public policy and legislation, industry associations, and community relations.

Covington serves as both a trustee and a board member for the Walker Institute of Politics and Public Service for Weber State University, an advisory board member for the Utah Women’s Leadership Institute, a member of the University of Utah College of Social and Behavioral Science Advancement Board, and a board member of the Utah chapter of National Association of Corporate Directors.

Learn more about Pamela and Amanda here.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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Atrium Health’s Jim Dunn Brings Expertise in Culture, Diversity and Inclusion to Congressional Award Board of Directors

Washington, DC (November 5, 2019) — Elected to The Congressional Award Foundation’s National Board of Directors in June 2019, Jim Dunn has since helped steer the organization’s recruitment strategy and participant engagement by focusing on inclusion and creating content that inspires.

Jim Dunn, PhD, DHA, DAST, FACHE, currently serves as Executive Vice President and System Chief Human Resources Officer for Atrium Health, one of the most comprehensive and highly integrated not-for-profit healthcare systems in the nation. As a member of the executive leadership team, Dunn leads teams that focus on the engagement of Atrium Health teammates – from recruitment through retirement.

“I am thrilled and honored to have been selected to serve on The Congressional Award Foundation Board as the U.S. Congress’ only charity and award program for youth,” said Dunn. “Its mission of recognizing initiative, service, and overall achievement aligns with both Atrium Health’s mission of health, hope and healing for all but also my own personal passion of developing future generations of workforce leaders.”

Dunn is revered as a national expert in culture, diversity and inclusion, and the employee experience.

Prior to joining Atrium Health in April 2018, Jim served as Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, Texas, Human Resources and Learning Executive for the Cleveland Clinic, Chief Learning Officer for Texas Health Resources, and National Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Retention Strategies for the American Cancer Society.

His work history also includes progressively responsible roles as a research scientist with the Georgia Tech Research Institute and leading the global human resources operations for former President Jimmy Carter at the Carter Presidential Center in Atlanta.

Among his notable achievements, Dunn has received the Outstanding Business Leader Award from the Dallas Business Journal, the South Dallas Outstanding Leader Award, and the Global Strategic HR and OD Award from the Organizational Development Institute for his work on informal cultures. He also was named among the 2018 Most Influential African-Americans in Corporate America by Savoy Magazine.

Dunn holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and macro-environmental science from Howard University, a master’s degree in business administration from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a Master of Public Health degree in occupational health from Emory University. Additionally, he holds multiple doctoral degrees in education, organizational development, and healthcare administration from Emory University, Benedictine University, and the Medical University of South Carolina, respectively.

He has served as adjunct and distinguished faculty for multiple universities including the Harvard School of Public Health, MIT Sloan School of Management, Morehouse School of Medicine, Emory University, University of Chicago and the University of Texas at Dallas.

He is also a state registered professional mediator, specializing in workplace conflict resolution strategies, and a fellow (FACHE) and faculty member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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Merrill Eisenhower Atwater, Vanessa Green Sinders Elected to Congressional Award Board of Directors

Washington, DC (October 24, 2019) —The Congressional Award Foundation announces the election of Merrill Eisenhower Atwater and Vanessa Green Sinders to the National Board of Directors, effective immediately.

“These additions to the Board of Directors truly bolster our already impressive team,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors. “Merrill and Vanessa each bring unique skill sets from their respective industries and will play a vital role in shaping the future and direction of our organization.”

Merrill Eisenhower Atwater is the Chief Executive Officer of People to People International. Since assuming this role in 2018, he has conducted a campaign of global partnership and understanding.

As both a globally and locally recognized influential leader, Merrill has been recognized with numerous honors and awards. He was recently chosen as the Honorary Ambassador to Chuncheon City in South Korea, was recognized nationally by the Federal Aviation Administration for his work in Kansas Aviation with the Impact Award, and was also included in Business Magazine, Ingram’s 40 Under 40.

Before joining People to People International, he served as the Director of Aviation for the state of Kansas and held numerous successful positions conducting international business and relations for global companies.

Merrill is the great-grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and has been a long-term ambassador for The Congressional Award Foundation.

Vanessa Green Sinders is the Senior Vice President for Federal Legislative Affairs at Charter Communications.

In this role, she is responsible for directing the company’s strategic policy and political engagement with Congress and the Administration.

Previously, Vanessa served as the Senior Vice President and Department Head for Government Affairs at the American Hotel and Lodging Association and Chief of Staff for the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

Additionally, Vanessa spent almost ten years working in the U.S. Senate where she served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Scott Brown and Policy Director for U.S. Senator Judd Gregg.

Learn more about Merrill and Vanessa here.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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The Congressional Award Welcomes New Board Members

Washington, DC (July 11, 2019) —The Congressional Award Foundation is pleased to announce the election of Jim Dunn and Mike Kelley to the National Board of Directors and Skip Braziel, Sanyin Siang, and Bruce Walker to the Advisory Board of Directors.

“These individuals bring a wealth of experience in their fields and will be tremendous assets to our Foundation as we further our mission of recognizing youth achievement across the nation,” said Paxton K. Baker, Chairman of The Congressional Award National Board of Directors.

Skip Braziel is Vice President of State Regulation and Legislation for the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). He oversees state legislative and regulatory advocacy and leads a team of government relations professionals providing strategic and tactical support to state CPA societies.

Skip has over 20 years of experience advocating, coalition building, and problem solving.

Prior to AICPA, Skip served as Assistant Vice President, State Government Relations for MetLife and Vice President and Community Relationship Officer at JPMorgan Chase in Chicago.

Jim Dunn, PhD, DHA, FACHE is Executive Vice President and System Chief Human Resources Officer for Atrium Health, one of the most comprehensive and highly integrated not-for-profit healthcare systems in the nation.

Dunn is a national expert in culture, diversity and inclusion, and the employee experience.

Previously, Dunn served as Executive Vice President and Chief Talent Officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas, Texas; Human Resources and Learning Executive for the Cleveland Clinic; Chief Learning Officer for Texas Health Resources; and National Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Retention Strategies for the American Cancer Society.

Mike Kelley serves as Vice President – External Affairs for YRC Worldwide. He is responsible for the promotion and protection of YRCW interests before trade associations and with legislative and regulatory officials at the local, state, and federal level.

His experience includes positions at the Kansas Motor Carriers Association and the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate as a Congressional Aide. He has served in several leadership positions with the American Trucking Associations including chairing three different policy committees and co-chairing two industry task forces.

Sanyin Siang is the founding Executive Director of the Coach K Leadership and Ethics Center (COLE) at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a professor at its Pratt School of Engineering.

The COLE center is a leadership laboratory with programming for all of Duke’s Daytime MBA students and convenes think tank gatherings across sectors to explore today’s complex leadership challenges and create positive societal impact.

Sanyin’s mission in life is to enable greatness in others as an educator, parent, mentor, author, CEO coach, and advisor.

Bruce Walker serves as Associate Director – Television & Entertainment Division for the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music & Entertainment. Under the direction of the Mayor’s office, the agency serves as the media platform for government agencies and community awareness.

Mr. Walker is a talented senior level executive who began his career at Motown Records and rose quickly to become Senior Vice President of Artists & Repertoire and General Manager of its jazz label MoJazz.

Bruce helped in the expansion of DreamWorks SKG’s music division as General Manager, executive produced the first BET Awards Red Carpet special, and eventually co-founded his own production company, B-Sharp Records and Entertainment.

Learn more about the Board of Directors here.

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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Senator Wyden Presents The Congressional Award, Highlights Student Creativity in STEM

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden provides remarks to Congressional Awardees and guests.

Portland, OR — The inaugural Oregon Statewide Congressional Award Ceremony took place on Friday, April 12, 2019 at KinderCare Learning Centers Corporate Offices in Portland, Oregon.

United States Senator Ron Wyden recognized student leaders with Congressional Award Medals and offered a Q&A for constituents to address today’s most pressing issues and local opportunities.

“I am incredibly inspired by these amazing young Oregonians and the outstanding public service they have provided in our state,” Wyden said. “Each richly deserves their Congressional Awards and I thank The Congressional Award program for recognizing them and so many other young people around the country working hard to make their communities better.”

Senator Wyden presents Caleb Jacobson with the Bronze Medal.

KinderCare Education’s Chief Executive Officer, Tom Wyatt, and Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer and Congressional Award Board Member, Kelsey Troy, were on hand to support the youth honorees and reinforce their organization’s mission to provide quality early education.

Prior to the award ceremony, Senator Wyden traversed the city to participate in events that displayed the latest progress in student-led STEM activities. He served as a special guest at the Intel Northwest Science Expo hosted by Portland State University as well as a science experiment with children and their teachers at KinderCare in downtown Portland.

Bronze Medalist Quinn McElroy-Fuchs with Senator Wyden, The Congressional Award’s Erica Heyse, and KinderCare’s Tom Wyatt and Kelsey Troy.

Quinn McElroy-Fuchs earned not only The Congressional Award Silver Medal but was also presented with a STEM Star for creating Operation Tooth Fairy, a Girl Scout Gold Award project that brings dental care information and dental supplies to low-income families in the Greater Portland area.

“The Congressional Award has really taught me about the importance of goal setting. Even if a goal seems out of reach if you put the time and effort in to work at it piece by piece, you will be surprised by the impact you can make,” said Quinn.

By collaborating with partners like KinderCare, The Congressional Award STEM Stars Initiative aims to stoke passion for science and math and help make STEM more approachable. Priorities include educating students to be leaders and innovators in emerging and rapidly changing STEM fields as well as educating a scientifically literate populace.

Bronze Medalist Aayush Bhatt shares his Congressional Award story.

Oregon Congressional Award Recipients:
Martin Berger of Portland (Silver Medal)
Aayush Bhatt of Beaverton (Bronze Medal)
Akash Bindalof Beaverton (Bronze Medal)
Caleb Jacobson of Portland (Bronze Medal)
Rachel Luther of Hood River (Gold Medal)
Quinn McElroy-Fuchs of Portland (Silver Medal)
Patrick Townsend of Portland (Gold Medal)
Timothy Townsend of Portland (Silver Medal)

About
The Congressional Award is the United States Congress’ only charity and the highest honor bestowed upon a youth civilian through the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. Established by Congress as a public-private partnership in 1979 under Public Law 96-114, the program recognizes initiative, service, and achievement in youth ages 13 ½ – 23.

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