YWCA Dayton will honor eight women during its 2022 Women of Influence awards luncheon on March 10, 2022, 11:30 a.m. to 1 pm, at the Dayton Convention Center. This year marks the 24th anniversary of the award; with an average attendance of 800, it is known as the largest nonprofit luncheon in Dayton. 2022 will be the first time Women of Influence has been held in person since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 1998, the YWCA Dayton WOI Awards have recognized and honored more than 170
influential women in the Dayton area, visionaries and thought leaders who have made a difference in our community through their dedication to the YWCA mission of empowering
women, eliminating racism, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
Honorees in the Women of Influence Class of 2022 are:
DeMasi’s current role is vice-president of community development for CityWide, a nonprofit community and economic development organization in Dayton.“Karen has worked tirelessly to improve housing and development within the City of Dayton for more than 25 years,” writes her nominator. “Her thoughtful method of empowering the underrepresented in our community to face the challenge of rebuilding is the embodiment of helping to promote peace, striving for justice, and demonstrating dignity to all.”
A dedicated educator, scholar, writer, and storyteller, Frydman channeled her influential words as an award-winning contributor to the Dayton Daily News for 30 years, focusing on stories of women’s empowerment and promoting justice, freedom, and dignity. After getting several inquiries from local teachers to share her story, Frydman helped train more than 100 educators in the Miami Valley in accurately teaching Holocaust history, going on to establish the Holocaust Education Committee.
As founder and CEO of information technology company JYG Innovations, Jacqueline “Jackie” Gamblin has used her expertise to mentor other entrepreneurs while creating a team environment that supports a unique business model and serving as a passionate advocate for foster youth. “Through open dialogue, conversation, and giving, Jackie uses her influence to uplift those who need a boost,” writes her nominator. “Being a Black female in a predominantly white male industry, she has often encountered the unique position of being the ‘other’ in the room. In light of that experience, Jackie has become an expert in sitting back, observing the room, and understanding who needs to have a seat at the table and a voice.”
Mary McDonald is an entrepreneur who has served the Miami Valley for more than 38 years and has also worked with various cosmetic companies, such as Fashion Fair Cosmetics, Revlon, Flori Roberts, and many others. Her passion to serve people led her to work with cancer survivors in restorative imaging. “McDonald is passionate about Trotwood and has ignited the City of Trotwood with new energy and a “can-do” spirit,” writes her nominator. “Her tireless work has seen $50 million in new capital investment realized throughout the city, and her leadership and vision has positioned the city as a regional leader in home ownership and financial stability.”
Currently CEO of Five Rivers Health Centers, McFarlane-El’s career has been dedicated to improving the health outcomes of our community, particularly the underserved. Determined to provide access to affordable, high-quality, compassionate healthcare and meet people where they are, she initiated Five Rivers opening two school-based health centers in Montgomery County and led her team to be one of three practices participating in Ohio Medicaid’s Comprehensive Primary Care Program, receiving statewide recognition for its impact on improving quality of care while lowering costs. She is a devoted champion for providing access to services that improve the health of families, including people experiencing financial, social, or cultural barriers, and she recognizes that racism is a barrier to good health
Olinsky provided leadership to shared administration services and fiscal management within the nine counties of the Miami Valley Extension Education and Research Area, ensuring equitable programming and organizing programs focused on healthy people, healthy finances, and healthy relationships. She paid close attention to family life education with a focus on stress management, work/life balance, parenting, and financial management. Now retired, Olinsky hasn’t slowed down. She currently serves as a Montgomery County Juvenile Court Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) or Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), devoting countless hours to help children in the foster care system, and continued to conduct childcare provider training in the Miami Valley through 4C for Children.
As her nominator wrote, “Karen has the unique ability to see in other women, the potential and leadership qualities that they may not yet see in themselves.” Her career in communications and fundraising has allowed her to raise awareness, and millions of dollars, for numerous Dayton nonprofits that support women, children, and families, including United Rehabilitation Services, Dayton Children’s Hospital, the Kettering Medical Center Foundation (KMCF), Ronald McDonald House Charities, and Clothes That Work. Dempsey Volke founded the Ribbon of Hope Society and Luncheon at KMCF to provide funds for mammography services to uninsured and under-served women in our community.
Additionally, Rev. Vanessa Oliver Ward will be honored with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. Ward retired as co-pastor of Omega Baptist Church and founder/past chair of the Board of the Omega School of Excellence, and currently serves as president of the Omega Community Development Corporation. She was first honored as a Women of Influence honoree in 2006. Rev. Ward has provided support in the development of a breast cancer survivors support group for African American women, and has served on Boards ranging from the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company to the Dayton Foundation Board Committee on Grants and Programs and OneFifteen, DECA, 2-Generation Advisory, Learn to Earn Dayton, and The Dayton Chapter of the Links, Inc. She also serves as a lecturer at United Theological Seminary and is a contributing writer in the book Journey to the Well, a student and leader workbook co-authored with Bishop Vashti McKenzie.
Honorees were selected from a pool of more than 60 nominations by YWCA leadership and the volunteer WOI Committee, led this year by Chair Diane Pleiman, president, Premier Health Physician Network, and Co-Chairs Lori and Chris Kershner. Lori is owner of LMK Advocacy and Chris is president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. Says Shannon Isom, president and CEO of YWCA Dayton, “We stand in awe of these women. They are thought leaders, innovators, literal care givers. They make our community stronger by
sharing those gifts to break down barriers and help the most vulnerable among us thrive. That is the mission work YWCA Dayton has done for 151 years, and we are honored to lift up these women in pursuit of that vision.
The Women of Influence luncheon is YWCA Dayton’s largest fundraiser. Sponsorship opportunities, program advertising, and table and ticket purchase information is available at www.ywcadayton.org/woi22.