Dallas Women's Foundation Announces Recipients of the 2014 Maura Women Helping Women Young Leader Awards

DALLAS, March 3, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As the steward of the Maura Women Helping Women Award and the Young Leader Award, Dallas Women's Foundation recognizes exceptional leaders who have pioneered the way in improving lives for women and girls. The Foundation presents the Maura Women Helping Women Award to: Debbie Dudley Branson, attorney and community activist; Lauren Embrey, Embrey Family Foundation founder and international leader; Helen Holman, nonprofit and philanthropic consultant; Retta Miller, partner at Jackson Walker and philanthropic activist; and Gauthami Vemula, Color Me Safe founder and social issues panelist. The Foundation awards the Young Leader Award to Dr. Myiesha Taylor, Artemis Medical Society president and health care advocate, and Brittany Merrill Underwood, founder of the Ugandan American Partnership Organization and creator of the Akola Project.

Presented by AT &T with support from American Airlines and Jones Day, the Leadership Forum and Awards Dinner will take place on April 24, 2014, at the Omni Dallas Hotel. The event is co-chaired by Julie England, retired Texas Instruments vice president and Wei Wei Jeang, partner at Andrews Kurth. It is the second year that Dallas Women's Foundation has overseen the stewardship of the awards.

"Each of the 2014 Maura Award recipients exemplifies women's leadership and an absolute dedication to creating and advancing opportunities for women and girls. It is a privilege to honor them this year," says Roslyn Dawson Thompson, Foundation president and chief executive officer. "Likewise, our 2014 Young Leaders are remarkable trailblazers for the next generation who are finding new ways to drive positive change for women and girls. We are very pleased to be able to recognize and encourage their efforts."

Since 1978, the Maura Women Helping Women Award has maintained its revered status as "the designation" for women who help other women. Established in 2013 to acknowledge breakthrough leadership exhibited by women under the age of 40, the Young Leader Award recognizes those who achieve success in a field, initiative or sector, and create paths of opportunity for other women to follow.

2014 Maura Women Helping Women Award Recipients:

Debbie Dudley Branson, Maura Award recipient, is a fourth generation attorney and a lawyer with the Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, PC. She has been recognized as one of the "Best Women Lawyers in Dallas" and one of the "Best Lawyers in Dallas" by D Magazine, as well as one of the "Texas Super Lawyers" by Texas Monthly, and is also listed among The Best Lawyers in America. Branson is the chair of the Parkland board of managers and is a past president of Dallas Women's Foundation and the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. She has also served by Presidential appointment to the Federal Aviation Management Advisory Council and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation.

Lauren Embrey, Maura Award recipient, is the president and chief executive officer of the Embrey Family Foundation and the chief executive officer of Embrey Interests, Ltd. Embrey serves as vice chair of Women Moving Millions, a global contagion of committed, purposeful women making gifts of $1 million or more for the advancement of women and girls. She is also a board member of Dallas Film Society, Dallas Theater Center, the MS Foundation for Women and the Women's Media Center in New York City and the Women's Leadership Board of the Kennedy Center at Harvard University, among others.

Helen Holman, Maura Award recipient, is president of Helen Holman and Associates, LLC, which provides facilitation expertise to advance and strengthen the nonprofit sector. Respected for her notable professional and volunteer contributions for the past 20 years, Holman has maintained high-level leadership positions with numerous community organizations. She is currently involved with Family Compass, Texas Association for Infant Mental Health, VNA, Charter 100, Crystal Charity Ball and Women of St. Michael. Select past affiliations include Junior League of Dallas, Genesis Women's Shelter, Dallas Children's Advocacy Center and Texas Health Resources.

Retta Miller, Maura Award recipient, is a partner at Jackson Walker, L.L.P. Managing one of the largest litigation practice groups in Texas, Miller mentors female lawyers and dedicates her time to helping women and girls through professional and community service initiatives. Her civic and charitable activity includes board membership with Family Place, Dallas Women's Foundation, Leadership Dallas, the Women's Business Council and the Greater Dallas Chamber Women's Business Conference.

Gauthami Vemula, Maura Award recipient, is the founder and managing partner at Color Me Safe, LLC, a consulting firm committed to protecting children and families of North Texas by offering guidance and solutions to child welfare and protection issues. Gauthami is actively involved in the community, serving on the boards of Hope's Door and Empowering Women As Leaders. Gauthami serves as a mentor for high school girls at the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School. She is also the sponsorship secretary for HEAL, an international organization working to provide education and health care to children in poverty, and is an active volunteer at the Chinmaya Mission of DFW.

2014 Young Leader Award Recipients:

Myiesha Taylor, M.D., Young Leader Award recipient, is the founder and president of Artemis Medical Society, which received international recognition for its work on the "We Are Doc McStuffins" campaign with Disney. Driven to mentor and support women physicians globally, Dr. Taylor helped the organization grow from 12 to 3,400 members in seven different countries by embracing social media and establishing an innovative way to implement national programming. Dr. Taylor has also spent time in Ethiopia, where she provided medical care to local HIV/AIDS orphans and adopted a daughter. Dr. Taylor is married to William Schlitz and they have three children: Haley, Ian and Hana.

Brittany Merrill Underwood , Young Leader Award recipient, is a human rights activist. Underwood founded the Ugandan American Partnership Organization to partner with a Ugandan ministry to build an orphanage for 180 street children. After its completion, she launched the Akola Project, providing more than 1,600 women and children in Uganda with vocational training, education programs, employment opportunities as well as savings and loans associations. Her efforts have also helped drill more than 23 clean water wells in displaced communities and construct two vocational training centers.

For table and ticket information to the Leadership Forum & Awards Dinner, visit www.dallaswomensfdn.org.

About Dallas Women's Foundation

Dallas Women's Foundation is the largest regional women's fund in the world. It is a trusted leader in advancing positive social and economic change for women and girls. The Foundation was built on the belief that when you invest in a woman, there is a ripple effect that benefits her family, her community and her world. Dallas Women's Foundation has researched, funded and demonstrated the ripple effect since 1985 in North Texas, granting more than $21 million to help create opportunities and solve issues for women and girls. With the support of its donors, the Foundation unlocks resources to improve education and quality of life, give voice to issues affecting women and girls, and cultivate women leaders for the future. For more information, visit www.DallasWomensFdn.org, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+.

CONTACT: Ashley Elsey 214.789.4418 Ashley@minervaco.comSource:Dallas Women's Foundation