2015 visionary award honorees.

Trailblazers. Changemakers. Community builders. Visionary leaders using their unique talents, resources and abilities to help women and girls live their dreams and reach their full potential. We are happy to announce the 2015 Visionary Award Honorees:

The Women at the Helm in DC: Muriel Bowser, Mayor | Cathy Lanier, Chief of Police | Kaya Henderson, Chancellor of Public Schools

Carolyn S. Berkowitz, Managing Vice President, Community Affairs of Capital One and President of Capital One Foundation

Dr. DeRionne Pollard, President, Montgomery College

We will be  paying tribute to these extraordinary individuals at the 2015 Leadership Luncheon. Learn more about them below!

The Women at the Helm in the District of Columbia

DC is the only city in the country to boast a trifecta of women leading the mayor's office, the police department and the public school system. In recognition of this extraordinary moment in time, we celebrate these trailblazers with a Visionary Award.

Sworn-in on January 2, 2015, as the District’s seventh elected mayor, Mayor Bowser has made significant contributions to create economic opportunity throughout the District.Bowser has expanded the Summer Youth Employment Program; extended Kids Ride Free to Metro Rail; added $100 million in the Housing Production Trust Fund to expand affordable housing opportunities; and made historic investments to end homelessness.

Prior to her time as Mayor, Bowser served as the Ward 4 councilmember of the DC Council – first elected in a special election in 2007, and re-elected in 2008 and 2012.  Bowser also served as an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner in the Riggs Park neighborhood. A native Washingtonian, Bowser earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Chatham College and a Master’s degree in Public Policy from American University.

Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier has led the Metropolitan Police Department since 2007. During her decorated 25-year career with the MPD, she not only served as a uniformed officer and Commander of the Fourth District, but also established the city’s first Homeland Security/Counter-Terrorism Branch. Deploying innovative strategies, included the increased use of social media and the implementation of a text tip line, she oversaw a 53 percent reduction in homicides from 2008 to 2012, and a homicide case closure rate of 95 percent in 2011 and 82 percent in 2012, compared to the national average of 57 percent.

Lanier is a graduate of the FBI National Academy and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s Drug Unit Commanders Academy. She holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Management from Johns Hopkins University, and a Master’s Degree in National Security Studies from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Kaya Henderson has served as Chancellor of DC Public Schools (DCPS) since 2011. Under her leadership, DCPS has become the fastest-­‐improving urban school district in the country. She has accomplished this through an intense focus on improving teacher quality and launching and expanding a range of innovative programs to increase academic achievement for all students.

Henderson joined DCPS in 2007 as Deputy Chancellor. Prior to DCPS, she worked at The New Teacher Project and Teach For America. Henderson received her B.S. in international relations from Georgetown University and a M.A. in leadership. She shares her insights and DCPS success stories on Twitter @HendersonKaya.

Check out their Visionary Awardee video!

Carolyn S. Berkowitz

For her longstanding investment in women and girls in our region through Capital One and the Capital One Foundation, and her personal commitment and service to the community, we honor Carolyn Berkowitz with a Visionary Award.

Carolyn S. Berkowitz is the Managing Vice President, Community Affairs for the Capital One Financial Corporation, and the President of the Capital One Foundation, responsible for Capital One’s award-winning community investment strategy that fosters economic opportunity and community development outcomes nationally and locally. Under Berkowitz’s leadership, Capital One and the Capital One Foundation launched Future Edge, a $150 million initiative that focuses on skills for 21st-century jobs, small business development, and financial well-being. Berkowitz has been named to Washington Business Journal’s Power 100 list in both 2013 and 2014, one of NOVA Executive’s Top 10 Women in Business in 2011, and one of Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business in 2009.

Check out Carolyn’s Visionary Awardee video!

Dr. DeRionne Pollard

For her commitment to championing the power of education to change lives (especially for women and disadvantaged youth), and enrich communities, we honor Dr. DeRionne Pollard with a Visionary Award.

Dr. Pollard is passionate about providing higher education opportunities to all students and seeking innovative ways to increase their success. Since becoming president of Montgomery College in 2010, she has spearheaded the development of a new Montgomery College mission and Montgomery College 2020, the institution’s strategic plan.  Her priorities have included partnering with Montgomery County Public Schools and the Universities of Shady Grove in the creation of Achieving Collegiate Excellence and Success (ACES), a support program designed to help students transition from high school to college completion.  Pollard has served on a number of boards throughout the region, including Montgomery County Business Development Corporation, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Universities of Shady Grove, the Tech Council of Maryland, IMPACT Silver Spring, and Generation Hope. She is a member of the board of directors for Strathmore, an arts center in North Bethesda.

Check out Dr. Pollard’s Visionary Awardee video!