RALEIGH, N.C.May 12, 2013PRLog — The Soroptimist’s Annual Triangle Women of Distinction Awards Celebration honored ordinary women with extraordinary impact. Keynote speaker Mary Cantando, Growth Expert and founder of The Women’s Advantage, entertained and motivated with her tips succeed as an entrepreneur. Caitlin Knute, ABC 11 Eyewitness News weekend morning news co-anchor, served as mistress of ceremonies.

Approximately 110 people attended the event, including N.C. Secretary of State, Elaine F. Marshall, Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown, and Bryan Fox, representing Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. Sponsors were Merrill Lynch, Peng F. Mok, Elaine Sandman, Melissa and Fred Seymour, Phyllis Wolborsky, Carole Guld, and Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLC. In-kind donors were Bailey’s Fine Jewelry, Boom! Magazine, Kroger, Bobby Moody, Tim Pflaum, Ruth and Irwin Rothchild, Southport Graphics, The News and Observer, The Woman’s Advantage, and Trickle Down Productions. Over $11,000 was raised at the event, which included a raffle and silent auction. Proceeds from the event will be used to support the service projects of Soroptimist International of Raleigh, NC.

12135898-past-present-winners-emceeRaleigh Soroptimists honored Ashley Hayes, founder of Shepherd Youth Ranch (SYR), with their Ruby Award: For Women Helping Women. Hayes founded SYR in October of 2004 after meeting two youths in need who were visiting the stables where she was boarding her first horse. Over the following six years, SYR received state grants to provide many types of services including youth and family therapy, parenting, interpersonal skill building and substance abuse therapy for youth.  SYR serves over 300 people each year.

Recognition was also given to three recipients of the Soroptimist Women’s Opportunity Award which provides financial aid to a female head-of-household seeking to improve her life through education. First Place was awarded to Patricia Drum. Drum received a grant of $2,000. Runners-up Tanisha Dildy and Sherry Wiggins each received grants of $500.

The Soroptimist Violet Richardson Award, which recognizes a teen for her volunteer efforts, was given to Kristen Chung. Chung, a student at Green Hope High School in Cary, volunteers at Wags 4 Tags, a non-profit organization that matches shelter dogs with psychologically and emotionally impaired veterans to provide them the unconditional love they need as they return to civilian life. Chung received a $750 cash award and a $250 donation was made in her honor to Wags 4 Tags.

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Soroptimist International of Raleigh, NC – Serving Triangle Area Women since 1987
Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization for business and professional women. The name, Soroptimist, means “Best for Women.” The mission of Soroptimist is to improve the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world.  Soroptimist International of Raleigh, NC is a 501(c)(3) organization solely run by volunteers, and relies on charitable donations to support its programs. www.soroptimistraleigh.org (http://www.siraleigh.org/)