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October 28, 2012

Chamber to honor women leaders

NORMAN — There have been numerous outstanding women leaders throughout history. Most of them were born for greatness. Women like Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great and Queen Victoria ruled nations, made reforms, and widely influenced cultural attitudes.

Fortunately, women no longer have to be born into leadership. Modern women leaders come from all walks of life.

“Historically and gratefully, we have observed the transformative and changing role of women in our society,” said Cindy Merrick, past winner of the Norman Chamber of Commerce’s leadership award and proprietor of Therapy in Motion. “Women have risen from being considered as property to people.”

The Norman Chamber of Commerce recognized women of distinction in the community for years with an annual Athena Award. Past recipients included Molly Shi Boren, Dr. Nancy O’Brian, and most recently, Merrick.

“In my personal experience, I have witnessed the silent power of women leaders who want to embrace solutions, rather than clench their fists in opposition,” Merrick said. “I have watched women leaders focus upon similarities instead of highlighting differences.”

This year, the Chamber has reformulated the award somewhat and made it Norman’s own. The 2012 Women’s Leadership Award will honor female leaders “who actively inspire other women to achieve their full potential.”

“Norman has an outstanding group of women leaders, those who inspire others through their genuine concern and dedication to making our community the best it can possibly be,” Chamber President John Woods said. “These women deserve recognition for their positive influence.”

“I believe that balance is the key to a successful community,” Merrick said. “In terms of local leadership, balance entails the integration of both male and female leaders. Being a civic leader is not my entitlement, but my responsibility to contribute and give back to our community.”

The Leadership Award will recognize women who challenge themselves toward the highest level of personal and professional accomplishment, excelling in their chosen fields, while also giving to the community, setting a path of leadership for others to emulate.

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