by Max Marbut
Each year since 1969, women who are leaders in Jacksonville’s education, volunteer and employment communities have been recognized with an award fashioned after a golden apple called the “Eve.”
More than 600 people gathered Friday at the Hyatt to honor the 2008 recipients.
Keynote speaker Kris Carr, author of “Crazy Sexy Cancer,” recounted her experiences with cancer. At 31 years of age, what began as a trip to the hospital for an upset stomach quickly became a diagnosis of incurable liver cancer.
She said instead of allowing the disease to control her life, she took control, producing a video documentary and later writing a book helped her take control of her fate and she wants to share the message with as many people as she can.
“Cancer became my project. It teaches us to live like we mean it. We all need focus, leadership, dedication and action. We all need role models who inspire us and now I have 12 more,” said Carr, referring to this year’s dozen nominees for Eve awards.
A panel of six judges, all previous Eve winners, selected the women who left the luncheon with golden apples this year:
This year’s Eve for Lifetime Achievement went to Betsy Lovett for her contributions to a myriad of local charities and arts organizations.
“I’ve always felt that by doing for others, you get more in return. This is a prime example,” she said
Pamela Chally, dean of the Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida, was honored for her contributions to education. She conducted a year-long survey to evaluate the area’s shortage of nurses and what could be done about it. Chally then secured the naming grant to complete the $10 million needed to expand the Brooks College of Health at UNF.
Ch. 12/25 news anchor and cancer survivor Donna Deegan was recognized in the volunteer category for developing, organizing and running in the “26.2 with Donna: the National Marathon for Breast Cancer.” The event attracted more than 7,000 runners from every state and nine foreign countries. It raised more than $1 million for medical research and support for women diagnosed with the disease.
Regions Bank North Florida Area Executive and Jacksonville President Marty Lanahan was this year’s honoree in the employment category. Following the merger of AmSouth with the locally unknown Regions Bank, Lanahan developed strategies to maintain business and raise brand awareness including delivering doughnuts to account holders and sending bicycle brigades to the beaches and Downtown.
“This morning I was sitting in meetings talking about how bad the economy is right now. I just heard the story told by a cancer survivor and the stories of everything all these women have accomplished. It really made me think,” said Lanahan after the ceremony.
The Eve awards are sponsored by Skirt! magazine, which is published by Morris Communications Company.