2023 Women of Achievement Celebration

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For the 29th year, YWCA of Olympia seeks to honor and celebrate inspiring women during our annual Women of Achievement Gala on Saturday, November 4th, 2023. Join us in honoring the amazing accomplishments and  contributions of women in their professional work or in service to the community. Established in 1994, the YWCA of Olympia Women of Achievement Award is one of the most prestigious honors for women in the South Sound. Our mission is to eliminate racism and sexism, to advance the political, social and economic status of all women and girls and embody our vision of a world where all people are valued, live free from oppression and thrive in a just society. This award honors women who align with our mission and embody outstanding leadership qualities, and are exceptionally committed to their community or profession.

For questions about the event or how you can support, please review the information below. You’re welcome to email woa@ywcaofolympia.org with any additional questions you might have.

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We are honored to present to you our 2023 Women of Achievement keynote speaker, Dr. Thelma Jackson!

Thelma Jackson has lived in the Lacey area for more than 50 years.  She has been actively involved in various activities including serving on the North Thurston School Board from 1977 to 1997, as President five times, Former President of the Board of Trustees of The Evergreen State College, one of the founding members of the Black Alliance of Thurston County and a member of various other state and local boards, commissions, task forces and committees over the years.  Dr. Jackson retired from Foresight Consultants, her consulting firm, in 2020. It specialized in educational issues, equity, diversity, policymaking, strategic planning, managing change and executive coaching. Thelma has spent her personal and professional life challenging the status quo and advocating for changes that result in more equitable outcomes for all.

Thelma administers the Northwest Institute for Leadership and Change, the 501(c)3 non-profit corporation that she founded in 2003.  Dr. Jackson is past Chairperson of the City of Lacey Equity Commission which she began in 2021.  She is a frequent speaker and workshop presenter on a variety of topics that span her years of experience and expertise in civic, educational, community and historical research activities in Black History.

The year 2022 was a very busy year for Dr. Jackson. In February, she published a book titled “Blacks in Thurston County, Washington, 1950-1975: A Community Album.” She and her husband were honored with the hanging of a stained glass mosaic portrait in the Lacey Community Center along with a marker behind their property on the Karen Fraser Trail. In 2023, the Lacey Historical Society presented her with the Ken Balsley Historian of the Year Award, the Washington State Charter School Commission presented her with a first-ever Community-Rooted Leadership Award, and the City of Olympia presented her with their Heritage Award.

Dr. Jackson continues to be actively involved in the community in a number of endeavors including the League of Women Voters and New Life Baptist Church where she heads the Community Engagement Ministry.

Thelma and her husband Nat, married for 57 years, are parents of three successful entrepreneurial children and four adult granddaughters who are carrying on the family traditions of business ownership and civic engagement.

Ways to Get Involved in WOA 2023