2017 Charity Award Winner, Kathryn Vecellio

Mrs. Vecellio was presented “The Gutsy Gal” Award from former recipient Eva Hill, a corporate real estate investor and luxury hotel consultant, who flew in from California to present the award, along with Deborah Hutchison, founder and president of the Gutsy Gals Inspire Me! organization.

Past Award Honoree, Eva Hill, 2017 Charity Award Winner, Kathryn Vecellio and Gutsy Gal Award Founder, Deborah Hutchison

Past Award Honoree, Eva Hill, 2017 Charity Award Winner, Kathryn Vecellio and Gutsy Gal Award Founder, Deborah Hutchison

“I am so honored to receive this award,” reported Mrs. Vecellio.  “I truly believe that everyone has the responsibility to do all that we personally can to help improve the lives of others.  Receiving this award, which has previously been presented to such accomplished women as Eva Hill and Kathy Ireland, spotlights voluntarism and its important role in our communities.”

As chairman of the Palm Beach Heart Ball, Mrs. Vecellio raised, at that time, a national record-breaking $2.4 million for the American Heart Association at a single event in 2008.   Mrs. Vecellio is especially passionate about improving the health of children and families, and is an ardent supporter of the Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland Clinic Florida and Schepens Eye Research Institute, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.

“It’s hard to imagine all that Kathryn Vecellio has accomplished in her career as a philanthropist and community advisor volunteer,” noted Ms. Hill, who met Mrs. Vecellio four years ago in Palm Beach.  “I admire her from the bottom of my heart and feel she is the perfect recipient for the Gutsy Gal award.  Her contributions and commitments to the community are boundless, and her natural leadership skills have impacted so many over the past four decades.  She is an inspirational woman with an amazing spirit of kindness and generosity.”

Hollywood Glamour Comes to the Berkshires

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The First Gutsy Gal Film Award Celebrated by Filmmakers - and Film Lovers!

In the 24 hours leading up to The Gutsy Gal Film Award - the event that has been a year in the making! - an unexpected blizzard wholloped the east coast threatening to prevent the arrival of filmmakers who were driving and flying into Great Barrington for the weekend; a technological snafu nearly shut down our screening to which over 100 guests had been invited; and our newly printed and delivered Gutsy Gal t-shirts suddenly began to run with blue dye! (they were re-printed, and re-delivered just in the nick of time) ... 

But the show must go on - and it did!

Karen Allen joined Gutsy Gal founder Deborah Hutchison and award-winner Cathryn Michon in addressing the audience of over 100 attendees at the Daniel Arts Theater on Saturday evening March 21; the event was presented in conjunction with The Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Awards were accepted in person by several of the filmmakers including (above, top photo) Katie Morrison, the lead actress from Imagine I'm Beautiful, accepting for Naomi McDougall Jones and Meredith Edwards; Marian Gagnon, writer/director of Ida Lewis; Cathryn Michon, writer/director of Muffin Top: A Love Story; Heather Taylor, writer/director of Breaking through the Clouds. The evening later transitioned into 90 minutes of laughter, with the screening of Michon's hilarious comedy, Muffin Top.

Sunday morning, Gutsy Gals teamed up with The Berkshire International Film Festival to host the screening of Breaking through the Clouds, the Gutsy Gal Award winning documentary by filmmaker Heather Taylor, above. The event was attended by over 50 guests at The Triplex Theater in Great Barrington, and followed by a Q & A with Taylor.

The Gutsy Gal Film Award Weekend made the headlines in local media .... and made us all proud of being there to recognize and encourage this amazing group of visionary women.

MEET OUR FILM AWARD WINNERS - INGRID PFAU, WRITER AND DIRECTOR OF "SEIZING THE UNRECORDED"

EMERGING TALENT INGRID PFAU DOCUMENTS HER PERSONAL JOURNEY TO UNDERSTAND A LIFE-ALTERING MEDICAL CONDITION

While completing her MFA Degree at Montana State University, Ingrid Pfau embarked upon a year-long project to explore the medical condition epilepsy, once known as "grand mal" seizures. This brave and fascinating short film includes interviews with scientist and with other sufferers of epilepsy, and personal reflections by Pfau on the relationship between this difficult and unpredictable medical condition and her calling as a filmmaker. This film has won in the Best Student and Emerging Filmmaker Category in the Science Media Awards in Boston, was a finalist in the Directors Guild of America Student Awards, has been reviewed in the prestigious "Science" journal.

We are proud to announce that Seizing the Unrecorded is the Winner of the Gutsy Gal Film Award in the category of a Short Film by a Student/Emerging Talent.

MEET OUR FILM AWARD WINNERS - JUDITH FINNEREN, DIRECTOR OF GHOST BIKE

THE ROAD TO FORGIVENESS

Judith Finneren's life changed in a split second the day her husband was hit by a car and killed while bicycling. Her struggle to forgive the driver of the car that killed her husband, and to heal, is the subject of her documentary film, Ghost Bike. Ghost Bike is the winner of a Gutsy Gal Award for a Short Documentary.


HERE ARE WHAT GUTSY GIRLS LOOK LIKE!

DEBORAH HUTCHISON TALKS TO GIRLS OF THE GEMS CLUB ABOUT FILMMAKING, AT THE SOUTH FLORIDA SCIENCE CENTER

I recently interviewed Carla Duhaney, Director of Education at the South Florida Science Center. Duhaney was kind enough to invite Deborah Hutchison to talk to the girls of her GEMS Club (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) about filmmaking. Hutchison is the writer, director, and producer of the award-winning animated film, The Improbably Journey of Berta Benz - and from the looks of it, she definitely got the girls "animated" about filmmaking!


GIVING GIRLS A CHANCE TO "BUILD AND CREATE WITHOUT LIMITS"

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INTERVIEW WITH CARLA DUHANEY, DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION FOR THE SOUTH FLORIDA SCIENCE CENTER

This week, Deborah Hutchison will speak to girls in the GEMS Program (Girls Excelling in Math & Science) at the South Florida Science Center in Palm Beach - at the invitation of Education Director Carla Duhaney. In advance of the program, I interviewed Carla about her adventures working in a National Park in Jamaica, what led her to the South Florida Science Center, and her passion for science and for fostering an environment in which girls feel free to experiment and learn, to "build and create without limits". 
Christina Holbrook

Gutsy Gals: You and I have talked before, and I know you have an interesting background, including time spent working in a National Park in Jamaica. Can you tell me a little bit about this experience? It sounds very adventurous!

Carla Duhaney: I was always out to save the world with Science, so I studied Environmental Resource Management at Penn State University and spent my summers as a Park Ranger at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in California.  I also knew since I was 3 years old that I would join the US Peace Corps and travel to Africa.  When I was accepted into the Peace Corps in 1993, I was delighted, but very surprised to discover that I was headed to the tropical island of Jamaica. 

While in Jamaica I was assigned to the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, the largest terrestrial Park in Jamaica with many areas of thick tropical rain forest.  I traveled into the small villages on the outskirts of the Park to deliver educational programs and organized community meetings to discuss some of the environmental problems in the boundary areas of the Park.  When my two years of service was finished, I was just beginning, so I jumped on a job opening at the park as Education Director.  In the 10 years I spent with the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park, I established the first Environmental Education Program for the Park, participated in many search and rescues, organized the first trail maintenance workshop and taught thousands of children the importance of saving the natural resources of Jamaica.

Gutsy Gals: What brought you to South Florida?

At the time, my husband and family were living in the capital city of Kingston, Jamaica. The city had a high crime rate and as a young woman with young kids, I worried about the safety of my family.  The economy was also at a low in Jamaica and many of the environmental programs were losing funding.  My husband and I decided to travel to South Florida to live close to his mother, who had migrated to this area years ago.  The South Florida Science Center was a natural fit for me, since I loved teaching science to students and I was an experienced educator.

Gutsy Gals: The South Florida Science Center has placed a particular emphasis on encouraging young women to explore Engineering, Math and Science. Can you tell me a little bit about the evolution of the GEMS program and what you are hoping to accomplish?

Carla Duhaney: At the South Florida Science Center, engaging girls in STEM activities, courses, and careers has been a long-identified goal.   Young women in our communities are missing out on exciting, challenging careers in the STEM fields with opportunities for high salaries and long-term growth.  In our  mixed-gender science programs at the Science Center,  there is a tendency for the girls to hang back and allow the boys to do the science experiments.  We developed our Girls Excelling in Math and Science (GEMs) Club in order to give interested young girls a chance to explore the world of science and engineering in a non-competitive setting. At our GEMs club, the emphasis for all participants is on learning and having fun. ALL of the girls get to do ALL of the activities and therefore experience success.    Our club meets every last Tuesday of the month and we target girls grades 3rd - 8th. A typical night includes  interactive experiments, fun STEM activities and mentoring sessions with leading women in STEM careers.

Gutsy Gals: Deborah Hutchison will be speaking to your GEMS group this week on the topic of  “Getting Animated” – are you noticing a particular interest these days among girls and young women in filmmaking?

Carla Duhaney: We have not noticed a particular interest in filmmaking (since this is not a normal Science Center program), however, we have noticed a spike in interest from females in our technology and maker programs at the South Florida Science Center.  In these workshops and week-long camps, we provide activities like soldering, technical engineering, 3D printing and robotics in a risk-free environment where there is no competition other than doing your personal best.  Participants are able to design their own robots, construct their own video games, and learn the language of computer coding.

Gutsy Gals: That's fantastic! And I hope Deborah's talk this week will let girls know that making films is another wonderful, creative career that is open to them. Women filmmakers are talking about a "movie-ment" these days, with more and more women getting involved in film. I hope some of your girls will be inspired to explore film and video.

On another topic, you are the mom of a young girl – what is your daughter telling you are the main challenges she faces today?

Carla Duhaney: My daughter is 12, and she has an interest in baking and loves making specialty cakes and cupcakes for all occasions.  She is very creative and tries constructing her cakes with small electronics and working lights. Her challenge is exploring and expressing her creativity in her regular school setting, where there are no baking club or technical programs.  This is why I believe that non-profit organizations and non-formal educational institutions are important. These are the places that children are inspired to tinker, build and create without limits. 

One Month to go to The Gutsy Gal Film Award Weekend!

Check out these award-winning films and filmmakers!

Grand Prize Winner 

Best Feature Film/Comedy - Muffin Top: A Love Story - Cathryn Michon, writer and director

Best Feature Length

Best Feature Length/Drama - Imagine I'm Beautiful - Naomi McDougall Jones, writer and Meredith Edwards, director

Best Feature Length/Historical Documentary - Breaking through the Clouds - Heather Taylor, writer and director

Best Feature Length/Documentary of the Americas - Rebel - Maria Agui Carter, writer and director

Best Shorts

Best Short/Historical Documentary - Ida Lewis - Marion Gagnon, writer and director

Best Short/Narrative - Ghost Bike - Judith Finneren, writer and director

Best Short/Student Emerging Talent - Seizing the Unrecorded - Ingrid Pfau, writer and director

Special Category

Outstanding films that provide insight into an important issue of our times

Special Category/Women's Empowerment - The Empowerment Project - Sarah Moshman, writer and director

Special Category/Peace Award - Children of the Light - Dawn Engle, director

Special Category/Social Justice - Young Lakota - Marion Lipschultz, writer and co-director, Rose Rosenblatt, co-director

Special Category/Contemporary Spirituality - Death Makes Life Possible - Marilyn Schlitz, writer and director

THE GUTSY GAL AWARD TAKES OFF!

Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® Launches New Website to Celebrate Award Winners

Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® is excited to announce the launch of the Gutsy Gal Award website: www.GutsyAward.com The new site celebrates winners of the Gutsy Gal Award in the areas of Business, Education, Film & Entertainment, and Charitable work.

The launch of our new site coincides with another exciting moment for Gutsy Gals Inspire Me ...

 

... the presentation of the First Annual Gutsy Gal Film Award, to be held in Great Barrington MA the weekend of March 21-22, 2015. Writer and Director Cathryn Michon is the Grand Prize Winner of the Gutsy Gal Film Award for her feature length comedy Muffin Top: A Love Story. Joining Michon will be outstanding women filmmakers in several other categories.

The film awards will be presented the evening of Saturday March 21 at the Daniel Arts Center at Bard College/Simon's Rock; on Sunday March 22 a screening of the award winning feature length documentary Breaking through the Clouds, directed by Heather Taylor, will be shown at the Triplex Cinema in downtown Great Barrington.

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Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® honors strong female role models with the goal of inspiring women and girls, in ways large and small, to work towards their dreams.

MEET OUR FILM AWARD WINNERS: MARIA AGUI CARTER, WRITER & DIRECTOR OF REBEL

A historical film about a woman for whom only one photograph survives?  A woman director with only documentary experience trying to direct battle scenes and period dramatic scenes for an ambitious documentary?  Seriously?  YES!  

It took 12 years for Carter to get her award-winning film funded and shot - in the meantime she produced and directed 10 other commissioned films for PBS and cable to pay the bills, while raising the funding herself, grant by grant and donation by donation.  The result is REBEL, the incredible true story of Loreta Velazquez, a Civil War soldier and spy.

REBEL is the winner of the Eric Barnouw Honorable Mention Prize as Best Historical Film in America (won in the past by Ken Burns) and is the winner of the Gutsy Gal Film Award for best feature length film for a Documentary of the Americas. 

Meet Our Film Award Winners: Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt, Directors of "Young Lakota"

Marion Lipschutz and Rose Rosenblatt are a leading force in creating non-fiction "media that matters". Their company Incite Pictures (and its not-for-profit venture Cine Qua Non) has been educating, entertaining and inspiring audiences for over 15 years.

Young Lakota, winner of the Gutsy Gal Film Award in the special category of Social Justice, documents the story of the first female President of the Oglala Sioux tribe who challenges a South Dakota law criminalizing all abortion. In doing so, she ignites a political firestorm that upends the lives of three young Lakota women on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Lipschutz who wrote and directed Young Lakota, and Rosenblatt who served as co-director, have worked with HBO, TLC, Court TV, and various private investors. Cine Qua Non, the non-profit arm of the company, has produced for PBS, Fenton Communications, the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous and Advocates for Youth. Their film The Education of Shelby Knox premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has won numerous awards including Best Cinematography at Sundance and the SXSW Audience Award.

On the Lighter Side: OMG! Since when did fashion become all about Wardrobe Malfunction?

I use to love watching the Oscars and the Emmy’s as much for the clothes the women wore as for the Awards themselves. Some were romantic, some were couture and some were totally out there. Cher never disappointed with outrageous, Diane Keaton has her style, and others might theatrically appear in a Bob Mackie gown. As a family, and later with girlfriends, we’d watch in awe of the costumes the actresses showed up in. We were never betting on whose boob would fall out -- rather we would be commenting on a new look or style.  We’d be inspired to emulate our version of their different styles for parties and events. Such fun back then! My question today is? What’s going on in the women’s fashion world of these award events? We have fashion police but no real fashion. Where are the inspiring designers? I know you are out there somewhere!!!

So I was delighted at a recent Art opening in my town when an inspiringly dressed woman walked into the event! I wanted to applaud her for being a fashion risk-taker who rocked her outfit with confidence among a sea of people all looking the same. She was my moment of "Aah!" --  a woman who probably has a wardrobe full of Oscar attire.

Hollywood gutsy gals - it’s bad enough you aren’t receiving jobs to win awards that you might likely deserve. And worse, you aren’t even nominated for awards when you get the job and deserve one. But you CAN say yes to an inspiring Award outfit! Give us something to dream about even if we don’t have the guts to wear it -- or, maybe we will!  You could be creating more jobs if you weren’t all looking the same. Actresses please get inspired to find new designers and YOUR style. Stop looking like each other. Don't know where to start? Perhaps we should find this woman I bet she could help.

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Meet Our Film Award Winners: Heather Taylor, Director of Breaking through the Clouds

Breaking through the Clouds is the inspiring story of 20 women who raced across the country in the First Women's National Air Derby in 1929. Heather Taylor has spent nearly 15 years researching the story behind the women in the air derby and has shared their story throughout the country at venues ranging from the National Air & Space Museum to local rotary clubs. 

Taylor formed her production company, Archetypal Images, specifically to create this award winning documentary. Prior to starting Archetypal Images, Taylor was employed by Discovery Communications where she managed thousands of programming hours for popular shows including The Croc Hunter, Monster Garage, and Deadliest Catch. Taylor has also assisted in the management and delivery of shows for PBS, National Geographic, ABC, and Discovery. She has a Master degree in producing film and video.

In addition to the Gutsy Gal Film Award, Breaking through the Clouds has also won the prestigious Combs Gates Awards from the National Aviation Hall of Fame, and several other awards. Taylor has inducted the twenty women who flew in the first national air derby into the Women in Aviation's Pioneer Hall of Fame.

For tickets to the March 22 screening of Breaking through the Clouds in conjunction with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers and the Berkshire International Film Festival, click here. Taylor will be on hand to discuss the film and answer questions.

Meet Our Film Award Winners - Sarah Moshman, The Empowerment Project

The count-down for the Gutsy Gals Film Award in Great Barrington March 21-22 has begun! Over the next few weeks we'll highlight our winning filmmakers and their films.

Sarah Moshman's Film The Empowerment Project is the recipient of the Gutsy Gal Film Award in the Special Category of Women's Empowerment.

The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things is the incredible journey of 5 female filmmakers driving across America to encourage, empower, and inspire the next generation of strong women to go after their career ambitions.

Writer and director Sarah Moshman is an Emmy® Award Winning documentary filmmaker and TV Producer, but most importantly she loves to empower women! Growing up in Chicago, Sarah found her passion for filmmaking at an early age once she found how the camera truly gave her a voice. She attended the University of Miami where she studied Video-Film and then moved out to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of working in TV & film. Sarah worked in reality television as a field producer for networks like ABC, NBC, MTV, Lifetime and the Food Network. Documentary filmmaking has always been her passion, and it was in 2012 when she came up with the idea to create "The Empowerment Project" as a way to change the way women are portrayed in the media. Sarah's career has taken an exciting turn as she and her producing partner Dana Michelle Cook now have the privilege of screening the film and speaking in schools across the country about following a dream and not being afraid to fail.

Filmmakers and TV producers Dana Michelle Cook and Sarah Moshman met in 2007 when working on a national teen filmmaking program that empowered youth by getting behind the camera. The two were kindred spirits and great friends from the start, and realized they had a similar passion for female empowerment. In 2010, they produced their first short documentary entitled Girls Rock! Chicago, showcasing a rock and roll camp for girls. Shortly after, in 2012, the two produced another short doc, Growing up Strong: Girls on the Run about the international running program Girls on the Run. Sarah and Dana won an Emmy Award for that project in 2013! The Empowerment Project: Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things is their first feature-length documentary, which chronicles the journey of 5 female filmmakers as they drive across America to interview inspirational women from all walks of life. Upon completing the film in May of 2014, they have had the privilege of touring the US and screening in schools, groups and organizations to inspire audiences firsthand. Their goal? To help change the way women are portrayed in the media, and to start a national conversation around empowerment in many forms. Sarah and Dana want to change the world by empowering people through storytelling and they plan to do that for years to come.

To learn more about The Empowerment Project and to bring it your community go to: empowermentproject.com

The Furor Continues over Hollywood's Lack of Support for Women Filmmakers

 

Emmy? Oscar? Nope a  “Gutsy Gal Award” -- That’s right, we’ve created a Gutsy Gal FILM Award!  Tired of watching women including myself having to fund, write, direct and then market their films to audiences single-handedly, I decided to give women recognition and attention by creating the Gutsy Gal FILM Award.

In 2014 my company, Gutsy Gals Inspire Me®, called on women filmmakers to submit their films for the award. If Hollywood wouldn’t let us in or acknowledge our work then let it be my mission to honor and be inspired by these “gutsy” filmmakers. If we at Gutsy Gals can support women filmmakers, and make enough noise to help them, then let’s do it.

We are 52% of the film watching audience.

I had not even considered that I was “on a mission” until I met Geena Davis in 2008 at her first conference on Gender Equity in Film (both on set and in films). I was beginning the journey of making my first film and she was explaining how the odds were against us. She was confronting the studios with her own mission to get more women on sets and in films.  Little did I know that today, seven years later, the nearly impossible odds women writers and directors of films face in Hollywood would finally be at the forefront of media awareness (see NYT Article on Women Fighting for Better Opportunity in Hollywood.  It is gratifying to know that Geena Davis’s determination (along with that of her business partner Madeline Di Nonno) grows stronger and stronger everyday.

On March 21st 2015 Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® will be honoring women writers and directors of films in the creative community of Great Barrington, MA. Working in partnership with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, we’ll hold our first Gutsy Gals Inspire Me FILM award ceremony.  And while Angelina Jolie and Ava DuVernay may currently be household names, one day a Gutsy Gal Film Award Winner like grand prize winner Cathryn Michon of Muffin Top, Heather Taylor of Breaking Through the Clouds, or Naomi McDougall Jones of Imagine I’m Beautiful may get a shot at an Oscar!!!

-- Deborah Hutchison, President, Gutsy Gals Inspire Me

2014 Was A Great Year for Gutsy Gals (hint ... 2015 Will Be Even Better!)

Beginning in March 2014 with the Santa Barbara Women's Festival and wrapping up in November with both the announcement of the Gutsy Gals Film Award Winners as well as a Gala Celebration in Palm Beach, President Deborah Hutchison was kept busy speaking at Award Ceremonies around the country on behalf of an amazing gallery of women.

Hutchison (second from left) presented Eva Hill (far right) with the Gutsy Gal Award. Hill is President and CEO of Britannia Pacific Properties and was being honored at the Palm Beach International Film Festival Gala organized by Randi Emerman of the PBIFF (second from right). Eva's sister, Mary Hyatt (far left) joined in the toast.

Here are highlights from the year ....

Is there a fearless female in your business or organization worthy of a Gutsy Gal Award? Reward those women who are innovators and show exemplary integrity and courage by honoring them with a Gutsy Gal Award! For more information, contact us at awards@gutsygalsinspireme.com 

Actress Karen Allen to Present Gutsy Gal Film Award in March 2015

For Immediate Release: 

Great Barrington MA, December 10, 2014

Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® will be presenting the first annual Gutsy Gal Film Award on March 21, 2015 at the McConnell Theater at Bard College, Simon's Rock, in the Berkshires. Renowned actress Karen Allen will be joined by Deborah Hutchison of Gutsy Gals Inspire Me to celebrate an inspiring group of women filmmakers. Allen, an honorary Gutsy Gal Award Winner, will present the awards to the winning writers and directors of the Gutsy Gal Film Award. The highlight of the evening will be a screening of the Grand Prize Winning Film Muffin Top, A Love Story, a feature film comedy that challenges Hollywood's notions of women and body image. Attendees will have the chance to meet filmmaker Cathryn Michon, writer and director of Muffin Top, as well as many of the other intrepid, gutsy, award winning women filmmakers.

On Sunday March 22, Gutsy Gals Inspire Me will host a screening at the Triplex Theater in downtown Great Barrington of the film Breaking Through the Clouds, winner of the Gutsy Gals Film Award for a feature length documentary. Film writer and director Heather Taylor will join in conversation with Deborah Hutchison and Kelley Vickerey of the Berkshire International Film Festival about the making of the film, and the challenges faced by women writers and directors of films.

The weekend of Gutsy Gal Film Award events will be held in conjunction with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers, which runs through the month of March.

Cathryn Michon Awarded Grand Prize of the 2015 Gutsy Gal Film Awards

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Cathryn Michon Awarded Grand Prize of the 2014 Gutsy Gal Film Awards for Muffin Top: A Love Story

PALM BEACH, Florida (November 6, 2014) Cathryn Michon, the writer and director of Muffin Top: A Love Story, has been chosen the grand-prize winner of the 2014 Gutsy Gal Film Awards.

The award will be presented in conjunction with the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers on March 21-22, 2015, at Bard College/Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Michon’s award is one of 11 total awards presented by Gutsy Gals Inspire Me®, a multimedia company that inspires women and girls across the globe to be healthy risk takers, courageous, and drive their own destinies.

“Muffin Top is an honest and hilarious examination of a topic that Hollywood generally ignores: real women's honest insecurities about their own bodies. Because of this fearless and truly entertaining film, and for being an authentic comedic voice about the lives of women everywhere, we are honored to present writer/director Cathryn Michon with this award,” said Deborah Hutchison, founder of Gutsy Gals Inspire Me.

According to a New York Times article (ArtBeat, March 11, 2014) only fifteen percent of Hollywood movies have women in lead roles, and the Huffington Post notes (April 20, 2013) that only five percent of films are directed by women.  Gutsy Gals Inspire Me hopes to help bring the successful females in the film industry into the spotlight and inspire even more to follow their lead through their film awards.

“I care so much about telling authentic women’s stories, I put my fat on a movie poster. [Muffin Top] is a story about a normal woman with normal insecurities, the kind of woman mainstream showbiz likes to pretend doesn’t exist,” said Cathryn Michon. “I am particularly proud that this film is the first to have an all female sound team in romantic comedy history: a team of women soundtrack score artists, women composers and women performers.”

Writers and directors were called to submit their nominations for the 2014 Gutsy Gal Film Awards on the Gutsy Gal’s Facebook page, and the call for entries received the support of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. The winners were chosen by a panel of jurists from across the country.

Gutsy Gals Inspire Me® is a multimedia company that inspires women and girls across the globe to be healthy risk takers, courageous in their actions, and drive their own destinies. Through an award program, an educational film venture, and online products, Gutsy Gals recognizes and promotes inspirational female role models by telling their stories. For more information, visit gutsygalsinspireme.com or facebook.com/gutsygalsinspireme.

Eva Hill, CEO of Britannia Pacific Properties, Honored with Gutsy Gal Award

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Gutsy Gals is pleased to announce that the Palm Beach International Film Festival will present Eva Hill, President and CEO of Britannia Pacific Properties, with the Gutsy Gal Award on November 1, 2014. The Award will be presented at the Film Festival's Gala Celebration in Palm Beach, to be held at the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa.

Britannia Pacific, the U.S. real estate investment arm of the Lewis Trust Group that is headquartered in London, owns the Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa. "The Eau", which has been owned by Britannia for more than 10 years, was removed from the previous hotel chain in order to elevate it to "a high integrity, world class property" says Hill. Under Hill's leadership, the hotel is now recognized as a AAA Five-Diamond Award Property and part of Preferred Hotels and Resorts.

Its hard to imagine that an executive for an international investment firm would have time for more than keeping her eye firmly fixed on the corporate bottom line. But Hill's energy level is "boundless" she admits, especially when it comes to turning her attention to humanitarian and charitable work. Calling on her natural leadership skills and considerable network of relationships, she works to help improve the lives of families and children in crisis. Hill helped create the charitable event "Artists for Others", the proceeds of which benefit victims of sex trafficking. She has provided funding for, and personally participated in, missionary trips to Mexico to build homes for residents in poverty stricken areas.  She has been involved with WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) and Sophia’s Heart (a homeless shelter for families) and supports the Habitat for Humanity in Palm Beach. In an inspired use of resources, Hill was able to largely furnish many of these Habitat for Humanity homes with items no longer in use at "The Eau" -- where she was simultaneously directing significant upgrades to the resort.

More recently, Ms. Hill helped pioneer the effort to bring the International Film Festival to Palm Beach. Through her support, and the support of The Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, The Film Festival is able to attract to Palm Beach a wide array of films, and an international cast of actors, directors, writers and producers.  Randi Emerman, president of The Palm Beach International Film Festival, comments "Eva has incredible business smarts, of course, but she also has this amazing spirit of kindness and generosity. She is a terrific friend." The Gala Event in November, as well as the Festival which takes place in late March, are two of the social and cultural highlights of the Palm Beach season.
 
Ms. Hill graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Southwest Texas State University and began her career, and remains licensed today, as a Certified Public Accountant.  She is also a Certified Global Management Accountant.

A Gutsy Gal Transforms a University

Last week, Dr. Jahnae Barnett was honored with the Gutsy Gal Award in Education. The following remarks were made by Gutsy Gal President Deborah Hutchison, who was on hand to present Dr. Barnett with the award. Biographical information about Dr. Barnett and her tenure at William Woods University follow these remarks:

Good evening. It’s good to be part of this joyous occasion as we celebrate Dr. Barnett’s 25 years of leadership as President William Woods College and then William Woods University. I’m not going list more of Dr. Barnett’s accomplishments because that has been touched upon and if you are here tonight you have seen or been part of her remarkable journey.  I am here to present her an Award! The Gutsy Gal Award! Dr. Barnett is a true example of A Gutsy Gal! While I was preparing her Award Letter and Certificate I was reminded that I was not the first person to call her gutsy! Many of you know this story but it’s fun to hear again.

In 1993, Dr. Barnett was invited to open the American Royal Horse Show by participating in the Concert of Champions. She was and is still the only university president invited for this honor. As the only rider in the arena, she was to exhibit an American Saddlebred horse loaned to the school for the event by Callaway Hills. Dr. Barnett had never exhibited publicly and had taken her lessons here on campus via Miss Lampe as a way to educate herself on our equestrian curriculum. Given her inexperience, our students became very involved in the event through coaching, caring for the horse, etc. At the actual performance, naturally, there were numerous students on the rail coaching her. At one point actor, William Shatner (who shows American Saddlebreds), went to the kids and said pointing to our President, “Do you know that person?” Of course, they replied that it indeed was their university president. Shatner replied saying, “She’s a gutsy ole broad.” Years later when William Shatner was our commencement speaker, Dr. Barnett used this in her introduction of him—it brought down the house.  Today, the framed “Gutsy Ole Broad” quote is displayed in her office.

In 2008, I started a company, Gutsy Gals Inspire Me, to recognize Gutsy Gals, courageous women, positive role models. We even created our own dictionary definition of a gutsy gal: they are lionhearted ladies, females who ignore barriers and setbacks. They are healthy risk takers who drive their destinies. They are fabulous, spirited and go-getters!

In 2012 we gave Kathy Ireland a Gutsy Gal award for her creation of the business Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a $1.5 billion business. And today, I’m told our 2014 award honoree, Deepa Willingham, was just honored at the White House for her work on saving girls in India from human trafficking! They are the Dr. Barnett’s of the World!

So on behalf of the Board and my company, Gutsy Gals Inspire Me, we present the Gutsy Gal Certificate and Award to Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett for 25 years of inspiring and forward thinking leadership as President of William Woods University and a true gutsy gal.

Dr. Jahnae Barnett, Inspired Leadership

William Woods University, one of Missouri’s premier liberal arts colleges with five campuses across the state that house some 3,600 students, began in 1870 as an orphanage for young women left in dire circumstances following the Civil War. Over the next 120 years, the college updated their admission requirements to allow other young women besides orphans to be admitted; it offered classes in literature, fine arts, home economics and other areas considered most becoming of a proper Missouri woman; their equestrian studies program is ranked the best in the nation to this day.

Then in 1990, Barnett assumed presidency. In her first six years as president, Barnett created graduate and adult-oriented programs, changed the name to William Woods University (from William Woods College) and started letting men enroll.

Strength of the leaders, strengths of the college.

Barnett is now in her 25th year as president of William Woods, an institution to which she has devoted most of her life, having previously spent 17 years in the roles of professor, department chair and vice president. Under her leadership, the school has revolved from a small, single-campus, rural women’s college with about 500 students into a statewide, co-ed university with five permanent sites serving 3,600 students, including many from other countries.

Although her career spans an era that wasn’t exactly friendly to the working woman, Barnett shattered the glass ceiling. Her abilities are William Woods’ strengths: responding to market demands and adapting to new circumstances to remain a healthy, vibrant, growing institution.

“When I first became president in the early ’90s, I decided I wanted to expand our mission and provide educational opportunities to working adults,” Barnett says.
Jefferson City and Columbia were the first of the new locations, but they now offer evening business and education degree programs throughout the state and in Arkansas. Some of these are in rural areas far from any college or university.

“For many of our students, this gives them a second chance, an opportunity to pursue an education or complete a degree that they might not otherwise have been able to attain,” Barnett says.
At the same time Barnett was expanding access to higher education across the state, she was working to enrich the lives of students on the Fulton campus.

Her internationally recognized LEAD (Leading, Educating, Achieving and Developing) Program requires students to attend art exhibits, literature readings and other cultural events in exchange for a tuition reduction. The program is funded in part by contributions to the WWU Loyalty Fund via phonation, direct mail and also by the members of President’s Club. LEAD dramatically increased student engagement and made higher education accessible to many who would not otherwise be able to enroll.

“A continuing challenge is working with increased government intervention and regulation of higher education,” Barnett says. “Operationally, we have been nimble and responded to the ever-changing higher education landscape and will take the necessary steps to continue to do so. For almost 15 consecutive years now, we have worked diligently to keep our tuition increases below 4 percent.”

Barnett has received the National Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education and was named Missouri’s Inaugural First Lady in Education. In May, the Zonta Club of Jefferson City, an organization of executives in business and the professions working together to enhance and advance the status of women, honored Barnett as a Woman of Achievement. She was one of two winners out of 15 nominees.

Last week, she was the proud recipient of the Gutsy Gals Inspire Me Award® in recognition of her 25 years of inspired leadership.

Her awards and grand recognition are only byproducts of her work. Barnett takes pride in her students’ achievements. A vice president of Hewlett-Packard, the former chief operating officer of Arby’s and the president of UPS Americas are among her former students and are all now members of the William Woods Board of Trustees.

This type of success comes as a result Dr. Barnett’s leadership style, one that includes regular dining hall visits, cheering on her teams at athletic events and admiring the work of budding young artists.

And she did all of this while maintaining a balanced budget for the past 10 years.

Adapted from an interview with President Barnett in the Columbia Business Times.