Having been in Hollywood for most of my professional career, I'm no stranger to the trappings of awards shows: celebrity-lined red carpets, statuettes of gold and bronze, who's wearing who, and who won what? But what's the takeaway? How many of these awards shows encourage and inspire us to aspire for more, to become better people?
How refreshing to discover an awards show with a purpose. The BraveHeart Women Awards show (Saturday, November 12, 2011) honors women who personify the BraveHeart spirit, recognizing women in areas of Courage, Compassion, Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Philanthropy. What's more, it encourages these achievements, not through competition, but by collaboration.
This effort is lead by the BraveHeart Women organization's founder and CEO, Ellie Drake. Born in the war-torn world of Iran, she was determined to one day not only escape an environment of oppression, but to promote peace, rise above circumstances, and encourage collaboration between all. Immigrating to America with her parents when she was a teenager, she never let go of her goal of inspiring others to achieve their dreams and exceed their expectations. Her BraveHeart Women online community is based on this concept, and is growing exponentially, from 200,000 members worldwide one year ago, to nearly double that today.
The 2011 BraveHeart Awards, held in Los Angeles, recognize the following BraveHeart Women: For Courage, Sharon Blynn, an ovarian cancer survivor who turned her experience with illness into an opportunity to promote self-acceptance by founding Bald is Beautiful. For Compassion, Katharine (Kat) Kramer, for her passionate work with Kat Kramer's Films that Change the World. Kelly Stone, sister of Sharon, will be recognized for her Philanthropic efforts, both with Planet Hope, which she co-founded, and her support of Lupus LA. Act-1 Group CEO and founder Janice Bryant Howroyd, owner of the largest minority woman-owned employment agency in the country, is honored by BraveHeart Women for her Entrepreneurship; and Lynn Mabry, co-founder of Elevate Hope, an organization that encourages alternative therapies for children through music and art, is honored for her Innovation.
Topping off the evening, with remarkable underscoring of the BraveHeart mission, is a special Collaboration Award, presented to not one, but two women from the Middle East, who are committed to following Ellie's formula for working together toward peace. Hana Avni, from the Israeli region, and Itaf Awad, from the Palestinian side, will be on hand at the show to accept their award in person, together.
No coincidence that this "awards show with a purpose" takes place during BraveHeart Women's four day RISE conference (www.risela.com) -- which celebrates growth on personal, professional and global levels. Motivational speakers are scheduled to appear. Prominent accomplished women, including entertainment television journalist Nancy O'dell, will join in on discussions about living a purpose-driven life. High profile women, such as Dr. Maya Angelou, have long been supporters of BraveHeart Women, and this year's RISE conference and Awards will see high profile names and celebrities as we have seen in the past.
True, the 2011 BraveHeart Women Awards show will have a red carpet, celebrity attendees, gowns, and musical entertainment -- but even the theme of the night reminds that the purpose is the greater good: precious gems ... a nod to the valuable nuggets of information we can learn from each other ... the precious nature of the work these wonderful woman have been doing ... and the truly precious moments that WE decide will make up our futures and our lives.
BraveHeart Women are inspiring -- and to participate in RISE or to attend the awards show is to be truly inspired.