Every year Black Enterprise shines a spotlight on the Women of Power Legacy Award winners at the Women of Power Summit, Feb. 10-13, 2010. The Legacy Award recognizes extraordinary achievers who have redefined the standards of success and inspired women of color in their individual fields and beyond. These women have defied expectations and lifted up others along the way, creating a legacy that is not merely testament to their stellar personal success, but to a well-rounded life of sterling accomplishment and dedicated service. This year’s Legacy Award winners are B. Smith, Hon. Shirley Jackson, Aulana Peters, Audrey Smaltz, and Alexis Herman.
B. Smith began her career as a model and was the first African American woman to appear on the cover of Mademoiselle (July 1976). She hosted B. Smith with Style, a nationally syndicated cable television show, and “B. Smart Tips for a Better Life” radio segments. The Very Best of B Smith with Style will launch on PBS nationwide this year. She owns three successful B. Smith restaurants and debuted B. Smith with Style Home Collection in 2001. She has authored two tabletop books on entertaining and recently released her third cookbook, B. Smith Cooks Southern Style. Smith is currently partnering with Missa Bay frozen foods and the U.S. Army to create a line of B. Smith’s foods, Just Like Home Series foods, which will be served to troops abroad beginning this fall.
Hon. Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D.: President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Shirley Ann Jackson has held senior leadership positions in government, industry, research, and academe. President Barack Obama appointed her to serve on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and her research and policy focus includes energy security and the national capacity for innovation. She is a vice chairman of the Council on Competitiveness and co-chairs its Energy Security, Innovation and Sustainability initiative. Jackson is affiliated with a number of science and academic organizations and serves on various boards. The National Science Board selected her as its 2007 Vannevar Bush Award recipient for “a lifetime of achievements in scientific research, education, and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy.” Jackson holds a S.B. in physics and a Ph.D. in theoretical elementary particle physics, both from M.I.T.
Audrey Smaltz: CEO and Founder, The Ground Crew Worldwide
Audrey Smaltz has enjoyed a successful 55-year career in the fashion industry. She began her career as a 15-year-old model and later tried out to be an Ebony Fashion Fair model but was rejected because, at the time, she was considered too tall. Instead, she became the show’s commentator, making the rounds of the European fashion capitals. Upon leaving Ebony, she founded The Ground Crew, a company that provides indispensable backstage management during international fashion shows and other events. Among her more than 70 regular bookers are Oscar De La Renta, Vera Wang, Donna Karan and Michael Kors. Over the years, Smaltz has lent her time and energy to numerous philanthropic endeavors, among them the Black Fashion Museum, Dress for Success, The Gracie Mansion Conservancy, Dance Theater of Harlem and the Black Retailer Action Group.
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