Myrna White gets choked up as she realizes she won the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce's Business Women of the Year award Thursday. White is the director of marketing and stakeholder engagment at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
COLLEGE PARK Myrna White began to get teary-eyed when she realized her name was about to be called.
It dawned on White, the director of marketing and strategic engagement for Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, that she had won the Clayton County Chamber of Commerce’s Business Woman of the Year Award about halfway through her introduction.
The name of the award winner was not supposed to be announced until the end of the introduction, but she started to recognize the accomplishments of the unnamed winner as her own accomplishments.
There was the Big Sister of the Year award from the Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Metro Atlanta Inc. There was also the mentoring of female students at Clayton State University and Atlanta Technical College.
By the time award presenter Karen Sullivan mentioned her involvement in Clayton State’s Women in Leadership Series, White was already wiping tears from her eyes. Airport officials sitting with her turned to her and smiled proudly as they realized the news as well. Then her name was called and she went up to accept her award.
“This is a nerve-wracking experience,” said White as she took the podium.
This year marked the chamber’s Eighth Annual Women in Business Luncheon. The annual event drew a large crowd of about 200 people — mainly women — who came to hear guest speaker, Little Pink Book CEO Cynthia Good, and to find out the Business Woman of the Year winner.
Good encouraged women in the audience to be courageous. She used an example of Ella Fitzgerald choosing to sing at the Apollo Theater when she was 17 instead of a dance she had been invited to perform.
“She had the courage to follow her dream and that’s what I hope for all of you,” Good said.
But the award presentation was the highlight. The award’s finalists were White, Georgia International Convention Center Executive Director Mercedes Miller and On-Site Computer Training LLC Training Director Lisa Williams.
Sullivan told attendees that White “embodies” the definition of a businesswoman worthy of recognition.
“She is a firm believer in supporting the community in which she does business,” Sullivan said. “She strives to support community activities through volunteerism and financial support. She has a proven track record of leadership acumen and communication expertise. She displays a balance of compassion and professional in all that she does.”
White thanked her colleagues at the airport for the work they do and for supporting community programs, such as the chamber’s Women in Business Council. She then closed her remarks by quoting a local magazine publisher.
“I am Clayton, you are Clayton, we all are Clayton,” White said.