Leading by Example

Kristin R. Adams
Kristin Adams
Cari Dawson
Jennifer Hightower

This year we have three amazing Board Members whose service is coming to an end after six years and we want to highlight the wonderful work they accomplished on behalf of AWF. The three Board Members are Kristin Adams, Cari Dawson, and Jennifer Hightower.

Kristin Adams

Kristin with 2019 Women in Law featured speaker Cheryl Brown Henderson.

When Kristin Adams joined the AWF Board, she had no previous fundraising experience, but that didn’t stop her from jumping in as a fundraising leader for the Board. No matter the committee or event, Kristin was always excited to help secure a donor or sponsorship and ensure that every fundraising goal was met. She also served on multiple Board committees, including chairing the Development and Communications Committee for two years and as Board Vice Chair for two years.

When the pandemic hit last year, and all of AWF’s spring fundraising event had to be postponed or canceled, Kristin immediately started thinking of alternative fundraising ideas. Her creativity resulted in our Sip ‘n Stay In event where we auctioned off opportunities for each winner to have a private, virtual meeting for four people with AWF friends like Essence Magazine Editor Emerita and Founder and CEO of National CARES Mentoring Movement Susan L. Taylor and actor Paul Walter Hauser (Richard Jewel, Cruella, I, Tonya).  

Even though her term on the Board has come to an end, Kristin will now be serving as Co-Chair of the AWF Alumni Group and helping to launch the next phase of our Inspire Atlanta program for teen girls.

Cari Dawson

Cari at orientation for the 2020 class of Inspire Atlanta (second from left).

As Governance Committee Chair, Cari Dawson brought a new level of strategy to AWF’s board development, helping to create a strong, diverse Board. Under her direction as Chair, the Committee focused on increasing diversity across all categories from ethnicity and race to gender to industry represented. Part of the board development strategy was also to consider potential candidates that could help to alleviate expenses, such as access to discounted space for events by adding a Board Member from the hospitality industry. Cari assisted in building a wholistic Board that has proven to help AWF thrive.  

In addition to her work on the Governance Committee, Cari also served on the Development and Communications Committee for two years and was co-liaison to the Board for our Inspire Atlanta program. As liaison, Cari particularly made an impact on that year’s class when she spoke to the class at orientation about her career and opportunities when she was supported by an upper level colleague and how important it was for her to pass that kind of support on to her direct reports, especially other women.

We are also incredibly grateful for Cari’s generosity in hosting all of AWF’s in-person Board meeting for the six years she served on the Board.

Jennifer Hightower

Jenn on stage at the 2019 Numbers Luncheon with the Sue Wieland Embracing Possibility Award recipients (far left).

In her six years on the Board, Chair Jennifer Hightower brought a greatly appreciated sense of humor and enthusiastically embraced AWF’s mission to be a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls. Prior to serving as Board Chair, Jenn held multiple leadership positions on the Board, including Board Vice Chair, Development and Communications Committee Co-Chair, and Grants Committee Chair/Co-Chair.

While serving on the Grants Committee, Jenn was responsible for overseeing the distribution of over $3.3 million in grants to local, grassroots organizations serving women and girls. She was also an active participant on the Women in Law planning committee, chairing it in 2018, and is one of the event’s most prolific fundraisers.

For the last two years, Jenn has served as Board Chair and in the last fifteen months has truly demonstrated her strength as a leader. She has gracefully led AWF through the pandemic, finding a way to maintain a positive attitude and always showing her support for the staff.

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