Outstanding Women Leaders

The Outstanding Women Leaders program will mark its 15th annual event on Thursday, March 22, 2018. The event is the "brainchild" of Mayor Pro Tem Vivian H. Burke to honor trailblazing women in our community. The Outstanding Women Leaders program has previously recognized 142 chief executive officers, doctors, attorneys, and women of numerous professions as an effort to shine a light on the significant contributions made by women leaders in Winston-Salem. Mayor Pro Tem Burke believes in the importance of sharing the stories of individual women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force. Women have always worked, but often their work has been undervalued and underpaid.

In 2016 the Mayor and City Council designated a committee to oversee the event; members are: Dana Suggs, Chair; Debra Gunter, Vice Chair; Naomi Jones; Nan Griswold; Carrie E. Collins.The committee will be recognizing the 2018 slate of outstanding women leaders throughout 2017 during City Council meetings. Thus far the following women have been recognized:

Leslie Alexander, R.J. Reynolds High School Principal

Emma Allen, State Farm Agent

Dr. Allison Brashear, Professor and Chair of the Department of Neurology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine 

Lynn Brenner Eisenberg, Brenner Children’s Hospital, and The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem Advisory Board 

Martha Fleer, Former dean of continuing studies and evening college at Salem College

Mother Mildred T. Hash, Posthumous 

Addie Hymes, Retired from the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System

Marlene Kostyrka, CFO, Battalion Chief at the City of Winston-Salem Fire Department

Marcellette Orange, Retired from YMCA

Pam Peoples-Joyner, Community Relations Specialist with the Winston-Salem Police Department


The OWL Program Committee will award a $500 Outstanding Women Leaders Scholarship to an outstanding female high school senior from the WS/FC School System. The Outstanding Women Leaders Scholarship was established in 2017 to honor Mayor Pro Tempore and Northeast Ward Council Member Vivian H. Burke, for her forty years of service to the City Council of Winston Salem and the founder of the Outstanding Women Leaders Award in 2003.
Scholarships will be awarded to students who demonstrate outstanding performance in academics, leadership, integrity, school service, community involvement and who show compassionate towards others in their daily lives. Scholarships may be used for the cost of undergraduate tuition, fees, room and board and other college expenses.


  • Be a resident of Forsyth County
  • A high school senior
  • Outstanding performance in academics, leadership, integrity, school service, community involvement, and show compassion towards others
  • Maintain an unweighted 2.5 GPA
  • Enroll in the "It's My Call/It's Our Call" alcohol and drug screening program
  • Complete 8 hours of community service
  • Attend a college fair
  • Not participate in any type of bullying- verbal, physical, or cyber
  • Contribute to a cooperative school environment
  • Complete a 250 word essay on assigned topic
  • Accepted at a community college or 4-year institution
  • Attend personal interview with the Outstanding Women Leaders Committee if chosen as a finalist

If you would like more information about the grant, please fill out the following information:

OWL Scholarship Information Form

(* = required field)