Women of Achievement empower others

through persistence and advocacy

Longtime Newtown Square resident inducted into Hall of Fame

Each year, County Council partners with the Delaware County Women’s Commission to recognize Women’s History Month and individuals who have profoundly influenced women in Delaware County by contributing their talents and energy to our county.

This year’s theme is, “Nevertheless She Persisted: Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,” was highlighted by honoring women who have successfully challenged the role of women through their own success, determination, leadership and advocacy.

On April 4, at the Springfield County Club, Delaware County Council joined the Delaware Women’s Commission at an awards breakfast and highlighted four outstanding women for their work to empower women and advance the role and influence of women within the community, presenting the Woman of Achievement Award to three women and inducting former longtime Newtown Square resident, Linda Houldin into the Hall of Fame. The Woman of Achievement Award was presented to Cheryl Colleluori, Dr. L. Joy Gates Black, and Mares Stellfox.

Linda Houldin, a longtime Newtown Square resident, will be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame for her many contributions to the Delaware County community which are both immeasurable and far-reaching. Linda is the former executive director of the Delaware County Historical Society and co-founder of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial. Nominated by Nichole de Bottom Robinson and Claude de Bottom, founding members and land donors of the Delaware County Veterans Memorial, the Hall of Fame award was accepted by Linda’s husband, John Houldin.

Cheryl Colleluori was nominated by Christopher Swartz and Dave White. Cheryl is the president of HEADstrong Foundation and Nick’s House. With the mission to improve the lives of those affected by cancer, HEADstrong was founded by Cheryl’s son, Nick. Shortly after being diagnosed with a blood cancer, Nick recognized that there was a lack of resources for cancer patients and their families so he created the HEADstrong Foundation. In 2006, Cheryl made a promise to her son that she would do everything in her power to take the HEADstrong Foundation to new heights helping as many people as possible – and she has done just that. By telling Nick’s story, she continues her son’s legacy of kindness by helping others who are coping with cancer. Cheryl is a compassionate leader and public voice for families in our community, and she has changed the equation for those battling cancer.

Dr. Joy Gates Black was nominated by Council Vice Chair Colleen Morrone and Executive Director Marianne Grace. Dr. Gates Black has an extraordinary track record in expanding the academic success of students and furthering the advancement of education in communities. As a strong visionary leader, Dr. Gates Black is the fourth president since Delaware County Community College’s founding 50 years ago. She also is also the first woman and the first African American president, making history here in Delaware County. Prior to her tenure as vice chancellor at Tarrant County College District in Fort Worth, Texas, Dr. Gates Black held numerous positions at community colleges across the country. She is an U.S. Air Force veteran and a native of Dayton, Texas. We are proud to welcome such a distinguished leader to our higher education community here in Delaware County.

Mary Susan “Mares” Stellfox was nominated by James Vankoswki. Mares a Springfield High School graduate who followed her childhood dream of becoming a race car driver. Known as the “Lady Outlaw,” Mares is a woman who persisted in a mostly male dominated world of auto racing to become a local sports legend and break many barriers in the sport of professional auto racing. During her first year of racing, she drove four races and progressed each year until she reached her goal of winning the championship three years later. She eventually joined the Tri-State Micro Sprint Outlaws, where she earned her nickname as "The Lady Outlaw” and in 1989 she was named Rookie of the Year.

“Throughout history, women have fought tirelessly to broaden democracy, to ensure we are all treated equally, and to encourage women to reach for new heights,” said Vice Chair Colleen Morrone “These honorees are role models for women in Delaware County and their lives demonstrate the power of voice, of taking action, and of believing that meaningful and lasting change is possible.”

Since 1985, the Delaware County Women’s Commission has served as advocates for women, acknowledging their contributions to the history of the county, and empowering women in their roles within the family, in the workplace, and in government, raising awareness on issues such as women’s health, financial independence and prevention of violence against women.

For more information about the Delaware County Women’s Commission, please visit, www.co.delaware.pa.us/womencom.

Women leaders empower others through persistence and advocacy

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Delaware County Council and the Delaware County Women’s Commission recognized extraordinary women who have profoundly influenced women in Delaware County. The theme for the April 4 annual breakfast was “Nevertheless She Persisted: Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination Against Women,” honoring women who have successfully challenged the role of women through their own success, determination, leadership and advocacy.

Top picture, from left, Councilman Brian Zidek, District Attorney Katayoun Copeland, Councilman Michael Culp, Executive Director Marianne Grace, Cheryl Colleluori, James Vankoswki, Mary Susan “Mares” Stellfox, Dr. Joy Gates Black, John Houldin, Council Vice Chair Colleen Morrone, Council Chairman John McBlain, Register of Wills Mary Walk and Claude de Bottom.

Bottom picture, from left, honorees Cheryl Colleluori, Mary Susan “Mares” Stellfox, Dr. Joy Gates Black, and John Houldin accepting on behalf of Hall of Fame honoree Linda Houldin.