The Arizona Women’s Education & Employment Luncheon Wrap-up

By Lynette Carrington

The Arizona Women’s Education & Employment Luncheon Wrap-up

The Arizona Women’s Education and Employment Luncheon Raised Funds and Awareness

Faces of Success Honor Three Successful Women Who have Persevered

Photos by Ben Arnold Photography

The Arizona Women’s Education and Employment (AWEE) Luncheon took place on a beautiful and breezy afternoon at the JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa on Wednesday, Nov. 16 that honored three very different women for their accomplishments, perseverance and ability to overcome a variety of obstacles with the assistance and resources of AWEE. was proud to be in attendance, lending its support to such a worthy cause.

AWEE 'Faces of Success' Luncheon Honorees (L-R) Keanna Curry, Amanda Howard and Tracey Latham

3TV news anchor Nicole Crites, KTAR news anchor Jim Sharpe and Black, Starr & Frost Chairman and CEO Alfredo J. Molina co-emceed the luncheon. Like the last several years, a fun component of the luncheon returned when a prize giveaway themed like the game show, “Let’s Make a Deal” had guests rummaging through their purses and pockets looking for requested items. Some of the random things that Crites, Sharpe and Molina were looking for included a wine bottle opener, a green tea bag and a dog biscuit. The first guest to come forward with the requested item won a prize. Each year, luncheon guests look forward to hearing what things the hosts might be looking for from people’s personal stash of belongings.

The three women honored during the luncheon included Tracey Latham, Amanda Howard and Keanna Curry. The three women could not have had different stories and they all came from various backgrounds. All three women, again, found themselves in very challenging positions, yet were able to draw on the support system, encouragement and resources offered to them through AWEE. Their stories were touching and inspirational.

Phillis Dumond, Winner of Some Fun Giveaway Items with Black, Starr & Frost Chairman and CEO, Alfredo J. Molina

The 90-minute luncheon also featured more than nearly two dozen giveaways and raffle prizes including a Molina Fine Jewelers-donated 18 carat white gold and diamond bracelet valued at more than $7,800. The lucky winner of the bracelet, Phyllis Dumond beamed with excitement as she came up to claim her exquisite bracelet. Raffle gift baskets included everything from a L’Auberge Sedona getaway and a night in an Arizona Diamondbacks suite, to a stay at the Passalacqua Winery in California, spa services, pampering items and much more.

Vases for the table centerpieces were created by Paul McCartney’s daughter, Heather, and donated by an anonymous donor. The beautiful potted floral centerpieces were available for a flat fee purchase during the luncheon.

2016 Faces of Success Honored Included:

  • Keanna Curry came to AWEE in 2015 as a single mother of three dependent children, unemployed, homeless and a recovering meth addict with a 2008 felony conviction. She lacked transportation, skills and job-search know-how. She was guided through an employment and training plan that included career direction; workshops for interviewing, resumes, job-search techniques and networking; mentoring, job coaching and supportive services. And, she was referred to a Valley nonprofit for transitional housing. Now employed fulltime, she is a Certified Peer Support Specialist and was a runner-up as AWEE’s 2016 nominee for the Soroptimist International of Phoenix’s Live Your Dream Award.
  • Amanda Howard battled a series of financial setbacks that reached their peak in 2014 when she received a 30-day notice of foreclosure for the house she and ex-husband bought in Anthem in 2008. They had fallen behind in payments because of car breakdowns and rising medical bills for her son’s ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder and her daughter’s physical therapy for a gymnastics injury. Her husband’s health insurance didn’t cover their children’s needs. While attending a foreclosure prevention resources fair in May 2014, she was introduced to AWEE where she learned how to target her resume, search for the right jobs and interview, all while building her self-confidence. Her break came from a job lead at the Pacific Southwest Minority Supplier Development Council where, it turns out, she was the first and only interview before being hired for a job she loves at a company with solid health insurance. The house is no longer in foreclosure.
  • Tracey Latham, who spent years in corporate leadership in an industry where you don’t find many women – advanced manufacturing. Manufacturing and the assembly of printed circuit boards – parts no bigger than a fleck of pepper – are her passion. At the 2015 Faces of Success Luncheon, Tracey told about her decision, as an executive of another company, to start her own. It was a story without an ending. Until this year. She knew her industry, operations and sales, but needed help raising capital and with financial projections. She worked with Arizona Women’s Education and Entrepreneur Center (AWEEc) for assistance to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for advanced tech manufacturing and assembly. She also had help building her network and navigating some of the technical areas such as permits and zoning. Today, she has a team of like-minded professionals, generated business in four states and recently secured a large SBA-guaranteed loan to purchase equipment that will meet the needs of this industry for today and tomorrow.
  • About Arizona Women’s Education and Employment (AWEE)

    AWEE has been transforming the lives of Arizonans into “faces of success” for more than 35 years. Since our inception, we have helped create successful beginnings and renewed hope for more than 200,000 women, men and young adults. Gone are the days of simply moving people off welfare. Today, the nonprofit AWEE is Arizona’s preeminent workforce development organization, offering a diverse range of evidence-based training and support services throughout Maricopa County. For more information, visit or call (602) 223-4333.