Big Thinking Women Present The 50 @ 50+ Awards - Honors 50 Women In LA

The Big Thinking Women Unlimited honored 50 of "LA's finest" accomplished, prominent women over age 50 at its Inaugural 50 @ 50+ Awards, Nov. 13, at the Millenium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

Dr. Tessa Warschaw, a noted psychotherapist and life coach, is the founder of BTW, and stated that the goal of this event is to honor these women, who "have managed through every stage and age of their lives, to rise like cream, stay their course, and live their lives, and embody their values."

Opening remarks were made by Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, who "wowed the crowd!" Bratton is also the husband Rikki Klieman, one of the featured honorees, who served as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Chief Bill Bratton hugging his wife, lawyer Rikki Klieman

The featured speakers (honorees) each presented their own personal story and journey, with various anecdotes, quotes, and "been there wisdoms." They told about bucking the odds, turning tradition on its head, and "going for gold" in spite of various obstacles, challenges, instead of being assured that the "brass was good enough."

The eloquent panel of speakers included, poet/author Genevieve Whitford; CEO of the YWCA, Faye Washington; and Laura Chick, Los Angeles City Controller. The topics of their inspiring,   dynamic speeches were "Shifting the Aging Perspective, Creating a Legacy, and Becoming a Force."   Their stories were relevant, heartwarming, empowering, and sincere, and explored issues ranging from money to menopause- philanthropy, legacy, and aging gracefully.

Dr. Tessa and Genevieve Bradford, the eldest recipient at age 93

Also, among the list of prestigious   honorees, Faye Washington,  Genevieve Whitford, and Laura Chick, were executives and leaders in the fields of medicine, politics, art, business, and media: Gail Abarbanel. Founder of the Rape treatment Center at UCLA; Dr. Lula Balton, CEO West LA Community Development Corporation; Betsey Berkheimer Clayton, President Berkheimer Clayton, Inc; Hon. Yvonne Burke, Supervisor, Second District, County of Los Angeles; Rickie Byars- Beckwith, Music and Arts Director of Agape Spiritual Center; Louise Cabral, author; Frieda Caplan, Founder, Frieda's, Inc; Karen Caplan, President and CEO, Frieda's , Inc; Dominique Cavelier, Remax Real Estate Agent; Beth Lapides, comedienne; Julia Dean, owner, Julia Dean Photo Workshops; Suzanne Drace, President, Wellness Community, Valley- Ventura; Loraine Despres- Eastlake, author; Mary Flaherty, professional volunteer; Evelyn Freeman, psychologist; Susan Gersh, Chair, Fine Arts Commission of Beverly Hills; Billie Greer, Office of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Iris Grossman, Talent Agent; Gayla Kraetsch Hartsough, President KH Management Consultants; Helen Hernandez, President, Imagen Foundation; Lee Jackman, Community volunteer, non profit executive; Judith James, Producer, Director; Iao Katagiri,Deputy VP , Director of Community Relations for Rand Corporation; Maureen Kindel, Senior Managing Director, GCG Rose & Kindel; Rikki Klieman, television anchor, legal analyst; Dr. Carmela Lecayo, President, CEO , National Association for Hispanic Elderly; Abbe Land, Councilmember, City of of West Hollywood; Lois Lee, Founder, Children of the Night; Dr. Susan Love, President and Medical Director, Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation; Dr. Reri MacLean, Consultant, Executive Coach; Yvonne Mariajimenez, Deputy Director, Neighborhood Legal Services of LA County; Diane Medina, VP Community Relations, KABC; Judy Miller, VP, President and Director, Hilton Humanitarian Prize, Conrad Hilton Foundation; Akiko Morrison, CEO, design and marketing, Hummingbird Flights of Fancy; Rosanne O'Brien, Corporate Vice President, Communications, Northrop Grumman Corporation; Rev. Dr. Della Reese Lett, Singer, actor, entertainer, minister; Laurel Rosen, President-CEO, Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce; Carla Sanger, President and CEO, LA's Best, Better Educated Students for Tomorrow; Carol Schatz, President, CEO, LA Business Improvement Center; Vivian Shimoyama, President, Breakthrough Unlimited; Valerie Sobel, Founder, Andre Sobel River of Life Foundation; Marilyn Solomon, President, the Solomon Consulting Group; Marilyn Tam, Humanitarian, author, Executive Director of US foundation; June Wayne, Artist; Grace Whitcomb, Diversity Manager; Denise Deman Williams, Founder, CEO, Bench International Search, Inc.; Jean McNeil Wyner, Physician's and Community Liaison, UCLA Medical Center, and Orthopedic Hospital.

Dr. Tessa Warshaw and Della Reese

These powerful women, in such varied arenas, filled the elegant ballroom, with an intense, adrenaline-rushed energy- clearly showing how, as women age, they are ever wiser, more vital, vibrant, and able to be innovators, contributors, motivators, and role models.

Tess Warschaw, the vibrant founder who had the insight and passion to launch this event, enthusiastically addressed the audience, and explained her own personal "can-do" positive attitude and philosophy, with this personal reflection: "My mother always taught me to get ready for success. For instance, first I got the book contract, then I learned how to write the book!" She also suggested an ego-boosting tradition she created for herself, in that every year, she pre-orders bouquets of flowers to be delivered, monthly, with a special note of praise and accolades attached, and each month she is pleasantly surprised!

Della Reese and Hon. Yvonne Burke

The Big Thinking Women luncheon celebrated and united top female leaders in our society, with its goal of shifting views on aging, creating legacies for the future generations, and being a recognizable force, politically, socially, and economically.

Dr. Tessa Warshaw and comedian, Beth Lapidus

Today's younger women leaders owe a lot to these predecessors/role models/mentors, who broke ground and were trailblazers, setting the way for future successes. The BTW's vision is to create a community of exceptional, forward thinking women, to pave the way, as we head into the 21st century.

Dr. Tessa Warshaw and Chief Bratton

The success of this event proves that their goal/mission is thriving, going strong, as evident by the full-force strength, richness, elegance of the ladies themselves, both honorees, and guests.

For more information about Big Thinking Women and the 50 @ 50+ Awards visit

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