Talent is limitless.

The National Women’s History Museum inaugurates an unique awards evening – the Christine de Pizan Honors Gala – to celebrate the legend of pioneering women of the past by showcasing their  achievements alongside the contributions of their modern inheritors.

The 2011 honorees are: Hedy Lamarr and Marissa Mayer in the fields of telecommunications and technology; Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Cathy Hughes for accomplishments in media and communications; and Admiral Grace Hopper and Helen Greiner for their work in computer technology and digital innovation.

Meryl Streep, the Museum’s spokeswoman, serves as host of the National Women’s History Museum “Christine de Pizan Honors” Gala recently. The event took place at the Amphitheater of the Ronald Reagan Building, in Washington, DC. The well-organized event kick off with a VIP reception/Dinner  followed by the honors ceremony.

NVHM Mission Statement:

The National Women’s History Museum affirms the value of  knowing Women’s History, illuminates the role of women in transforming society and encourages all people, women, to participate in democratic dialogue about our future.

Founded in 1996, NVHM is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c) 3 educational institution dedicated to preserving, interpreting and celebrating the diverse contributions that women have made to our society.

Over 50,000 individuals have supported the Museum, and current members come from across the United States, representing women from all walks of life. The board of directors is national in composition and is being expanded to bring a diversity of perspective and depth of experience to the museum.

As soon as I entered the building, I headed straight into the press check in area. Along the way, I met a guest of a MD representative. She was my buddy for the night! After waiting 40 minutes in the lobby with my new friend,  A line was starting to formed. We then knew. It was time! Due to Meryl’s schedule (she was going to China after the Gala for ‘The Iron Lady’ promotion), the VIP dinner’s reception was first, then the ceremony. Originally, the dinner was last.

And my oh my, was the dinner/food marvelous! No tasteless & boring finger food here! Mushroom ravioli, well cooked hamburgers, exotic delicatessen, cheesy sandwiches, greens, and more that I missed because I was too infatuated with the dessert tray.

I very much enjoyed a few plates. Cannot say no to a delicious tart.

Due to the schedule changes, I had more time getting to know a few board members who were very chatty, cordial over dinner. One board member discussed with my group that their “Goal for the Museum is to raise 300 million mark by 2020.”  The  initial goal date is sometime in 2020!  Before  the event, I was not aware of a potential Women’s Museum in the D.C area until that night.  After hearing about their vision/background and Meryl’s contagious enthusiasm, I was pleased to know that we can, too, help out. Every little thing counts they say, whether it’s spreading the word about their cause & Museum, supporting them by telling a friend, a co-worker to visit their website and donate (Big or Small), or to getting an accomplished & perhaps, the most celebrated actress of the 21st century to be their spokesperson. Every. little. thing. counts.

It was truly an education.  So much information I found out & did not knew, that for 14 years, A group of  brave and passionate people has been trying to not only educate those who are unsure & unaware of the history of the women that paved the way. All is takes is just 1 step. If you can, please read up on NVHM, and support their vision.

Support our women!

Post dinner, thanks to the lovely Jan, I had the chance to take a couple of photos with the Brilliant actress. None other than Meryl Streep herself! I have to say I was a bit nervous, since this was the first time meeting the insanely gifted actress. But, after meeting two first-timers, I quickly became relaxed and jolly. I was happy to be at this event, supporting another great cause in my hometown.  Meeting Meryl was just the icing on the cake.  Words simply cannot describe how humble and patient she is. For a person who had to  be in China in a mere few hours, she was happy to posed with NVHM supporters, donors & sponsors.

After the photo ops and a good hour of chatting with guests and finally meeting the one & only Cathy Hughes, it was time for the Honors Ceremony.  The ceremony started by Meryl Streep giving an introduction to NVHM & how she became involved & what the cause meant to her. She then introduced comic duo, Frangela who provided the entertainment for the evening.

Shortly after, the honorees were introduced, featured in separate video montages,  and accepted their awards. These aforementioned women; Cathy HughesHelen GreinerMarissa Mayer, and the women before them,  Ida B. Wells-Bartnett,  Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, Hedy Lamarr and Christine de Pizan all have in common:

 Vision, Determination & Perseverance.

We can really make a difference.  We truly can! All it takes is just 1 step.  Support our women!

I would like to write a special thank you to the wonderful women & men who were behind this spectacular & well-organized event. Especially the dearest Jan De Plain, You are truly amazing. A great hard-working human being! Thank you so much!

A special message to Joan Bradley Wages, President & CEO of NVHM, Keep fighting the good fight. I am there with you, for you & by you. I am glad there are women like you in the world! You are truly extraordinary.

Thanks to Senator John Warner for being a longtime supporter of women’s equality. We thank you!

To learn more about NVHM, their history & support the museum, visit nwhm.org/. Also visit the online exhibits. They are worth checking out!

– Christine Shepherd

Images by Getty/Wireimage, Christine Shepherd & Amy Sievers