Outstanding Women Leaders (OWL) Program

The Outstanding Women Leaders program holds an annual event to honor Winston-Salem’s outstanding women leaders. The event is the "brainchild" of the former Mayor Pro Tem Vivian H. Burke to honor trailblazing women in our community. The Outstanding Women Leaders program has previously recognized 154 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 believed 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.

View information about the Outstanding Women Leaders (OWL) Committee.

2020 Honorees

The OWL committee recognized the 2020 slate of outstanding women leaders throughout 2019 during City Council meetings. 

  • Lawren Desai, Executive Director and Curator – A/perture Cinema
  • Suzanne Danhauer, Associate Professor and clinical health psychologist in the Social Sciences and Health Policy department at Wake Forest Baptist Health
  • Dr. Pamela Oliver, Executive Vice President at Novant Health and President of the Novant Health Physician Network
  • Cathy Pace, President and CEO of Allegacy Federal Credit Union
  •  Mari Jo Turner, Executive Director of the Hispanic League
  • Talitha Vickers, main anchor at WXII 12 News
  • Jacinta White, President and CEO of Deeper Dive Consulting, Poet and Writer

OWL Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to the 2019 recipient Nicole Iturbide.

2019 OWL scholarship recipient Nicole Iturbide

Congratulations to the 2020 recipient Nyazia Greene.

The OWL Program Committee will award a $500 Outstanding Women Leaders Scholarship to an outstanding female high school senior from the Winston-Salem (WS) / Forsyth County (FC) School System. The OWL Scholarship was established in 2017 to honor the former 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, and 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

2021 Scholarship Application will be available October 2020