Lavonta Williams Receives Women in Municipal Government Leadership Award
Austin, Texas - Councilmember Lavonta Williams of Wichita, Kan. was selected as the 2014 recipient of the Women in Municipal Government (WIMG) Leadership Award at the group's luncheon and membership meeting Friday, Nov. 21, at the National League of Cities (NLC) Congress of Cities in Austin, Texas.
WIMG, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2014, presents the annual award to female elected officials who show unique and outstanding leadership in local government, and who serve as mentors for future female leaders.
Williams was appointed to the Wichita City Council in 2007, and was elected by her district in 2009. She is the first woman elected from her district and the first African American woman serving in the vice mayor position. Prior to her time in office, Williams spent 35 years as a classroom educator and afterschool program director in for the Wichita Public Schools.
She also serves as chair of NLC's Community and Economic Development Steering Committee, and previously served on the 15-member nominating committee that selects the organization's officers. In addition, she serves as secretary on the NLC National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO) constituency group.
Other finalists for the 2014 Leadership Award included:
- Gina Cunningham, mayor, City of Woodridge, Ill.
- Betsy Crossley, mayor, City of Brentwood, Tenn.
- Alfred Mae Drakeford, councilmember, City of Camden, S.C.
- Rae A. Sinor, councilmember, City of Deer Park, Texas
Laura Huffman, Texas state director of the Nature Conservancy, provided keynote remarks at the luncheon. Huffman leads the Conservancy's North American Urban Conservation program and has advocated for conservation efforts on the local, state and national levels. In addition to her work with the Nature Conservancy, Huffman has served more than 20 years in public service, including serving as deputy city manager for the city of San Marcos and assistant city manager for the city of Austin, Texas.
Sponsors of the 2014 WIMG Leadership Award Luncheon are Black & Veatch, Comcast, ICMA-RC, Southwest Airlines and Wells Fargo. The WIMG Leadership Award Honorary Chair is Mary Brown, councilwoman, Gary, Ind. and WIMG immediate past president.
Judges for this year's WIMG Leadership Award are:
- Laura R. Jaramillo, SVP/community development manager, southwest region, Wells Fargo Government and Community Relations Group
- Preston V. Lee, Jr., senior director, Industry Relations, Single Family Strategy and Business Management, Freddie Mac
- David Park, Financial Planning Manager, ICMA-RC
- Clinton Robinson, Associate Vice President, Black & Veatch Corporation
WIMG is a constituency group of the National League of Cities (NLC). It was formed in 1974 to serve as a forum for communication and networking among women municipal officials and their colleagues interested in addressing women's issues. It strives to raise awareness about issues of concern to women and encourages women to seek public office in their communities.
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.
The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.