It’s not for nothing that they’ve earned the description, “inspirational.”
The 12 recipients of the 2011 Inspirational Irish Women awards are really quite remarkable, accomplished people, coming from all walks of life—the judiciary, law enforcement, music, religious orders, fire and rescue, nursing, business, broadcasting and more.
The honorees were:
- Sister Christine McCann
- Margaret Reyes
- The Honorable Pamela Pryor Dembe
- Kathy Fanning
- Anne McDade Keyser Hill
- Mary Ann McGinley, Ph.D., R.N.
- Kathy O’Connell
- Carmel Boyce
- Karen Boyce McCollum
- Christine M. Coulter
- Liz Crehan Anderson
- Sister Peg Hynes, S.S.J.
For all their accomplishments, they remain quite humble—and more, as they accepted their awards in a special ceremony Sunday afternoon at the Philadelphia Irish Center, all credited the key people in their lives who helped guide them along the paths they ultimately followed.
Speaking of her parents Barney and 2011 honoree Carmel Boyce, communications executive and singer Karen Boyce McCollum thanked her parents for “bringing us up in a household where growing up Irish was a blessing and the greatest gift they could give.”
Businesswoman Anne McDade Keyser Hill, her voice quavering just a bit, thanked her husband Joe for his loving support. (And he blew a kiss back at her.) But she also recalled the strong influence of her father in her life: “My dad, when I was 14 or 15 years old, took me aside and he said, ‘Sis’—he called me ‘Sis’—don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t do what you want in your life because you’re a girl.”
The highly regarded nurse leader Mary Ann McGinley spoke lovingly of her own parents and credited them for setting a good example: “My dad clearly inherited the Irish talent of telling stories. My mom was a ‘Type E’ personality—everything for everybody each and every day.”
And, finally, WXPN Kids Corner host Kathy O’Connell recalled one exceptional woman in her life: “I want to dedicate this award to my grandmother, who became a widow 10 seconds before the Depression hit.”
Attending the event were more than 400 family members, friends and co-workers who attended the ceremony, who cheered and applauded as each woman (and representatives of two women who were honored posthumously, social activist Sister Peg Hynes and musician Liz Crehan Anderson) accepted her award. They also had a chance to admire the striking black-and-white portraits of the honorees, created by photographer Brian Mengini and commissioned by the Inspirational Irish Women committee.
In addition to honoring women of high achievement, the awards program benefited the Philadelphia Irish Center.
We’ve assembled an extensive photo essay from the day. We also present video highlights.