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Award Ceremony for Encouraging Women In Society

Encouraging Women in Our Society, 2018


Women are the teachers and protectors, scientists and supports, healers and intellects.  They labor quietly, and steadily bring about those very changes they wish to see – in neighborhoods, communities, cities, nations, and in the world around them.  These women are architects and builders, builders of a brighter and more remarkable tomorrow.


This is the statement which defined the Emerald Hills Institute 2018 Encouraging Women in Our Society Awards on May 12th this year.  Three women in Utah who are champions of social justice and architects of that remarkable tomorrow, were selected to receive recognition for their tireless service and to honor all the women who work to be the change they wish to see in the world.  In attendance were friends, family, fans, and supporters, and special guests Pamela Atkinson, advisor to Governor Gary Herbert and keynote speaker, and her honor Karen Hale, Salt Lake County Deputy Mayor of Community and External Affairs, who read the Salt Lake County Mayor’s Office Official Proclamation commemorating the event.


An English politician was campaigning (Ms. Atkinson shared), and at the close of his speech declared, “I was born a proud Englishman, I am proud to live as an Englishman, and I shall die a proud Englishman!”  Over the cheering and from the far back of the crowded room, the voice of a lone Scotsman carried over the crowd – “Ach, man, have ye no ambition?”


This started the humorous, insightful, and encouraging comments of Ms. Pamela Atkinson, champion of underserved populations throughout Utah and Governor Herbert’s special advisor on homelessness.  She is a powerhouse of unflinching energy and a remarkable woman.  “Women help men, do as much as men, and – dare I say it – even do some things better than men.”  Women have done so very much, she stated, but “we must have the ambition to do still more.”


Her honor Karen Hale represented the Mayor’s office, and read the beautiful proclamation issued to recognize the event.  “I live for things like this!” she shared, excited to celebrate people who continue to make a real difference in our community.


Emerald Hills Institute is a Utah-based community celebration and service organization, dedicated to encouraging members of our community as we unite in making our society better and happier now, as well as building a better tomorrow.  “We aim to recognize women who really make a difference,” said Zeynep Karipardic, outreach coordinator for the Institute.


The three women honored were Samira Harnish, Janet Healy, and Muriel Longstaff.


Samira Harnish is Founder and Executive Director of Women of the World, or WoW, which works tirelessly to encourage strong women succeed worldwide.  Samira is originally from Iraq, and her own struggle against bigotry in the workplace as an accomplished engineer fuels her resolve.  Working especially with refugees, her foundation supports “women of all nations achieve self-reliance, a voice in the community, and empowering economic success.”  A proud wife, mother, and grandmother, she tirelessly serves her community education young women in the sciences, assisting the elderly, and interpreting in Arabic.


Janet Healy is Director of Community and Volunteer Relations for Catholic Community Services of Utah.  A native of Salt Lake City, she is wife to her supportive husband, mother to her incredible children, and grandmother to her beautiful grandchildren.  Throughout her life she has been a tireless volunteer in social and church organizations, serving countless hours in civilian and military communities, women’s groups, hospitals, orphanages, and in continuously finding new opportunities to serve.


Muriel Longstaff, although also a Utah native, spent her formative years with her family in the Middle East where she was immersed in a remarkable melting pot of cultures.  She developed a deep love for the wonderful diversity of food, culture, and especially the goodness found in varying faiths.  She served as a fulltime volunteer minister for her own church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or “Mormons”), and on her return to college life founded Mormons4Muslims to confront and heal what she saw as the inexcusable spread of Islamaphobia.  “There is so much more power,” she says, in uniting in the fight for goodness.


Drawn from a range of backgrounds and life experience, these three women represent the ambition of wonderful and remarkable people doing as Gandhi’s immortal words encouraged – “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”


Women are the quiet architects of tomorrow, and Emerald Hills Institute is proud to encourage the builders of our future.