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2023 Women of Vision Awards

Many thanks to our presenting sponsor

Please join us for the 43rd annual Women of Vision fundraising event on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at the YWCA Wellness Center located at 1300 S. Main Street. Networking will begin at 4:30 PM and the program will run from 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM. Special thanks to our partners at WSSU for providing the wine and hors d’oeuvres.

We are thrilled to celebrate the 2023 honorees:  Michelle Butt, Dr. Goldie Smith Byrd, Carol Polk, Amatullah Saleem, and Dr. Janet Spriggs.

Register for FREE, by clicking here!

Sponsorship Opportunities Are Available

If you are interested in hosting a group of colleagues and friends, please contact Casie Hammons at to learn more about this opportunity.

All proceeds raised through this event support the local YWCA’s mission programs that empower:
  1. Under-resourced students to be successful in school
  2. Women living with Substance Use Disorder to build successful lives
  3. YWCA members to develop healthy lifestyles, with special emphasis on chronic disease prevention and management

Learn more about our 2023 women of vision honorees

Michelle Butt

People’s Champion Award

In January of 2015, Michelle Butt was named president and general manager of WXII-TV, the Hearst-owned NBC affiliate serving the Greensboro/Winston-Salem/High Point, North Carolina, television market. In 2018, she assumed the same responsibilities for WCWG/The Triad CW with Hearst purchase of the station.
Prior to returning to North Carolina, Michelle served for 11 years as News Director for the Hearst-owned NBC affiliate, WBAL-TV and its news-talk radio station, WBAL-AM News Radio 1090; both in Baltimore, Maryland. During her tenure, the WBAL-TV newsroom earned several prestigious awards, including a Peabody, du Pont-Columbia, National Headliner, Emmy, Walter Cronkite, and Murrow. Before WBAL, she served as WXII-TV's news director, joining the station after a two-year term as assistant news director at WTAE-TV, Hearst's ABC affiliate in Pittsburgh, PA. Before joining Hearst, she served at another North Carolina station, WRAL-TV in Raleigh, as well as holding various newsroom positions at TV stations in the Norfolk, Virginia, market.

A native of southeastern Virginia, Ms. Butt is a graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia and has served on the boards of nonprofit and community agencies as well as been an avid volunteer in every community she’s lived. Some of those position include the Ronald McDonald House and Special Children's School of Winston-Salem, member and Vice-Chair of the board for Special Olympics Maryland, and both treasurer and president of the Hereford High Parent-Teacher Organization. Currently, Michelle serves on the Board of Goodwill Industries of Northwestern North Carolina, where she is part of the team determining the direction of the Mackenzie Bezos Scott gift to GWNWNC. She is also a past-president and board member for Second Harvest Foodbank of Northwest North Carolina, serves as Secretary for the board of ABC of NC, and is on the capital campaign committee for Senior Services of Forsyth County. Michelle is a graduate of the Hearst Management Institute and the National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) Broadcast Leadership Training Program. She currently serves on the executive committee for the NAB’s state organization, the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters.

Michelle is married to Richard, a graduate of both Wake Forest University and NC State University, and is mother to two adult children, Jackson, and Peyton. When not at work, Michelle enjoys time with her family cheering on their various alma maters, long walks and hikes with their rescue pups, reading, and North Carolina’s beaches.

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Goldie Smith-Byrd

Lifetime Health Equity Champion

Dr. Goldie S. Byrd is Professor of Social Sciences and Health Policy and Director of the Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. She is the founder and former Executive Director for the Center for Outreach in Alzheimer’s Aging and Community Health at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and the co-founder of the STEM Center of Excellence for Active Learning. At A&T, she also served as Chair of the Department of Biology, the Nathan F. Simms Endowed Distinguished Professor of Biology, and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Byrd received her PhD in Microbial Genetics from Meharry Medical College, and two undergraduate degrees in professional biology and in education at North Carolina A&T State University. She received post-doctoral training, leadership training and sabbatical training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Harvard University and at Duke University. Dr. Byrd conducts research in the Genetics of Alzheimer’s disease in African Americans. Her genetics and community engagement work is widely published in major journals and book chapters. It has been presented more than 400 times, including in 13 different countries. She and investigators at four other institutions recently won a $46million award to assist in understanding Alzheimer’s in African Americans in the United States and Africans in 9 countries in Africa. A top priority for her is to diversify research and clinical trials in AD as a critical step in achieving health equity and improving health outcomes for African Americans and other underserved groups.

Dr. Byrd has spent much of her career mentoring students and faculty. She has won millions of dollars training students and providing opportunities for them to advance to doctoral degrees in biomedical science and medicine. She has also mentored faculty members and assisted them to advance to promotion and tenure, and to leadership roles in the academy.

Dr. Byrd has received numerous awards for her leadership, teaching, research, student mentoring and service. These include the UNC Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, the Leadership-North Carolina Stanley Frank Leadership Award, the National Black College Hall of Fame Award for Science, Governor Cooper’s honoree as a Healthcare Pioneer for Black History Month, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM), which she received from President Barak Obama, at a White House ceremony. Dr. Byrd is proudest of the prioritization and time spent with her family over the years, including with her six year old granddaughter, Victoria.

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Carol Polk

Women's Empowerment Award

Carol F. Polk is the Founder and Executive Director of Pivot Ministry, Inc., where women change their lives! Pivot exists to empower low-income women for better life and work opportunities. This mission is accomplished through classes in life skills, job readiness, Bible study, as well as a one-on-one trained Christian mentor for each participant. There is also Pivot Plus for Pivot alumnae to sustain the changes they choose to make. The vision of Pivot is that everyone involved will flourish to be all we were created to be in relationships with ourselves, God, others, and our respective resources. Pivot involves hundreds of volunteers, community partners, donors and staff to provide tools to women ready to make significant changes in their lives and “pivot” in a new direction, transforming their lives, regaining their dignity, increasing their sense of self-worth as they build upon their strengths, gifts and talents. This combination of mission, vision, community connections, and strengths-based development is consistent with Carol’s values and how she lives her life: doing her best, acting with integrity, building bridges for others, and giving glory to God.

A Winston-Salem resident since 1983, Carol has worn many professional hats in her career in leadership, entrepreneurial, and C-level positions across multiple industries, including financial services, consumer goods, global sourcing/sales, computer hardware, and legal services. Before starting Pivot, she served 9 years in her last position as Chief Administrative Officer with the law firm of Bell, Davis & Pitt.

In late 2015 Carol moved to the faith-based nonprofit sector to start Pivot Ministry, first under the umbrella of Ardmore Baptist Church and now a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This ministry captures her passion for empowering others and capitalizes on her management career, her Wake Forest MBA, as well as her personal life experiences. Carol grew up in one of the 20 poorest counties in America, once taught GED math classes, mentored with Homeless But Not Helpless, took into her home a teen dropout, and frequently nurtured many individuals through job and career changes. Upon reviewing Carol’s professional and personal background, a hiring team member said, “I’ve always known that God prepares us for what He wants us to do, but I’ve never seen it on paper.” Through Pivot, Carol is doing what she is called and prepared to do.

Carol treasures her family - a sister, a son, a daughter-in-law, and two grandsons. Music is an essential part of her life, singing in her church choir and playing in their orchestra. Post-COVID, both travel and dinner/movie-with-friends will return as regular parts of her life. She will continue to invest herself in others, building bridges and providing tools to empower.

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Amatullah Saleem

Community Enrichment Champion

I was born in Winston-Salem, NC, moved to Washington, DC with my grandmother around age 7, and finally, to New York City with my mom at age 12. My teenage exposure to the arts was provided by a family friend who worked at the famous Apollo Theatre in New York City. I saw the top black performing artists of that time: Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, Nina Simone, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and others, and later I danced in some of their musical variety shows. A feature film entitled, “Cabin in the Sky”, was shown at the Apollo theatre with the Katherine Dunham Dancers. It was the first time I realized that dancing was a profession that could lead to a career. For three years, I studied at the Katherine Dunham School of Dance and Theatre Cultural Arts in New York City under the direction of Madame Syvilla Fort. In 1959, I joined two friends and went to Europe, where I worked in television, theatres Galas, and night clubs for over ten years before returning to New York City, partially because of the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1971, I was contracted by the Winston-Salem City Recreation Department as a Dance/Music Specialist. I produced the city-wide African Folk Arts Festival for six years and was Co-founder and Artistic Director of the regional dance group, Otesha Dance and Music Ensemble. I later returned to New York City and worked with the Babatunde Olatunji African Dance Troupe; wrote and produced the children’s musical, “A Reflection of the Harlem Renaissance” for Muhammad University of Islam. I worked with the NYC Recreation Department; opened the Pyramid Dance Studio in Soho-East, and taught dance and storytelling in New York Public schools and colleges, including the Hudson Guild/Goddard-Riverside Community Center and Henry Street Settlement. In 1989, I earned a degree in Dance Studies at Empire State College, and began my second career as a storyteller for several years. I am a member of the African Folk Heritage Circle, Inc. and the Pearls of Wisdom Storytellers, Inc. In 2005, I represented Creativity and Aging in America for the NEA Mini-Conference at the White House in Washington, DC

I retired to Winston Salem in 2008 and served as President of the Historic Happy Hill Neighborhood Association from 2016 to 2022. Grants were received from the North Carolina School of the Arts through the Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts for the Happy Hill Community Children’s Arts Programs. I have one daughter, Opal Gordon, who was one of the Deaf Actresses in the 2018 New York “Shakespeare in the Park”, and I have one granddaughter, Osirah. I am grateful to Allah/God for the unique dance training and cultural exposure I received at the Katherine Dunham School, and the spiritual knowledge I received from the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad that allowed me to follow the path to live my life as a performing artist and travel extensively to experience other cultures.

I'd like to make a gift in support of Amatullah

Janet Spriggs

Education Trailblazer Award

Dr. Janet N. Spriggs became the seventh President of Forsyth Technical Community College on January 1, 2019. Prior to joining Forsyth Tech, she served as Chief Operating Officer for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and as a Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Carteret Community College. Dr. Spriggs has worked within the North Carolina Community College System since 1996, giving her almost 3 decades of experience as a community college leader.

Dr. Spriggs has the special honor of having been named an Aspen Presidential Fellow two times by the Aspen Institute’s Community College Excellence Program. She was one of 40 leaders selected from across the nation as a 2018-2019 Aspen Rising Presidential Fellow and in 2020, she was named one of 25 new community college presidents from across the nation selected as a member of the inaugural cohort of the Aspen New Presidents Fellowship.

Dr. Spriggs earned her doctorate in higher education administration from Northeastern University in 2018. Her passion is in the power of education to change lives and the vital role community colleges play as catalysts for equity, and workforce and economic development. As a student-centered visionary, Dr. Spriggs is dedicated to fostering high quality learning, improving completion, advancing equity of success for all students, and expanding post-graduation success. In addition to her doctorate, she also holds a master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University and a bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University.

A native of North Carolina, Dr. Spriggs grew up in Milton, NC and is proud to be a former community college student, having attended two North Carolina community colleges: Rockingham Community College and Durham Technical Community College. “I have witnessed countless life-changing moments that illustrate the power of education to transform lives,” says Dr. Spriggs, “and as a low-income, first-generation student, education changed my life. As a leader, I believe leaders are more effective when they lead from within rather than from above and by influence instead of authority. I am committed to a culture of belonging where inclusion is weaved into the fabric of who we are.”

Dr. Spriggs is currently serving a three-year term on the Association of Community College’s Student Success Commission and a three-year term as the Vice President for Membership for the American Association of Women in Community Colleges. Additionally, Dr. Spriggs serves on the JFF Policy Leadership Trust, as a member of the Advisory Board for the Belk Center at North Carolina State University, a Board Member for the Editorial Board for the New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education Journal, and as a board member for Greater Winston-Salem, Inc., the Winston-Salem Alliance, and the United Way of Forsyth County.

She has been married to her husband, Doug, for over 35 years. In her spare time, she loves to play golf and pickleball, and she unwinds by crocheting or reading a good book. Most importantly, Dr. Spriggs and Doug love nothing more than spending time with their five children and five grandchildren.

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Thank you to our 2023 Women of Vision Sponsors