WED Cleveland Annual Pioneer Awards
The Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Cleveland Pioneer Award recognizes and honors distinguished women who are leaders and innovators across multiple categories with inspiring accomplishments. We consider pioneers in fields including Health, Education, Music, Business, Sports, Art, Fashion, Philanthropy, Beauty, Social Responsibility, Space/Science, Finance, Technology, and Environment/Animals. We seek to recognize women who have used their positions to connect and raise up other women, both locally and globally. The women we honor join a sisterhood of women honored around the world and at the United Nations every November.
We are proud to announce our 2018 WED Cleveland Pioneer Award Recipients:
Renée Deluca Dolan started Contempo Communications in 1996 because she wanted to share her creativity and passion for design. More than 20 years later, Renee still gets tremendous satisfaction helping clients discover how strategic branding and design can help them reach marketing objectives. Renee is the founder of Cleveland Business Connects, a female-focused magazine she published for 10 years, and also founded the CBC Magazine Connectors Choice Awards to honor Clevelanders in the special events profession. Renée’s entrepreneurial spirit and heart for helping women succeed in business prompted her to create the Female Entrepreneur Summit, an annual day of learning for Northeast Ohio business women, now in its 7th year. She’s a distinguished alumna of Kent State University, where she serves on the Business Advisory Board.
Melanie GiaMaria started her own legal practice devoted to family law in 2003. While Melanie was a graduate student at CWRU, earning degrees in both law and social work, she interned at Women's Re-Entry Network, a program of Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry (LMM) that helps participants re-enter society, enhance self-sufficiency and reduce the risk of recidivism. Melanie worked for LMM as a licensed social worker, and later, as their staff attorney until she left in 2014 to devote more time and energy to her growing practice. Melanie is a Top Attorney of North America and an adjunct professor and lecturer for CWRU, School of Law in the Human Trafficking Law Clinic. She values her work as a Guardian ad Litem and provides legal services to primarily juvenile victims of sex trafficking, many of which are participating in the Safe Harbor docket of Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court. Melanie has also contracted with the Jewish Family Service Association of Cleveland to represent their clients in the Strengthening Families Program for over 15 years.
Renee Jones has devoted her career to serving others. In 1998, she started Mastermind Alliance, a weekly empowerment program at the Bishop Cosgrove Center. The program was designed to get homeless individuals off the street, off of public assistance, and back onto a path of dignity and self-sufficiency. By the following year, 78 people had moved through the program from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Seeing the transformative change that came from the investment of a single day a week, Ms. Jones soon envisioned and created a new community center to address the needs of the vulnerable and to empower their restoration and in 2002 the Renee Jones Empowerment Center (RJEC) and The Northeast Ohio Human Trafficking Law Clinic opened its doors. The Center provides holistic restorative services for minor and adult human trafficking and sexual assault victims. She also founded Project Red Cord, a human trafficking awareness program for teens.