East Tennessee Suffragist and Change Leader Memorialized in Award
Knoxville, TN – The Emmy, the Oscar, the Tony, and now the Lizzie. The first annual Lizzie Crozier French Women’s Leadership Award will be presented on June 15th at the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit. The award is announced today, May 7th, on the 161st birthday of the East Tennessee suffragist, whose image can be found on the Tennessee Woman’s Suffrage Memorial on Knoxville’s Market Square.
According to Sharon Hannum, co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Summit, “Lizzie Crozier French was a woman who was always trying to make things better for women, always speaking up, always ready to make change when change needed to be made.”
Lizzie French aggressively advocated for women to be admitted to the University of Tennessee, with obvious success. She was the first woman to address the Knoxville City Council, the Tennessee General Assembly, and the Tennessee Bar Association. Ever an advocate for women, even venturing a failed bid as the first woman to run for Knoxville City Council, French was also a strong advocate for local culture. She founded the now-renowned Ossoli Circle, the Writers’ Club of Knoxville; and the Woman’s Educational and Industrial Union. French was also a charter member of the Knoxville Art Museum and the Knoxville Lyceum.
“Lizzie was such a role model for women, for how we should embrace change and always strive to improve our circumstances,” said Wendy Pitts Reeves, the Summit’s other co-chair. “By creating this annual award, we are giving women an opportunity to celebrate those principles and their value.”
Criteria for the Lizzie Crozier French Women’s Leadership Award are that the recipient will be a woman who, like the award’s namesake, best demonstrates the following leadership characteristics.
1. An outspoken leader who publicly supports the advancement of women.
2. Demonstrates unwavering courage in the face of difficulty.
3. Works boldly and consistently towards positive and lasting change
4. Supports and empowers other women through her work.
This year’s recipient will be announced June 15th at the East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit: “Live. Learn. Lead.” at the Airport Hilton. Headlining the event at the Airport Hilton is internationally recognized keynote speaker Martha Mertz, founder of ATHENA International and author of Becoming ATHENA: Eight Principles of Enlightened Leadership.
The Summit, sponsored by WBIR-TV and B97.5, is an updated presentation of the East Tennessee Regional Economic Summit for Women held for the past five years. It is an initiative of the Women’s Economic Council Foundation, and is being co-chaired by Wendy Pitts Reeves and Sharon Hannum. More information about the summit is available at https://easttnwomensls.wordpress.com or on Facebook at East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit or Twitter @EastTNWomenLead.