November 11, 2016
6:30pm – 10:00pm
Hotel Monaco Alexandria
480 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314

To purchase tickets or sponsorship

Watch the 2016 Event Video

2014 Event Video

EmPOWER 2016 Event Co-Chairs

Carol Barbe sq    Linda Rauner
Carol Barbe                              Linda Rauner


Mistress of Ceremonies

headshotDr. Katy is an associate veterinarian at the Belle Haven Animal Medical Centre, as well as host and executive producer of “The Pet Show with Dr. Katy” on Washington DC’s News Channel 8. She’s reports on animal health topics for Washington DC’s All News Radio Station, WTOP News as well as on camera for WJLA ABC 7 News.  She is the Medical Director of Pet Health for Stop Aging Now, Medical Director of Pet Health for BioStem Logics and the Proprietor of KJN Pet Marketing.  She has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, Fox and Friends, The Meredith Vieira Show, CNBC’s PowerPitch, HuffPost Live, to name a few, and is the expert for the second season of the popular show “Unlikely Animal Friends” to air this spring on NatGeo Wild.  She is a frequent contributor to HuffPost Pets, BarkPost and PetMD and you can also read “Ask Dr. Katy” quarterly in the Virginia-Maryland-DC Dog Magazine, or online.  Dr. Katy has been a small animal veterinarian for 15 years, and is a proud graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine.  In her spare time she is an avid traveler, athlete, wife, rescue proponent, and proud mom to three four-leggers and two two-leggers.

Master of Ceremonies

ryanraunerRyan Rauner is the Principal and Founder of the Rauner Group, a commercial real estate firm based in Falls Church, Virginia. As a native of Northern Virginia, Ryan has been serving the community since 2008, helping individuals and companies find real estate to meet their business needs.

Outside of the Rauner Group, Ryan has spent time pursing his passion of serving others and leading by example. Since 2009 he has been involved in, and led, a number of local philanthropic, volunteer, and political organizations. He believes that by bringing people together, lifting them up and encouraging them to do the same, a positive change can come about the world.

Ryan is a founding member of the Northern Virginia Community Foundation’s Future Fund, a local giving circle of 20, 30, and 40-somethings that has raised over a quarter of a million dollars since its inception in 2011, all of which has gone to support local organizations and their mission.  From 2013-2015, Ryan served as chair of the Young Executive Society at the Tower Club in Tysons Corner and was presented with the Future Leader Award for his service and contributions to the Club.

Ryan has served on a number of local boards including: Five Talents, an organization that gives women and men the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty by accessing key financial services, and the Equal Footing Foundation, which has been established to foster youth education and development.  He currently serves on the board of Final Salute whose mission is to provide homeless female veterans with safe and suitable housing.

He was the top fundraiser for the Arts for Autism Gala in 2014, co-chaired the 10th annual Vision Walk for the Foundation Fighting Blindness in 2015 and volunteers on Saturday mornings with the Tenley Achievement Program, a program that provides mentorship to at–risk youths in the DC metro area.

Politically, he serves on the board of the Northern Virginia Republican Business Forum and is a founding member and board member of NextGenGOP, a statewide organization whose mission is to unite the ideals of fiscal responsibility with open-minded and inclusive positions on social policies. In 2016, Ryan was elected as a representative of the 11th district to the State Central Committee, the governing board of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Ryan graduated cum laude from Villanova University with degrees in Political Science and Sociology.

Host Committee

Lorna Campbell Clarke
Ashley Boalch Darby
Meghan C Enriquez
Sean Foster
Christin Gardner Lecker
Eve Monica
Mali Phonpadith
Jana Sedlakova
Jean Titus
Souny West
Debi Jo Wheatley
Katie Barchas Wilson
Earl Wyatt


Transformation Sponsor ($30,000)

Inspiration Sponsor ($15,000)


KM Warrior Sponsor ($10,000)

Courage Sponsor ($5,000)


Beauty Sponsor ($2,500)


Anniversary Sponsor ($1,500)




Floral Sponsor


Reception Sponsor


Printing Sponsor


Photography Sponsor




BEAUTY AWARD, Julie Nguyen


Julie Nguyen is the Founder and CEO of Lash Moi, a unique salon specializing in permanent cosmetic services including Microblading/ Microstroking, Permanent Eyeliner, Lip Pigmentation, Scalp Micropigmentation and Individual Eyelash Extensions. Julie is a highly experienced artist and specializes in Microblading for the creation of natural looking eyebrows. Together, Julie and her team perform over 12,000 individual services annually. Julie has clients nationwide that include A-list celebrities and high profile business leaders and politicians. Julie has been recognized nationally by the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals for maintaining the highest quality standards and code of ethics in the industry as well as holding an Advanced Certification from Xtreme Lashes in the art of eyelash extensions. She is a frequent guest speaker on television stations such as WUSA9 and FOX45 and featured in major publications like Your Health Magazine as an authority in her field. Julie and her Lash Moi Team are also very proud sponsors and beauty affiliates for organizations such as Miss Maryland USA, Miss Teen USA, Miss DC USA and the Washington Redskins cheerleaders.

Julies passion for instilling confidence through beauty and her ferocious appetite for learning, teaching and helping others is what motivated her to extend her reach and Lash Moi’s impact. After donating countless hours of services to cancer survivors and victims of premature hair loss, she realized that performing permanent/ semi permanent cosmetic tattooing was another way to instill confidence and pride in clients that needed it the most ! Julie’s superior artistic talent with these specialized services keep her in high demand helping those affected by Chemotherapy, Premature Hair Loss and Alopecia Areata.  She currently works with The Tiger Lily Foundation to broaden awareness and regularly organizes fundraising events.


mikki-taylor-headshotMikki Taylor is the quintessential authority on all matters regarding beauty.  From A-list celebrities and world-renowned cover models, to women-in-the-know, Mikki influences all types of women with her vision of beauty and style.  She has devoted a lifetime to helping women manage their inner and outer beauty and inspiring them to own their lives to the fullest.

For over 30 years, Taylor served as ESSENCE Magazine’s groundbreaking Beauty & Cover Director, and is now Editor-at-Large for the publication.  In addition, she is the Founder and President of Mikki Taylor Enterprises, LLC, which serves as a holding company for a number of vertical businesses, including Satin Doll Productions, a full-service image building and consulting division, and MT Communications, a strategic communications and branding company.  Most recently, she was national spokesperson for AMBI Skincare, a division of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Company.

A highly sought-after speaker, Taylor’s most recent speaking engagements include several high-profile annual events, including The ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood Awards, Disneys Dreamers Academywith Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine, Gospel Goes To Hollywood Awards, The 2014 WNBA & WNBPA Player Orientation, 2013 WNBA Power Tour, the Girls Who Rule the World Mentoring Weekend presented by the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation, BET’s Leading Women Defined Summit, the  Women Helping Women breakfast fundraiser presented by Dress for Success Worldwide, Cathie Black’s Women in Leadership Conference, Texas Womens Empowerment Conference, Southwestern Christian College Lectureship, Leading Ladies New Jersey Performing Arts Center, USO, Odyssey Network and the Power Conference, the largest gathering of women entrepreneurs in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Taylor has offered beauty and style advice through all types of media, including broadcast, digital and of course, print outlets, which culminated in her wildly successful book, Self-Seduction: Your Ultimate Path to Inner and Outer Beauty (Ballantine Books/One World).  This triumph left readers craving more, therefore the sequel, Commander-in-Chic: Every Womans Guide to Managing Her Style Like a First Lady(Atria Books/Simon & Schuster), hit store shelves in the Fall of 2011, becoming an instant hit among women nationwide.  Inspired firsthand by Michelle Obama’s “classic with a twist” fashion sense and confident approach to life, the book is a lifestyle resource guide for the everyday woman.

Taylor has been featured on many television outlets, including: The Insider, Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, The View, Steve Harvey Show, TODAY, Weekend Today, NBC Nightly News, EXTRA, Inside Edition, E! Entertainment Television, CNN, TV Guide Channel, VH1, WE-TV, CBS 2 Morning News, the Style Network, The Oprah Winfrey Show, BET, and TV One. Viewers also received a weekly dose of Taylor’s positive influence on VH1’s highest rated debut series Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School, which premiered to more than five million viewers. Each week, Taylor served as the voice of reason and compassion as she imparted to the women honest, valuable information, insight and tips to help the contestants—and the women who watched the show—live a more productive, pride-filled life. She also served as the host of the TV One series Makeover Manor.

One of Taylor’s most treasured experiences was a trip to South Africa, at the special invitation of Oprah Winfrey, where she served as an instructor to 149 girls ages 12-14, at the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls as part of its Arts Workshop 2007. Taylor taught a course called Celebrating Your Unique Beauty & Style, a three-part workshop that addressed practical and timeless elements of social graces and the essential basics of inner and outer beauty, and Your Best Shot, a session that taught the skills to insure a phenomenal photograph.

Mikki taylor is a recipient of numerous rewards for outstanding service including, among them the Black Retail Action Group (BRAG) Business Achievement Award acknowledging those who have penetrated and embraced the world of beauty in a significant way both in front of and behind the scenes; she’s a four-time recipient of the Ceba Award, a former industry award acknowledging excellence in African-American media, the winner of the Associated Black Charities Image Makers Award, the Emerge Fashion Innovator’s Award, Columbia College Chicago 2013 Fashion Visionary Award, Black Street Lifetime of Greatness Award, ESSENCE Magazine’s Defining Excellence Award and various civic awards and citations in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the empowerment of women around the world.


Special Guest


CathyBackusCathy Backus, Founder and President of Send Me On Vacation, a 501(C)(3) charity, had the vision of addressing the concept of emotional healing for survivors who had recently undergone treatment for breast cancer. She brought together travel industry professionals to contribute accommodations, airlines, cruises, and dollars to change the lives of survivors through the concept of providing healing vacations.
Mrs. Backus is Vice President of VacationGuard, a travel insurance company based in Bellevue, Washington. Wherever her business takes her, she takes SMOV along for the ride in recruiting more and more sponsors to provide more vacations and wellness experiences to survivors.

Cathy resides in Southern California and Nevada. Through her efforts, last year alone, Send Me On Vacation raised 100% of all donations through events in Canada, Mexico and the United States. These events raised sufficient funds to send over 75 survivors on the vacation of their dreams.

Because of her endeavors, Send Me On Vacation has awarded richly-deserved vacations to women throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada and Bermuda.

Not only has Cathy brought this homegrown charity to national prominence in the last three years, but she has engaged in many other philanthropic endeavors as well….from founding a “collegeship” program for Girls Inc. in Harlem, New York providing the opportunity for smart, bold and strong inner-city girls to go away to college …. to raising funds to support a medical missions in the Bahamas and purchasing a mammogram machine for the residents of Abaco, Bahamas. Her energy is boundless and her mind is creative in coming up with tremendous fundraising ideas to support her charitable dreams.

Two years ago Cathy’s launched a wellness program for survivors called A Mermaids Journey. Survivors attend a weeklong program of guided meditation and learn to “Let Go” of the fear and anger that battling breast cancer brings.

Mrs. Backus has brought her synergistic charm to engage many volunteers to join in the cause. These include famous vocalists, top chefs, politicians, business owners, and community leaders. The beauty of Cathy is that she has the ability to energize people from every walk of life throughout North America and truly is a woman to be watched in 2017.

KM WARRIOR AWARD, Mary Ann Wasil (In Memoriam)


Mary Ann Wasil was the inspirational founder, president and CEO of the non-profit The Get In Touch Foundation. As a breast cancer survivor and health activist since 2004, she constantly found humor in the face of challenge. Spurred by this optimistic outlook and her passionate commitment to providing free global breast health education for girls, Wasil established The Get In Touch Foundation. The cornerstone mission, the Girls’ Program and Daisy Wheel, is an unparalleled breast health initiative educating girls in grades 5-12 on the importance of and instruction for breast self-exams. Since its inception in 2009, Wasil guided the Girls’ Program to implementation in each of the 50 states, Washington, D.C. and 34 additional countries, and most recently, legislation in has been passed requiring breast health education be implemented in all CT public schools in Wasil’s memory. Wasil has served as the keynote speaker at various school nursing conferences around the world, and has been honored as the winner of Maria Shriver’s California Women’s Conference publishing contest for her memoir, “A Diary of Healing: My Intense and Meaningful Life with Cancer.” Despite being diagnosed with a metastatic relapse of breast cancer in May 2011, Wasil remained vigilant in her efforts to change the world one girl at a time until her passing on April 15, 2016. Wasil is a former Connecticut police officer and actress, having spent nearly 10 years on the soap opera “All My Children,” and her three children, Betsy, Mary, and Eddy are now carrying on her life giving mission and legacy.



Sundial Brands founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis has a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation that traces back to his family’s roots in Africa and that is sustained by a vision to fill unmet consumer needs.  This passion has resulted in the independent family-owned & operated manufacturing company’s success today as the maker of the #1 multicultural hair brand, #2 natural brand, #2 bar soap and top 5 bath and body brand via its SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage lines, as well as its newest brand and first foray into prestige beauty via its Madam C.J. Walker Beauty Culture hair care line.

After being widowed at a young age, Richelieu’s grandmother – Sofi – sold handcrafted Shea butter soaps and salves in Sierra Leone to support her family.  She became known as a healer throughout the countryside and taught these recipes to her grandson.  In 1991, upon graduating from renowned business school Babson College and unable to return to his home country of Liberia because of civil war, Richelieu partnered with his college roommate, Nyema Tubman, to pursue a bold concept: address specific skin and hair care issues that had been traditionally ignored by mass market skin care companies.  Drawing from deep family traditions, Richelieu incorporated four generations of recipes and wisdom into natural bath and body care products and co-founded Sundial Brands with his mother – Mary Dennis – and Nyema.

With a foundation of family heritage and his own cultural experiences, Richelieu leads Sundial’s vision to serve under-served consumers through problem/solution products made with natural and certified organic ingredients.  As a result, he has become recognized in the market for research innovation because of his continual testing and incorporation of culturally authentic and globally-sourced ingredients into his formulations.  By focusing on the unmet skin care and hair care needs of a diverse range of consumers, Richelieu has led the beauty and personal care manufacturer from selling its products on the streets of New York City to selling in and co-creating a comprehensive portfolio of product offerings with America’s largest retailers across mass, prestige, drug, grocery, beauty supply, natural and other specialty channels.

Richelieu is also an innovator in the identification of and response to the cultural shift resulting in the New General Market, which Sundial defines as an amalgamation of cultures, ethnicities, and demographics aligned against commonalities, need states and lifestyles, e.g. an inclusion approach rather than a traditional segmentation approach.   Through his vision and the company’s Community Commerce business model, its purpose-driven way of doing business, Sundial equips underserved people and communities with access to the opportunities and resources that enable them to create lasting value for themselves and others – simultaneously building stronger, self-sustaining communities and enterprises.

Under Richelieu’s leadership, Sundial has been certified as a B Corp company and holds a Fair for Life social and fair trade certification.  Additionally, in 2015 Sundial was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the United States and received the 2015 Corporate Social Responsibility of the Year Award from WWD/Beauty Inc, while Richelieu and Nyema received the Lewis Institute Changemaker Award from Babson College for their efforts in challenging the status quo, creating positive social change and making the world a better place.  Sundial has also previously received Black Enterprise’s “Emerging Business of the Year Award,” which recognizes businesses that have poised themselves for growth.  In addition, both SheaMoisture and Nubian Heritage have garnered awards from publications including Allure, All You, Better Nutrition, Ebony, Esquire, Essence, Family Circle, Life & Style, Natural Health, Parents, Prevention and Real Beauty, among others.

In 2016, Richelieu was named by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network to the inaugural “SuperSoul 100” list celebrating a dynamic group of 100 trailblazers using their power to move the world forward and whose vision and life’s work are bringing a higher level of consciousness to the world around them and encouraging others to do the same.

Guest Speakers

ashleyboalchAshley Darby Boalch
is a Maryland native with a spicy personality and an unmatched drive to succeed. The oldest child in her family, Ashley grew up juggling multiple jobs to help support her single mom and younger siblings. When she turned 18, she attended the University of Maryland and bartended on the side to keep both her and her family financially stable. While bartending, Ashley was scouted by the Miss District of Columbia Pageant and went on to take the crown in 2011.


MaggyMaggy Francois began her career producing fashion shows for clients on the East Coast in 1996. She launched Maggy Francois, a special event production company in 2000 committed to “creating the unimaginable” featuring fashions biggest names, Project Runway winner Anya Ayoung Chee & Christian Siriano, Korto Momolu, NBC Fashion Star, Nikki Poulos, Karen Millen, Betsey Johnson, Amsale Aberra, Francis Hendy, Jerell Scott, Reco Chapple and Carol Hannah Whitfield & well-known local designers. Her ultimate goal was to always increase awareness and bring visibility to the fashion design industry through productions and education. From humble beginnings to soaring above and beyond to achieve her clients her wildest dreams, Maggy Francois continues to turn fantasy into reality and is instrumental in the selection, planning and development of every production of fashion, social, corporate and not-for-profit events. In addition to her love of fashion, Maggy’s passion is education through design; providing her experience as a road map for aspiring students to pursue careers in the fashion industry through West Potomac Academy Fashion Design.

Currently, she is the Fashion Design Director at West Potomac Academy; she also serves on the executive board as Marketing Chair for New York Fashion Group International New York, DC chapter and a member of Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts. Maggy Francois has been featured in a number of publications including Ebony Magazine, AOL City’s Best, Washington Post’s Fashion Washington, All Things Fashion DC, Northern Virginia Magazine, Washington Post, WDIW, Washington Examiner, Washington Flyer, The Examiner, BISNOW, Washington Times, Bellehaven Patch, Connection Newspaper. She has also appeared and talks fashion on WUSA9 News, Channel 7, FOX TV, WJLA tv affiliate “Let’s Talk Live”, Svelte TV, XM Radio, OHMYGOFF TV, The District Dish, Metromix, DC 50 TV, & WPFW 89.3.

On September 6, 2013, a few short words changed her life forever when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She chose to be strong because she knew no other way. She wanted to be an example to others; so, no matter what, she put on her best – fashion, smile, and walked in faith and with strength. She’s a firm believer that if you look and feel good, it will help you recover gracefully and positive energy can benefit tremendously. Survivor!

Andrea RoaneAndrea Roane has been with TEGNA-owned WUSA9 since 1981. She has anchored every news program from morning to afternoon, and late night. She currently co-anchors Wake Up Washington from 4:25 a.m. to 7 a.m. and the noon news. She’s also the station’s health reporter.  A multi-EMMY and GRACIE Award winner, Andrea has covered a wealth of hard news stories, from politics, the arts, education, religion, and sports to women’s health and empowerment issues. In three decades of reporting, she has interviewed newsmakers, entertainers, and politicians. Her reporting has taken her across the U.S., overseas to Jerusalem, the Virgin Islands and Havana, Cuba.  Nationwide, Andrea, with co-host Mike Hydeck, was known to viewers for her coverage of the syndicated National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade.  In the DMV, Andrea is highly respected for her passionate reporting on breast health issues and promoting the importance of lifestyle changes and early detection in the fight against breast cancer. Andrea’s commitment to women’s health and community service has been recognized with countless national and local awards.  For her outstanding work as a journalist and for her community service, Andrea was awarded the 2015 Board of Governors Award by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter.  In 2014, Andrea was inducted into the DC Hall of Fame.