Roth Named Woman of Distinction

[Archived from February 06, 2009]

[by Shiela Steinman Wallace]

The Center for Women and Families (CWF) will honor Marcia Roth, Alice Brooks, Crit Luallen, Kathy Smith-Andrew and Joanne McCarten Weis as the 2009 Women of Distinction at their 22nd Annual Celebration of Service and Survival on Thursday, February 26, at 5 p.m. at the Louisville Marriott Downtown.

CWF will honor these women for their work to improve opportunity, education and quality of life for women and children in our community. This annual event raises funds to support services, education and advocacy to eliminate domestic violence, sexual violence and economic hardship in this region. The celebration will include a raffle, silent auction, live auction and dinner program featuring videos celebrating the extraordinary dedication of each honoree.

Shirley Rivoli, Group Nine marketing, and Casey Wilson, Republic Bank & Trust, co-chair the event. Inez Segall, a previous event honoree, is chair of the previously honored Women of Distinction. WAVE3’s Carrie Weil and Dawn Gee will co-emcee the celebration.

Marcia Roth

“I’m certainly proud to be following in the footsteps of so many women that I consider role models,” Marcia Roth said of the award. “The Center is a wonderful organization that does terrific work. I am pleased to be chosen by them and happy to do what I can to help.”

Roth is the executive director of the Mary Byron Project. In 1993, she explained, Mary Byron was murdered by her ex-boyfriend. He had been arrested for raping her, but was released on bail. Byron did not know he had been released. On her 21st birthday, he stalked her, and when she got off work, he killed her.

“I was director of the Jefferson County Office for Women at that time,” Roth said, “and we were pleased about the things we had done” in the area of domestic violence. When Mary Byron was murdered, “we realized there was a big hole.”
The greatest danger to victims of domestic violence occurs when the perpetrator is released from custody, Roth explained, because the offender views the victim as the person who got him arrested.

Working with Byron’s family, Jefferson County Judge/Executive Dave Armstrong and other County Government employees, Roth helped develop a victim notification system, known as VINE. The first program to address this pressing need, VINE became a model for other communities across the country.

In 2000, Byron’s parents established a foundation to foster innovations and strategies that can end domestic violence, and Roth was chosen to lead that effort.

Throughout her career, Roth has also been a volunteer leader in both the Louisville Jewish and general communities. Last year, Gov. Steve Beshear appointed her to the Kentucky Community and Technical College System Board. She is also a member of the Library Foundation Board and the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

She has also served as a member of both the Legislative Task Force and the Attorney General’s Task Force on Domestic Violence Crime, a member of the Domestic Violence Prevention Coordinating Council, a member of the Governor’s Council on Domestic Violence, and a member of the Louisville Waterfront Development Corporation Board.

She is a past president of the Jewish Community Federation, and has served as chair of its Community Relations Council and the Women’s and Young Women’s Divisions of the United Jewish Campaign. She has also been president of the National Council of Jewish Women, Louisville Section, and a board member of Jewish Family and Vocational Service (today Jewish Family and Career Services).

Roth has also had several articles published in a variety of journals and newspapers.

In 1996, she received the Kentucky Victims’ Coalition Award and the Girl Scout Woman of Distinction Award. In 1997, NCJW honored her with the Hannah G. Solomon Award; and in 1998, she received the Center for Women and Family Award. She also received the Joseph J. Kaplan Young Leadership Award from the Federation, and several other awards from a variety of groups.

She has a BA from Northwestern University and has been in Louisville since 1970.

She and her husband, Bruce, have three children, Evan, Daniel and Jessica, and four grandchildren, Emmett, Jack, Sally and Leo.

Alice Brooks

Alice Brooks is the founder and director of the Louisville-based A New Beginning for Women Cultivating a Rose. She began her work with drug intervention programs for imprisoned women in 1995. Just four years later, in support of Alice’s successful work, a donor generously provided a residential property for the program’s use. Alice tirelessly labored to establish A New Beginning for Women’s licensed 12-bed facility, and she has committed her life to helping women who are experiencing hopelessness to transform their lives.

Crit Luallen

As Kentucky’s highest ranking elected woman, Crit Luallen serves as the state’s forty-seventh Auditor of Public Accounts. She has served the people of the Commonwealth since 1974, starting with her service in the governor’s executive cabinet. She worked in various other state government positions, including Secretary of the Executive Cabinet. In addition to her distinguished career in public service, she has lectured throughout the state on the necessity of increasing educational and employment opportunities for women.

Kathy Smith-Andrew

During her 10-year tenure as an Indiana State Senator, Kathy Smith-Andrew increased penalties for violating protective orders, sexual battery, stalking, and breaking and entering. She also authored the Crime Victim’s Notification Bill, which requires law enforcement agencies to notify victims when their perpetrators are released. A former victim of domestic violence, she increased funding to help abused women and their families and sponsored legislation requiring law enforcement officers to receive continuing education about domestic violence.

Joanne McCarten Weis

Joanne McCarten Weis worked for seven years at The Center for Women and Families. Many women who worked with her during her tenure claim her as their mentor, as do a long line of social work students from area universities. She was chosen to manage the first Neighborhood Place, a unique prototype community-based collaboration for coordinating health, education and human services for local families. Today she draws from her past experiences and belief in the human spirit to create inspiring fabric art.

The Center for Women and Families will also raffle 1.10 carat total weight diamond stud earrings valued at $2,950 during its Celebration of Service & Survival. Raffle tickets are $25 each, and only 1,000 tickets will be sold. The winner need not be present to win.

To date more than 20 businesses and individuals have stepped up to support the event: Presenting Sponsor, Norton Women’s Pavilion; Flagship Sponsor, Brown-Forman; and Production Sponsor, Insight Communications are leading the way. Organizers hope the event will raise $200,000 this year.

The Center for Women and Families engages individuals and community in the elimination of domestic violence, sexual violence and economic hardship through service, education and advocacy. Established in 1912 as part of the YWCA, today it is a private nonprofit agency operating eight regional locations.

For more information, call 581-7206 or visit

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