Williams, Wilkins among Academy for Women of Achievement honorees

Two Vanderbilt leaders are among the six women selected as inductees into the 2019 Academy for Women of Achievement.

Gail Williams (Vanderbilt University)
Gail Carr Williams (Vanderbilt University)

Gail Carr Williams, associate director for community relations in the Division of Government and Community Relations, and Dr. Consuelo Wilkins, vice president for health equity at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and associate dean for health equity in the School of Medicine, will be honored at the 28th annual Academy for Women of Achievement celebration and induction dinner at the Music City Center on Oct. 24. The event is presented by YWCA Nashville and Middle Tennessee and the Nashville Predators.

“I am thrilled that Gail Williams and Consuelo Wilkins are being recognized for their exemplary leadership and service in a variety of roles that reflect Vanderbilt’s values,” said Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos. “They are dedicated to making a difference every day, improving the quality of life on our campus and in the Nashville community.”

“This is a tremendous honor for Consuelo and Gail, and for Vanderbilt,” said Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente. “These leaders extend the university’s mission into the Nashville community and beyond, forging key connections and relationships that continue to improve our community. I am grateful for their many inspiring accomplishments.”

As associate director for community relations, Williams builds partnerships and collaborations on behalf of the university through innovative community engagement programming. Additionally, Williams guest lectures in the Peabody College of education and human development’s Independent School Leadership master of education program and has been a community leader for many years, serving on numerous boards. These include the Frist Art Museum and Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and she currently chairs the boards of the Metropolitan Nashville Transit Authority and The Healing Trust.

Consuelo Wilkins (Vanderbilt University)
Consuelo Wilkins (Vanderbilt University)

Wilkins oversees Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Office of Health Equity, which works to connect existing community health and health equity initiatives from across the organization while scaling system-wide efforts to identify and address disparities in health. Wilkins also serves as associate dean for health equity in the School of Medicine, executive director of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance, engagement core director for the All of Us Research Program, associate director of the Vanderbilt Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, and associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt and Meharry Medical College.

“We are grateful for the resolve, vision and commitment Dr. Wilkins and Gail Williams bring to not only the campus but to people across the region,” said Dr. Jeff Balser, president and CEO of VUMC and dean of the School of Medicine. “Dr. Wilkins emerged as our go-to leader on health equity initiatives because of her deep-seeded knowledge and mission to develop a system that excludes no one from optimal health. Each are remarkable leaders and thinkers. Truly, they embody the spirit of this honor.”

Two of the other honorees are Vanderbilt alumni:  Beth Chase, BA’85, senior managing director at Ankura and the Honorable Ana Escobar, BA’92, Davidson County General Sessions Judge Division III. 2019 honorees also include Mendy Mazzo, corporate senior vice president at Skanska, and Vicki Yates, a news anchor and reporter for WTVF-TV NewsChannel 5. Bank of America is the 2019 corporate honoree.

The Academy for Women of Achievement was launched locally in 1992 by YWCA Nashville and Middle Tennessee to increase community awareness and appreciation of the diverse contributions of women in the workforce and in the community. Women are honored for their community service, professional achievement, integrity, leadership, dedication to the lives of others and to the quality of life for all. This year’s recipients join 165 other women who hold this distinctive honor.

The AWA judging committee, made up of business and community leaders and the YWCA Executive Committee, chose the individual and corporate honorees from an exceptional list of nominees.

“These leaders stand as a reflection of the YWCA’s historic mission and values,” said YWCA President and CEO Sharon K. Roberson, BA’78, JD’83. “They serve as role models not only for other women in the community, but for all, and we are excited to honor them during this AWA season.”

The awards celebration will be held Thursday, Oct. 24, at Music City Center’s Davidson Ballroom. Tickets and tables can be purchased now on the YWCA website or by calling (615) 983-5146.

Jalen Blue contributed to this story.