Originally published by the LSU Women's Center.

The LSU Women’s Center will honor Women’s History Month on Thursday, March 18, at its fourth annual Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration. This year’s awards ceremony will be held at Boudreaux’s in Baton Rouge, beginning at 8:00am. All proceeds will support the mission and initiatives of the Women’s Center. 2015 Esprit de Femme honoree, Charlotte Placide, is serving as the 2016 Esprit de Femme honoree chair for the Sunrise Celebration.

Established in 2009, the Esprit de Femme award is an annual acknowledgement of a person who has made exceptional efforts toward the advancement of women in Louisiana. This award honors individuals who elevate the status of women in the community through their contributions to the arts, education, healthcare, business and industry, charity, and civic engagement. This year also marks the first year that the Esprit de Femme Student Leadership Award will be given. This award will honor and recognize two LSU students who exemplify the ideals and principals of the Esprit de Femme awards though the awarding of a scholarship. The award recipients will be selected in February and will be awarded their scholarship at the Sunrise Celebration.

“We are excited about all of our honorees and look forward to the opportunity to recognize their phenomenal contributions at the fourth Annual Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration,” said Summer Steib, LSU Women’s Center director. “These women have made lasting impacts on the lives of countless women in our state and blazed trails for other women. Our 2016 honorees represent diverse backgrounds and accomplishment—our honorees are leaders and trail-blazers in government, medicine, arts, the business sector, nonprofits, academics, and civic engagement.”

In 2016, the Esprit de Femme award will be presented to eight deserving recipients. The recipients are Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Renee Chatelain, Teri G. Fontenot, Dr. Elizabeth “Terry” Fontham, Dima Ghawi, Dr. Carolyn H. Hargrave, Sybil Morial, and Rep. Patricia Haynes Smith. The 2016 Men Who Champion Women honoree is Dr. Isiah M. Warner. 

A global citizen and social change agent, Dima Ghawi shares her personal and professional experiences to educate and inspire the professional and social advancement of women across cultures. Ghawi emigrated to the U.S. from Jordan in 1996. Breaking from her restrictive cultural norms and expectations, Dima became the first woman in her family to graduate college. She went on to earn her Masters in Business Administration and work worldwide for several Fortune 100 companies including IBM, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America. Now a highly sought-after speaker, Ghawi has reached thousands globally through speeches, training workshops and leadership seminars. In 2015, Ghawi launched her own consulting company dedicated to elevating the professional and cultural status of women around the world.