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‘Freedom Writer’ Erin Gruwell will speak at YWCA Greater Cinci Career Women of Achievement awards

The YWCA Greater Cincinnati has announced that renowned educator and author Erin Gruwell is the keynote speaker for the Wednesday, May 8 Career Women of Achievement Luncheon to be held at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center Grand Ballroom.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the YWCA’s recognition of outstanding businesswomen in Greater Cincinnati through the annual luncheon and awards program. The event is the largest luncheon held at Duke Energy Convention Center and throughout the Midwest, drawing more than 2,200 attendees.

Considered one of the region’s world-class-level events, the luncheon has drawn speakers of world-wide prominence such as Viola Davis, Maya Angelou, Ashley Judd, Anna Quindlen and Geena Davis.

Erin Gruwell has earned an award-winning reputation for her steadfast commitment to the future of education.

Erin Gruwell

Her impact as a change agent attracted Hollywood’s attention, and in 2007 Paramount Pictures released Freedom Writers starring two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as Erin Gruwell. The film is based on The Freedom Writers Diary, the New York Times bestseller that chronicled Gruwell’s extraordinary journey with her 150 high school students who dubbed themselves the “Freedom Writers” in homage to Civil Rights activists the Freedom Riders.

By fostering an educational philosophy that valued and promoted diversity and mindfulness of daily decisions, her students chose to forego teenaged pregnancy, drugs, and violence in order to become aspiring college students, published writers, and citizens for change.

Erin’s teaching methods from her time in Room 203 have become an international paradigm showcased in her published works Teach With Your Heart as well the Freedom Writers Diary Teacher’s Guide. She went on to establish the Freedom Writers Foundation. It has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of teachers and students worldwide.

Gruwell and her students have appeared on numerous television programs including Oprah, The View, and Good Morning America. Their story has earned them dozens of awards such as the Spirit of Anne Frank Award.

“We are honored to host a keynote speaker of Erin Gruwell’s international caliber,” said luncheon co-chairs Heidi Jark, senior vice president and managing director of the Foundation Office at Fifth Third Bank and Michele Hawkins, managing director and chief compliance officer for Fort Washington Investment Advisors, Inc.

They believe, “Erin Gruwell perfectly represents the YWCA’s three pillars of empowerment and economic advancement, safety, and racial justice and inclusion. She has shown how picking up a pen instead of a gun can transform the lives of 150 teens.”

Tickets to the YWCA Career Women of Achievement Luncheon are $95 for an individual ticket and $1,750 for a table of 10. Visit www.ywcacincinnati.org/careerwomen for further information on tickets and sponsorships.

The 2019 Career Women of Achievement honorees will be announced in March.

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