The Woman of Distinction Award honors accomplished women business owners who demonstrate strong leadership in the advancement of women in business in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area and beyond.

It's our way of thanking those who strengthen our members and the women's business environment.

We are looking for a woman with a track record of:

  • Strong support for women business owners
  • Promoting and enabling the women's business environment

Candidates must be:

  • Located in the greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area
  • A female business owner or decision-making executive responsible for business performance
  • A woman whose work shows her contribution to the advancement of women in business

Additional Information:

  • NAWBO membership is not required.
  • Self-applications will be accepted.
  • Finalists must attend the award presentation
  • Current NAWBO Greater DC board members are ineligible.
  • Nominees may not have received this award within the last 5 years.


Learn More About Past Winners & Honorees

wod brownEl Brown | 2015 Woman of Distinction Award Winner
As the Founder and CEO of KinderJam®, El Brown has made it her mission to spread the message of the benefits of Early Childhood Education, Parent Education, and Early Intervention through her fun and interactive programs and workshops. El’s passion as a mom and educator has fueled her and her team of over 60 instructors to touch the lives of young children and their families in 16 states, 11 countries, and 5 continents. While working diligently to serve the needs her family and global community, El realized that she had neglected to take time to care for herself. In 2013 at 301.8 pounds, El reclaimed her life, shed 100 pounds in 274 days, and freed herself from internal limitations that were holding her back from being her best. She chronicled her journey of simple lifestyle changes on social media resulting in El’s journey going viral and inspiring others to get up and move, a featured on the Dr. Oz Show, and her new book, SnapBack! with El Brown.


wod bouweiriKristina Bouweiri | 2015 Woman of Distinction Honoree
Kristina Bouweiri is President and CEO of Reston Limousine, Washington DC’s premier chauffeured transportation provider and the 13th largest fleet operator in the industry. Starting with only five vehicles in 1990, Bouweiri diversified the business and grew it to a $21 million firm today with more than 200 vehicles. As a woman in an industry traditionally dominated by male executives, Bouweiri has been committed to supporting women entrepreneurs over the years and is the founder of the monthly networking luncheon Sterling Women and co-founder of the annual Virginia Women’s Business Conference. Recognized for her business acumen regionally and nationally, Bouweiri is an international speaker on topics ranging from startup success strategies to the use of social media in growing your business. Her recent awards include Washington Business Journal Most Admired CEO, International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge, and DC Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year.


wod mckinneyGwen McKinney | 2015 Woman of Distinction Honoree
Since the moment she hung a “Women at Work” shingle in her basement office at the St. Augustine Ecumenical Center, Gwen McKinney has honed her vision of public relations with a conscience. As the president and founder of McKinney & Associates, the first African American woman-owned firm in the nation's capital that expressly promotes social justice communications, she blends strategic savvy with an unparalleled commitment to social change. An astute strategic planner, she has served as a trusted adviser to many of the nation's most influential civil rights leaders working on issues that range from health equity, voting rights and environmental justice to criminal justice reform and educational access. A role model and mentor to scores of culturally diverse communications professionals, Gwen provides dedicated strategic counsel to female executives and business owners in the philanthropic and nonprofit worlds-promoting women and people of color in all aspects of her practice.


lewiswodRenee Lewis | 2014 Woman of Distinction Award Winner
Renee Lewis, CEO & President of Pensare Group, has 25 years of building successful businesses and business units. She loves to work with inspired business leaders who know they can do more with what they have but don’t have the time to invest to realize that potential. She has always leveraged her love of software engineering principles (that is, designing for efficiency and effectiveness) and getting things done through others (that is, managing difficult teams). Her most interesting adventures were turning around and then selling a technology company to Cerner (wonderful experience albeit tough ride), and creating a viable and productive team after a four-company merger to create a stronger offering in eLearning.


gingermillerGinger Miller | 2014 Woman of Distinction Honoree
Ginger Miller is a Navy Veterans and the Founder and CEO of Women Veterans Interactive The mission of Women Veterans interactive is to Support Women Veterans through Advocacy, Empowerment, Interaction, Outreach and Unification .A passionate leader, skilled mentor, and tireless advocate, Ginger has enriched the lives of thousands of female veterans, and particularly those who served in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), and Operation New Dawn (OND). She champions the strengths of her fellow women veterans, and actively recruits their engagement in mentoring, networking, employment, caregiving, and advocacy. Ginger serves as Chairwoman of the Prince George’s Commission for Veterans and is a Commissioner on the Maryland Commission for Women.


AAndaHeadshotAmy Anda | 2014 Woman of Distinction Honoree
Amy Anda is an award-winning executive, speaker, and social entrepreneur working at the seams of technology, government, and social enterprise. As a Director at Credence Management Solutions LLC, an award-winning 8(a) / Small Disadvantaged Business, Amy leads teams focused on providing innovative management and technology solutions to solve critical business and mission needs at organizations like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Defense.  Amy earned her BSBA in International Management and Economics from American University, her MBA from the University of Maryland, and studied abroad in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.


web irwinFrederique Campagne Irwin | 2013 Woman of Distinction Award Winner
Frederique’s company, Her Corner, builds hyper-local and face-to-face circles for women business owners who are committed to growing their businesses. Membership includes specific criteria and groups are located across the DC Metro Area, and soon will be in other US cities and in International locations. She and her team personally lead a number of small-group forums in which they hand-select groups of no more than 12 women business owners who are committed to growing their business and whom they believes will benefit tremendously from working together in a forum setting.


web grayBev Gray | 2013 Woman of Distinction Honoree
Bev Gray leads a full service trade show exhibit company located in Northern Virginia right outside of Washington D.C. She has been doing it for 18 years and is ready to take Exhibit Edge and it's employees to the next level strengthening the service level and value to clients. When she's not working at her company, she's making connections at various networking groups and organizations through out the area. She enjoys helping other women business owners make connections and succeed. She knows that any new relationship can lead to the next great client. When she's not connecting, she's enjoying her family and friends, reading, watching movies, playing outdoors, and just hanging out.


web raineyDoreen Rainey | 2013 Woman of Distinction Honoree
Doreen Rainey is a dynamic, seasoned and no-nonsense personal and business coach, speaker and management consultant. Teaching and training individuals, entrepreneurs and executives, her proven systems and methods empower her clients to accelerate their success. Known for her RADICAL approach to helping her clients move beyond the ordinary and expected into the extraordinary, Doreen has touched the lives of thousands. With a calling to show people how to define success for themselves and get the guts to go after it, she focuses on sharing practical, implementable strategies, tools and processes to move from where you are to where you want to go.


shSam Horn | 2012 Woman of Distinction Award Winner
Sam Horn, The Intrigue Expert, is the author of such critically-acclaimed books as POP! Tongue Fu!® , and the upcoming SerenDestiny® She was a top-rated speaker at the INC. 500/5000 convention and receives raves from such organizations as Cisco, Intel, Capital One, EO in America and Europe, Boeing and Amgen. She’s a frequent media guest who’s been featured on NPR, MSNBC,, NY Times, Washington Post, and Fast

Watch Video


ljLouisa Jaffe | 2012 Woman of Distinction Honoree
As President and CEO of TAPE, Ms. Jaffe manages TAPE's business affairs, client, corporate, and employee relations, and marketing outreach. She is a member of Women in Defense, Women in Technology, Retired Military Officers Association, National Defense Industrial Association, Army Women’s Foundation, Renaissance Executive Forum, and several women's and executive groups. Ms. Jaffe holds a BA in English from the University of Florida (Gainesville) and a BS in Citrus Management from Florida Southern College (Lakeland).

Watch Video


ctCindy Tonnesen | 2012 Woman of Distinction Honoree
Cindy Tonnesen is founder and CEO of SwimKids Swim Schools. Her World Class values are infused in every part of the business from the branding and state-of-the-art design of SwimKids’ aquatics centers to the culture of her amazing staff and the results they have worked together to produce. During the worst recession of our times, she led the company to over 300% growth and created over 100 new jobs in the Northern Virginia area.

Watch Video