Foundation honors several local women as innovators in their field

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Sally Kalson was among 15 "Women in Media" honored Saturday by the Women and Girls Foundation during its Gala Celebration at the August Wilson Center for African-American Culture, Downtown.

Each year the foundation recognizes local women in a different sector of society who are making strides as innovators in their fields. The philanthropic group, founded in 2002 and dedicated to achieving gender equity in the region, in the past has honored women in science, sports, law and other areas.

A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Ms. Kalson has been a staff writer at the Post-Gazette since 1984. She writes a weekly column on issues concerning modern American politics, trends and social mores, and her feature stories and profiles have received numerous honors from journalism organizations and public interest groups.

Earning the foundation's first Special Award of Distinction on Saturday was Virginia Montanez, also known as "PittGirl," a blogger and writer who started a popular blog now called "That's Church."

According to the foundation, Ms. Montanez was recognized for her "innovative and brilliant use of social media to raise awareness of the need for local political reform and her critical role in rallying public support to save the orphans of the BRESMA orphanage in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti."

The 2010 honorees also included Cynthia Closkey, president of Big Big Design, co-founder of PodCamp Pittsburgh and developer of; Elaine Effort, reporter, KQV Radio; Heather Starr Fiedler, founder and general manager of and associate professor at Point Park University; Vanessa German, multimedia artist, writer, sculptor, performer and photographer; Lauren Lawley Head, editor of the Pittsburgh Business Times; Mary Robb Jackson, news reporter, KDKA-TV; Beverly Morrow-Jones, executive director of Marketing & Communications, VisitPittsburgh; Debbie Norrell, lifestyles editor, The New Pittsburgh Courier; Cindy Skrzycki, senior lecturer, University of Pittsburgh; Heide Waldbaum, feature film producer; Shaina Wallace, hip-hop artist, student at Westinghouse High School; Carolyn Wean, retired media executive; and Rosemary Welsch, afternoon mix host and senior producer, WYEP.

Abigail Disney, the award-winning filmmaker and grandniece of Walt Disney, gave the keynote address, about the power of media and women's voices to bring peace to the world.


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