A Salute to the 2009 Women of Distinction & Caring

Friday, April 3 at 11 a.m.
Women of Distinction & Caring Luncheon
Hosted by the Hebrew Homes Foundation
Emceed by “Mr. Miami Beach,” Michael Aller
InterContinental Miami
100 Chopin Plaza, Miami
Tickets are $100 and are available from:
Melanie Cohen
11900 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 616
North Miami, FL 33181
305-981-0101 / 305-981-0113 (fax)

Friday, April 3 at 11 a.m.

The 2009 Women of Distinction & Caring


Congresswoman Carrie Meek, the first African-American elected to Congress from Florida since Reconstruction, has had successful careers as a public servant, college administrator and educator.

Born in Tallahassee, the granddaughter of a slave and the daughter of former sharecroppers, she spent her childhood in segregated Tallahassee. Her thirst for knowledge enabled Ms. Meek to graduate from Florida A & M University in 1946 and to receive her M.S. from the University of Michigan in 1948. She was hired as a teacher at Bethune Cookman College in Daytona Beach and then at her alma matter.

In 1961, Ms. Meek moved to Miami to serve as special assistant to the VP of Miami-Dade Community College. In 1963, that school was desegregated and Ms. Meek played a central role in pushing integration. Since moving to Miami, Ms. Meek has always been active in community projects.

Elected as a Florida state representative in 1979, she followed the public servant path to the Florida State Senate in 1982 where she served on the Education Appropriations Subcommittee. Her efforts in the legislature also led to the construction of thousands of affordable rental housing units; she continues that effort today.

But it was in 1992, when Ms. Meek was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida’s 17th Congressional District that she now had the opportunity to help the South Florida community. Upon taking office, she faced the task of helping folks recover from Hurricane Andrew’s devastation with federal assistance in the $100 million range to rebuild Dade County.

Successfully focusing her attention on issues such as economic development, health care, education and housing, Carrie Meek has emerged as a strong advocate for senior citizens and Haitian immigrants. Although she is recently retired from the U.S. Congress, Ms. Meek continues to be a strong advocate for building a stronger community and improving the quality of life for all as she dedicates her time and service to the Carrie Meek Foundation.



Schatzi Kassal began her career as an early childhood educator, teaching kindergarten in New York and then in Miami-Dade County. Schatzi earned her High School diploma from Hunter High School in NY and then her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education as well as her Masters of Arts in Psychology from Hunter College in New York. She then earned a second Masters Degree in Counseling from Barry University.

Finding time to share herself through good service is never an issue. Schatzi’s love and concern for children led her to create the organization dedicated to the support and maintenance of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Project: New Born, which she founded in 1973. Her leadership of this organization has been instrumental in raising the necessary funds to build a state-of-the-art unit that is a role model for major cities throughout the nation.

In addition to Project: New Born, Schatzi founded and has been a volunteer with the Bethesda Guardians at St. Luke’s Addiction Recovery Center, which is part of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami.

Schatzi is also a Founder of the Women’s Cancer League & Partners and was the catalyst in founding the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital Taylor Breast Health Center which serves women suffering from breast cancer.

Schatzi has received accolades and awards throughout her professional and volunteer life:
» Hunter College: Maria Bell Coles Award of Excellence in Kindergarten Teaching
» Zonta Club: Outstanding Volunteer for Service to Children Award
» Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami: Volunteer of the Year Award
» University of Miami Project New Born: Humanitarian of the Year Award
» Jackson Memorial Foundation: Jay W. Weiss Humanitarian Award for Lifetime Dedication
» National Council of Jewish Women: Hannah G. Solomon Award
» American Red Cross: Spectrum Award for Volunteerism



Sandra Levy is an extraordinarily dedicated volunteer who has been raising funds since she was 18 years old. She firmly believes in the importance of being involved in the community in which she lives. Sandra is someone who just can’t say “no” when asked to help a good cause.

Sandra began her work for the Diabetes Research Institute because a friend needed help. She has been a member of both the National and Regional Boards of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation for many years and is a former vice president of the National Board. She is the Executive Chairman of the Love and Hope committee and has been instrumental in the fundraising group’s ongoing success. To date, Love and Hope has raised over $40 million for the Diabetes Research Institute.

Sandra also works with her husband, Sid, an entrepreneur. Together they are Grand Founders of the Diabetes Research Institute, and due to their generosity, the Institute’s Sixth floor Cell Biology/Signal Transduction room was named in memory of her late daughter, Jennifer Ann Boals.



A native of South Florida, Diane Magnum spent 25 years as one of South Florida’s most respected broadcast journalists. As an award-winning anchor and reporter for WPLG–TV, Diane was the trusted voice through countless community crises. She was the weekend morning / Noon News anchor and the Breaking News anchor/reporter providing wall-to-wall coverage of Hurricanes Andrew, Charlie, Ivan and Frances;
the 9/11 Terror Attacks; and the stabbing/murder at Southwood Middle School.

Diane was the founder and 6 year anchor of the highly successful community outreach program called “Magnum’s Force” in which she used the power of television to bring together people in need with those who have the means to help. Her compassionate on-camera presence and her natural off-camera delivery convinced viewers to donate more than six million dollars to deserving South Florida families.

Diane began her journalism career as a reporter for WCTV-TV in Tallahassee where she served as a general assignment reporter and a fill-in anchor.

An alum of Florida State University where she earned her B.S. in Political Science and Communications, Diane is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions:
» William S. Paley Award
» Silver Circle Award/National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
» Southeast Regional Emmy Award/Writing
» Southeast Regional Emmy Award/Reporting
» Two United Press International Awards/Reporting
» Numerous Public Service Awards:

American Diabetes Valor Award
First Lady of Broward County Award
Big Brothers/Big Sisters Miracle Maker Award




Victoria Villalba is a pioneer in her field of career staffing, establishing firsts in the industry, such as the “vendor on premise” concept at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and preparing Youth for Industry Program in South Florida. She has also lectured at Miami Dade College for the Microcomputer Education for Employment of the Disabled Program. She also partners with Dade County Public School’s Rolando Espinosa Center and KAPOW (Kids and the Power of Work).

Victoria’s success in giving back to her community is best evidenced by her accomplishments with community based organizations. She has served on several Boards including Baptist Health System and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami. She served as the Co-Chair for the Youth Council and Executive Committee for South Florida Workforce. She has also served on the Executive Committee for Hands on Miami and was on the Personnel committee for University Baptist Church. Victoria currently serves on the Board of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and His House Children’s Home.

Victoria wears many hats. She is a past participant in Leadership Miami Class of 1994 and has served as a Facilitator and an Executive Committee member. She is a past Board Member for the American Heart Association and a strong spokesperson. She is also a graduate of the Life Work Leadership class of 2007 and currently serves as Facilitator for the class of 2008.

An alum of Florida Southern College where she received a BS in Personnel Management, Victoria received her MS in Human Resources from Nova Southeastern University.

Among her many awards and recognitions are:
» Miramar Pembroke Pines Chamber, Pinnacle Award Winner and Small Business of the Year
» South Florida Business Journal’s Small Business of the Year
» NAWBO Up and Comers Award
» Coral Gables Chamber Outstanding Business Owner of the Year
» Arthur E. Turner-Entrepreneur of the Year Award
» America’s Promise for Youth Good Hands Award presented by Colin Powell
» American Red Cross Spectrum Awards for Women
» Hispanic Heritage Council Young Hispanic Leadership Award
» Latina Style Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year (2008)

Recently, Victoria was invited to speak at President-Elect Obama’s jobs summit held in Palm Beach County. She had the privilege of being the only small business owner sitting on a panel along-side the President of Google, Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, distinguished governors, and Senator Obama.

Victoria resides in Coral Gables; her daughter, Vicki, attends Florida State University.

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