A few images from the
Pillar Awards 2023
BWP Pillar Awards
November 17, 2023 || 11:00am
Women coming together and doing hard things has long been the bedrock of civilization. At various times in our lives, we need to be brave enough to lean on a community of encouragers as we face daunting possibilities.
As the founder of the Brave Women Project, Holly McIlwain shifted her focus from doing one scary thing every day to having the courage to do one brave thing every day instead.
We are a powerful network of professional women supporting each other, and existing in
kindness, generosity, and encouragement. We are building a community of women who make moments count and where everything matters.
Brave Women Project exists to develop opportunities for women of diverse backgrounds to move into brave action through conscious choice and intentionality within our spheres of influence. We use the 5 Es for Life - Engage, Encourage, Empower, Educate, and Evolve - as a guide for women to promote equity through developing in four core areas: relationships, professional, impact, and wellness.
We are brave women, and we know brave women. It’s time to recognize these individuals and how they strive to Engage, Encourage, Empower, Educate, and Evolve other women and make a lasting impact with the first annual 5 Es for Life Awards.
Anyone may nominate a brave woman, self-nominations are accepted, and you may nominate as many brave women as you’d like. Please choose only one E (category) for each nominee.
Please note: Membership and nominations are not compatible with MLM/Network Marketers.
Engage - The Professional Matchmaker
She excels in bringing people together for greater good.
The Engage award winner understands the meaning of strong relationships and connecting
people for a mutually beneficial outcome. She is a networking guru; she knows half the room
and sets out to meet the other half at every event. She’s your “wing woman” - inviting you to
events and connecting you with the people who will give you opportunities for growth.
Encourage - The Cheerleader
She excels in guiding other women and supporting their endeavors.
The Encourage award winner is the woman who is always raising up other females and making
their efforts known. She’s the woman who pushes other women to go above and beyond their
comfort zone and asks, “Why not you?”. She listens and acknowledges your fears and celebrates
your successes. She doesn’t just talk the talk - she walks the walk - pulling her friends around the
Empower - The Advocate
She excels in building other women’s confidence.
The Empower award winner continually shows her friends their value and helps them achieve
greatness. She is the woman who makes you feel you can accomplish great things. She knows
how to open opportunities and delegate properly. She guides people to carry out their roles,
showing them they have the power to control their own lives. She ensures you feel capable and
Educate - The Teacher
She excels in formal or informal instruction to build others and has a portfolio of knowledge and
The Educate award winner is always willing to share her skills and experience to better those
around her. Her love for learning and expanding her knowledge is apparent because she
continually educates others and fills their cup with practical, actionable information that will help
them in their career and personal life.
Evolve - The Change-Maker
She excels in her own growth. She’s self-aware and socially minded.
Simply said, the Evolve award winner has grown leaps and bounds in the past few years – on a
personal level, professional level, or both. This woman has reinvented herself or developed
exponentially. She’s the one who concentrates on making herself better to have a greater impact
on those around her. She understands that being her very best is how she makes those around her
their very best.
Meet Our Inaugural Pillar Awardee
Dr. Christine Lynn McClure was a single mother of two by the age of 22. Christine always planned to attend college, but with two young sons, it was extremely difficult, so she attended a two-year school. Christine was accepted to Point Park University, and she worked full-time during the day and attended classes at night, completing her degree in Health Services Administration in 1998. She returned to Point Park a year later to complete her MBA in 2000. The journey was far from easy as Christine battled periods of homelessness brought about by domestic violence.
In 2000, Christine landed a job at the University of Pittsburgh as a grant administrator in the School of Public Health where she managed a 20-million-dollar federal grant and 10 sites across 7 states. From 2008 until 2020 she was promoted several times, and in 2021 was promoted into her current role as a Senior Research Scientist, where she is an expert in disparities research and an experienced qualitative researcher whose research interests include the intersectional experiences of women of color in various contexts including higher education, healthcare, public health, and child welfare to inform the creation of more equitable spaces, policies, and practices. Christine’s passion for women, especially in higher education is demonstrated by her commitment to helping women of color complete their doctoral degrees. Christine truly embodies the characteristics of the Encourager as she is always working to support, elevate, and celebrate women. Christine serves as a mentor to women through several organizations, which we will outline here – and hope that we haven’t left any off this incredibly impressive list: Women’s Leadership and Mentoring Programs (WLMP) at Robert Morris University, Strong Women Strong Girls at the University of Pittsburgh, Role Model in Residence, PA Women Work, PantherReach and African American Alumni Council Board at the University of Pittsburgh, When She Thrives, EmployHer, Dress for Success, New Century Careers, A Giving Heart, Multiplying Good and the Students in Action (SIA) Staff Association at Pitt, Women’s Leadership Council of the United Way, American Council of Education (ACE), Women’s Leadership Network, Florida, Child Wellbeing Research Network, Financial Recovery Board for the Penn Hills School District American Association of University Women (AAUW), And she conducts peer reviews for the following journals: Contingencies: A Journal of Global Pedagogy, The Carnegie Project of the Education Doctorate, and the Journal for Underrepresented Minority Progress. WHEW! Finally, while Christine works hard, she also believes in taking time out to enjoy life and to remember what is important, her family and friends. She loves to spend time with family and loves to host events at her home, especially for the holidays. She is an avid traveler and loves to see the world via cruise ships. She has several hobbies including running, crafting, dancing, and writing. And, another really cool thing about Christine and her nomination? Her husband George nominated her! PLEASE join me in congratulating our First-EVER BWP Bravery in Action Award Winner, Dr. Christine Lynn McClure!
General event questions are directed to Kelli Komondor at firstname.lastname@example.org