With a crowd of more than 400, The Greater Chamber and Ford Motor Company celebrated the notable accomplishments of three of San Antonio’s most impressive and influential business women. The 2012 Tribute to Business Women Leaders recognized restaurateur Lisa Wong, business executive Mary Rose Brown and retired executive and community servant Priscilla Hill-Ardoin for their achievements in our great city and around the nation.
The winner of the Brenda Vickrey Johnson Award for Small Business was Lisa Wong, President and Owner of Rosario’s Mexican Café y Cantina. Wong told the crowd that she always had a dream of owning a restaurant, and with a lot of hard work, her dream came true. She encouraged those attending to always have a dream and an inspiration. Wong noted what a rewarding experience it is to hear a patron acknowledge that one of her restaurants is their favorite.
Mary Rose Brown, Executive Vice President Administration at NuStar Energy, was the recipient of the Executive Award for Large Business. She thanked her staff and credited their talents for her success.
Brown said, “I have always said that you should hire people who are more talented and smarter than you if you want to be a success.”
Brown described the outstanding work ethic and help that has come from NuStar, and she gave a great deal of credit to her family and children for their support and understanding throughout her career.
Recipient of the Legacy Award, Priscilla Hill-Ardoin is a retired executive from AT&T, with whom she enjoyed a long career and saw the company transition from Southwestern Bell to SBC to AT&T. She shared with the audience an anecdote from her career, when the company had offered her a very important, new job opportunity. With a sense of importance and prestige, she took on this new position, discovering later that it was an experiment. With that story, she encouraged all business leaders to take risks and take advantage of opportunities laid before them, and she also encouraged companies to keep experimenting. Among other community initiatives, Hill-Ardoin is the notable founder of the Aaron Ardoin Foundation Fund for Sickle Cell Anemia, which was begun in honor of her son Aaron.
A unique facet of the Tribute to Women Business Leaders is the scholarship component that the honorees send to the universities of their choice, furthering the education and leadership in young people. Wong’s $1,000 scholarship was given to the University of Texas at San Antonio, Brown’s $1,000 scholarship went to Our Lady of the Lake University, and Hill-Ardoin’s $1,000 scholarship was presented to the Greehey School of Business at St. Mary’s University.
Started as Women’s Opportunity Week, the Tribute to Women Business Leaders Awards maintain the “WOW” moniker because of the “wow” effect they have on those around them. Our honorees exemplify business practices and principles that are championed by Ford Motor Company and The Greater Chamber.
Previous winners of the awards include Rosemary Kowalski, Lila Cockrell, Ruth Jones McClendon, Marsha Shields, Suzanne Wade, Janet Holliday, Brenda Vickrey Johnson, Susan Blackwood, JoAnn Boone and many more. A complete list of past winners is available on The Chamber’s WOW website.