Commission for Women
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2011 Woman and Young Woman of the Year Winners

Young Woman of the Year 2011

Rachel Martinez, 2011 Young Woman of the Year winner.
Rachel Marie Martinez

The Commission’s choice for Young Woman of the Year is Rachel Martinez, a senior at Chesapeake High School. Rachel is a self motivated young woman with multiple aptitudes who somehow manages to balance academics, athletics, work and community service and does all of them well.

Her academic successes include ranking third in her senior class of 234, with a GPA of 3.64. She has successfully taken eight AP classes, a distinction she shares with only a few of her classmates. Rachel is a two year member of the Junior National Honor Society and a two year member of the National Honor Society where she served as an officer. Her passion is the communications industry and her career goal is to be a news anchor at a major news network like CNN. Towards that goal, Rachel attended Syracuse University last summer, taking college level courses in communications. She has been admitted to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and School of Information Management Studies at  Syracuse University for the fall 2011 semester. She is currently a Senior Intern at the Education Channel.

In addition to her academic life and pursuing her plans for a future in the communications industry, Rachel has also taken on important leadership roles in her school. She serves as her Senior Class Vice President. She is a four year member of the Student Government Association, the TV Broadcasting Club and the Girls Empowerment Program (GEM). GEM is a specialized program for girls at Chesapeake High designed to provide experiences through public service to highly motivated girls that will, in turn, empower them to be the female leaders of tomorrow. During her four years in GEM, Rachel has learned what it means to give back to others through many service activities, such as manicures for nursing home residents or activities at centers for disadvantaged children.

In her spare time, Rachel is a member of the varsity volley ball and lacrosse teams and works two part-time jobs. One of those jobs is writing as a free lance columnist for She can be very proud of all that she has accomplished.

Woman of the Year 2011

Phyllis Coley 2011 Woman of the Year winner.
Phyllis N. Coley

Phyllis Coley is the School Counselor at the Renaissance Academy in Baltimore. A graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Ms. Coley earned a Master's Degree from Johns Hopkins University in School Counseling with a special concentration in Urban Counseling. She is a member of the Baltimore County Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.

In both her professional and community life, Ms. Coley has a deep passion for serving our youth by helping them in every way possible with the complex processes of college application and enrollment. After implementing numerous successful programs at the Renaissance Academy, Ms. Coley recognized a similar need for such programs in her Randallstown community. She founded Pure Potential Enterprises, a non-profit organization made up of three divisions: Clear Vision, Le Pearls, and Collegiate and Career Counseling. Collegiate and Career Counseling  assists parents and students with the college application process and financial aid. The Clear Vision program works in conjunction with the Collegiate and Career Counseling program by having college students share a peer perspective of college life with high school students. Le Pearls is an organization for young teenaged girls with a focus on community service.

In addition to these community programs, in June 2010 Ms. Coley sponsored a Youth Symposium for Baltimore County youth entitled Embracing My Destiny. The purpose of the symposium was to bring together parents, students and community partners with information about college scholarships, how to create a “Vision Map”, how to pursue special talents, and to provide a safe and non- threatening forum for discussion on the college admission process. Motivational speakers attended the conference to share their success stories and to advise others on how to overcome obstacles.

Most recently, Ms. Coley was a panelist expert for Delta Sigma Theta’s EMBODI Initiative (Empowering Males to Build Opportunities for Developing Independence) focusing on the state of crisis of young African American males.

We congratulate Ms. Coley on her many accomplishments and celebrate her selection as Woman of the Year 2011.

The 2011 Women Making a Difference Award

Lillian Tomecek 2011 Making a Difference Award winner.
Lillian Elizabeth Tomecek

Lillian Tomecek is a one woman task force in her Eastpoint/Hawthorne Community with an impressive list of annual accomplishments. As the Community Programs Director for Hawthorne Civic Association, Lillian Co-Chairs the annual Community Info Fair, which connects communities with over 50 government services and medical providers with programs designed to assist the elderly, the disabled, and the homeless. She also Co-Chairs the annual Middle River Bein’ Green Partnership dedicated to cleaning up the Middle River Watershed, Cow Pens Creek, Dark Head Cove, and the Hawthorne Waterfront. Lillian has brought together many  volunteers from various schools, businesses, and programs for errant youth to work together to improve their local environment. She is also the Chairperson of the Community Yard Sale and Flea Market, held twice a year with proceeds used to fund the Civic Association’s work. Lillian also chairs the annual Dumpster Day, working in concert with both the Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation and the Lutheran Mission Society and Goodwill to not only remove trash and debris, but to also redirect serviceable furniture and household goods to the needy.

At Thanksgiving and Christmas, Lillian Chairs a committee through the Civic Association that provides food, clothing and toys for a dozen families.

In 2010 she was the Co-Chair of the Census effort in the Hawthorne-Middle River area, coordinating community volunteers and public relations for the US Census Bureau. For the past 10 years, Lillian has served as an Election Judge on Election Day. As if this were not enough to fulfill her civic duty, Lillian considers herself to be a member of the world community as well. Through her work with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a national, corporate non-profit support fund, Lillian has acquired  thousands of dollars in funding for programs such as the Streets of Hope Homeless Shelter, the Lutheran World Hunger Relief Program, Beyond Borders Haiti Relief, and USO Calling Cards for GI’s Program. In 2009 Lillian received the Thrivent Financial Golden Heart Award for her passion and outstanding work in providing financial support, clothing, food and medical assistance to those in need.

Revised March 13, 2014

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