4 Women Honored at BMW ‘Pay It 4Ward’ Brunch in Atlanta


In celebration of #WomensHistoryMonth, BMW of North America and MADE Magazine honored Atlanta’s four local executives at the “Women Who Pay It 4ward” Honors brunch series.

Kicking off to the 2017 arm of the empowerment event series, the brunch recognized women who are making exceptional contributions to their fields and surrounding communities: Lalohni Campbell, president of Per Se Media Group, has been making impacts in the world of communications for more than a decade, serving on the Atlanta’s Resource for Entertainment & Arts and Atlanta Bicycle Coalition board, as well as leading international outreach for Caring For Others Inc.; Sojourner Marable Grimmett, Senior Public Affairs Officer and Digital Strategist for the Fulton County Government, serves markets ranging from education to government and volunteers affects change through her voice on various blog platforms including the YWCA, Children’s Museum of Atlanta, WSB-TV and Mom-to-Mom. Simone Harrison, a 20-year veteran in Corporate America, served as Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff for Scientific Games, and pays it forward by sponsoring professional women in the development of their careers. Sonya Halpern a freelance consultant and long-time veteran in sales, marketing and advertising, serves on the Board of Directors of the National Black Arts Festival and is an advocate of arts education. Deanna Hamilton, Vice President, Marketing & Partner Development for the National Black MBA Association, emceed for the event.

The invitation-only occasion was held at the stylish restaurant STK Atlanta Midtown and attended by a number of who’s who in business, politics, media and the arts, including Women on the Move‘s Kim McNair; James Brown‘s daughter, Dr. Yamma Brown; former “Atlanta Exes” star Monyetta Shaw; “Social Butterfly” Kimberly Byer-Clark; and Georgia Power executive and arts supporter Charmaine Ward.

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Monyetta Shaw with Deanna Hamilton. Photo Credit: Ray Cornelius

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Photo Credit: Ray Cornelius

Before the honorees accepted their awards, dozens of guests participated in the “Drive 4 A Cause” portion of the afternoon, where BMW showed off their latest BMW 2, 3, 4, or 5 series models. For each guest who took a test-drive, the company made a donation to Enchanted Closet, a 501 c3 that provides tools for enhancing the self-awareness, self esteem, self sufficiency of underserved girls.

Upbeat R&B and pop tracks set the mood for the spirited event as guests sipped on mimosas and nibbled on STK’s coveted brunch bites. BMW even gave guests a special experience in which they could ride an engine-red motorcycle with virtual reality headsets.

Deanna Hamilton gathered the crowd’s attention so each honoree could share their heartfelt, empowering story. “I’m really excited that BMW decided to launch the series in Atlanta for 2017,” she began. She invited each honoree to accept their award and share words of empowerment.

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Honorees pictured with BMW executive, Kevin Williams. Photo credit: Justin Stafford

Lalohni Campbell kicked things off empowering the audience and reflecting, “I learned early on that it’s OK to be a dreamer. But, you have to be a dreamer with a shovel in your hand.”

Sojourner Grimmett spoke about how social media plays an important role in spreading a message globally.

Simone Harrison discussed women in executive positions and the importance of women sponsors and supporters in Corporate America.

Sonya Halpern professed her love for arts education and urged the crowd to participate in their local community forums.

Before the room’s buzz stifled, Kevin Williams, head of multicultural marketing at BMW of North America, presented Enchanted Closet with a check for $1,000. Enchanted Closet CEO, Bonita Johnson, accepted the donation, sharing an inspiring message and information on its prom programs. Johns asked the audience to support the organization’s 15th Annual Prom Dress Giveaway on March 14 as wardrobe stylists.

Enchanted Closet representatives accept check for $1,000 towards Enchanted Closet. (Photo: Justin Stafford)

Enchanted Closet representatives accept check for $1,000 towards Enchanted Closet. Photo: Justin Stafford

Kris Williams, publisher of MADE Magazine, closed the program out by challenging the group to pay it forward in their local and global communities.