Nearing its 27th year of celebrating Black achievement throughout Florida, ONYX Magazine hosted the ninth annual ONYX Magazine’s Women on the Move (WOTM) along with Founding Partner Orlando Health and Kickoff Reception Sponsor Bahamasair. The nationally recognized two-day event lauded 22 Black women in Florida and beyond during Women’s History Month.

On Thursday, March 7, ONYX Magazine held a kickoff reception at the Orlando Museum of Art, with Bahamasair Holdings, Ltd. Award-winning journalist Annetta Wilson interviewed Woman of the Year Juliet Daniel, Ph.D., International Woman on the Move Tanya Pratt, and the 2023 Woman of the Year, Trisha Bailey, Ph.D., about Black women in leadership. Also, in two exquisite performances, NuLook School of Performing Arts students danced before the audience of 200 attendees, women’s groups and businesses showered the honorees with gifts, and ONYX unveiled the March/April issue, with Daniel gracing the cover.

On Friday, March 8, at the sold-out awards luncheon on International Women’s Day, honorees received their awards at The Alfond Inn in Winter Park, Fla. More than 300 business and community leaders attended. “I am both humbled and ecstatic and express best wishes to the Women on the Move class of 2024,” said ONYX Magazine Publisher Rich Black. “I am amazed when approached by business and community leaders say they cannot find qualified Black women or men to serve on their boards or key positions. I find this to be troubling, as I encounter these accomplished Black professionals every day. It is my hope that the ecosystem ONYX Magazine’s WOTM and “Men of Honor” have created will be engaged by a cross-section of business leaders to select qualified professionals in the future.”

“Woman of the Year” Juliet Daniel, Ph.D., is a biology professor and researcher at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. Daniel discovered and named the Kaiso gene in 1999. Kaiso plays a role in how quickly cancer grows throughout the body. Her research focuses on how the gene impacts aggressive and difficult-to-treat cancer subtypes that disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic women. Now, she seeks to discover whether drugs can be developed to inhibit Kaiso’s function.

“I am incredibly humbled and honored to be this year’s ONYX Magazine’s Woman of the Year,” said Daniel, recalling a story about competing in a ping-pong tournament in graduate school. “My male opponent had all these fancy shots, and my skill seemed to be good hand-eye coordination. (I and the crowd) heard him say under his breath, ‘I can’t let a girl beat me.’ (The crowd) came to my side and chanted, ‘Play your game.’ I am proud to say I won the tournament because I focused on what I did best rather than trying to be like my opponent,” she said. “Even now, when I feel intimidated in a professional situation, I remind myself to play my game. So, be your authentic self and play your game. Do you—don’t try to be like anyone else; try to be the best version of yourself.”

“International Woman on the Move” Tanya Pratt is the first woman to lead the Board of Directors at Bahamasair Holdings, Ltd. “Through the grace of God, ladies, we have made it,” said Pratt. “We hear it all the time about us breaking the glass ceiling, but what does that mean to you? Are you paying it forward? Who are you bringing along with you? Are you creating opportunities for other sisters to break the glass ceiling? We must remember the importance of embracing and empowering through our role as women.”

Punctuating the importance of education, the ONYX Foundation awarded four scholarships to high school and college students provided by Orlando Health during the event. Other highlights included a beautiful performance by Cyan Love of the Orlando Ballet Company and School. Chair Dee Parker of Parker Realty, Co-chair Nany Port Schwalb of Schwalb Public Relations, and the Women on the Move Steering Committee led the event. Award-winning journalist Carolyn Fennell served as emcee while Daralene Jones of Orlando’s WFTV Channel 9 introduced the Women on the Move.

“Through the leadership and vision of our honorees, communities and workplaces actively undergo a transformation, benefitting future generations,” said Parker. “I applaud our steering committee, staff, volunteers, and the supportive community for acknowledging these phenomenal women. We are also so grateful for our sponsors who have made this beautiful day come to fruition.”

Other sponsors include Entertainment Sponsor U.S. Veterans Construction; Event Sponsors are Aetna, a CVS Health Company, Central Florida Urban League, Cox Media Group, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Ballet, 90.7 WMFE, Jones and Rose, Orlando Shakes, Lift Orlando, Express Medical Wound Care, and OUC. Reception sponsors are The Wedding Décor Store Oley’s Bar B Que, Parker Realty Group, Downtown Arts District, Mason Accounting & Consulting, Definitive Beauty, Grey Wolf Defense, and White Glove Transportation.

See all 2024 honorees in the March/April issue of ONYX Magazine.