NOW’s 50th Anniversary Gala will honor women whose lives epitomize the very definition of “intrepid” —resolutely courageous, fearless, bold.

Join us as we honor and celebrate our Intrepid Award honorees: Christine Brennan, Elizabeth Shuler, Chandra Wilson, and the founders of AWARE.

The Gala will be hosted by television anchor Maureen Bunyan.

Christine Brennan


Christine Brennan is an award-winning national sports columnist for USA Today, a commentator for ABC News, CNN and PBS NewsHour, a best-selling author and a nationally-known speaker. Twice named one of the country’s top 10 sports columnists by the Associated Press Sports Editors, she has covered the last 16 Olympic Games, summer and winter, and has reported from more than 20 countries.

Brennan was the first woman sports writer at The Miami Herald in 1981 and the first woman to cover Washington’s NFL team as a staff writer at The Washington Post in 1985. She was the first president of the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM) and started a scholarship-internship program that has supported more than 130 female students over the past two decades.

The best-selling author of seven books, Brennan is a member of the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame and the Medill School of Journalism Hall of Achievement at her alma mater, Northwestern University. She has received honorary degrees from Tiffin (Ohio) University and the University of Toledo and is a member of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees.


Elizabeth H. Shuler

Liz Shuler

Elizabeth Shuler is the secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO, holding the second-highest position in the labor movement. She not only is the first woman elected as the federation’s secretary-treasurer, but also holds the distinction of being the youngest officer ever to sit on the federation’s Executive Council.

Shuler is active with many women’s causes. She is a member of the boards of the Women’s Campaign Fund, a bipartisan fundraising organization that aims to boost the number of women holding public office; Women’s Policy Inc., the caucus organization for women members of Congress; and the National Women’s Law Center. She also volunteered for many years with the International Women’s Democracy Center, an organization that sponsors mentoring programs encouraging women to run for office and seek change in countries overseas. Shuler also represents the AFL-CIO on various boards and committees, including the Women’s Committee of the International Trade Union Confederation.

As a graduate of the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism, ever since 1992, Liz has used every job as an opportunity to stand up for the underdog. Shuler’s efforts to broaden the union movement and to improve the economy for all working people defies many negative stereotypes the public has about unions. She is committed to busting those myths and helping unions show their diversity, their innovative approaches, their role in the workplace of the future and the quality improvement a union voice on the job can bring.

Chandra Wilson


Chandra Wilson is an award-winning actress and director, best known for her portrayal of Dr. Miranda Bailey on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She has garnered the Screen Actors Guild, People’s Choice, Prism, and three NAACP Image Awards, and earned four Emmy Award nominations. In addition to acting accolades, Wilson received an NAACP Image Award for her directing of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

Wilson starred in “Muted,” which won the HBO Short Film Competition at the American Black Film Festival and won Best Acting Performance at the SOHO International Film Festival for the role. She gave an Emmy-nominated performance in Hallmark Channel’s “Accidental Friendship.” Additionally, for her portrayal of Bonna Willis in “The Good Times are Killing Me,” Wilson won a Theatre World Award for Outstanding Debut Performance. Wilson has had a prolific career with numerous film, television, and Broadway credits.

Wilson serves as national spokesperson for the Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association ( whose mission is to raise awareness about mitochondrial disease. She manages the Sermoonjoy Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships, and the Sermoonjoy Fellowship Fund, which provides annual fellowships to mid-career actors. More philanthropic information can be found at and

A native of Houston, Texas, Wilson began performing at age five. She is a graduate of Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

The Founders of AWARE

Friedman, Justus, Avirom, Copperman
Friedman, Justus, Avirom, Copperman

AWARE (Assisting Women through Action, Resources & Education – is a grass-roots organization dedicated to promoting awareness and generating funds in order to make meaningful improvements in the lives of women and girls in the New York City and Connecticut communities. Each year, AWARE creates a partnership with one carefully-selected, under-resourced charity. AWARE then organizes a fundraiser, a hands-on volunteer event and an educational symposium based on the needs of the chosen organization and the population they serve. This unique model allows AWARE to shine a focused light on meaningful women’s issues.

AWARE was originally co-founded in 1992 by a group of friends –- spearheaded by Rachel Justus and Amy Saperstein — who wanted to make a difference in the lives of deserving women and girls in their own community. AWARE’s current success is due to a passionate and dedicated team of volunteers, co-led by Cassie Avirom, Kira Copperman, Ellen Friedman and Rachel Laikind Justus in New York City and Amy Frome Saperstein in Connecticut.

Laikind Justus, Frome Saperstein
Justus, Saperstein

Cassie Avirom is the Office Manager for Seven Harbour Global, a hedge fund in New York City. Kira Copperman, LMSW, President of KBC Consulting and author of Send/Receive/Confirm, is an executive coach and facilitator specializing in workplace communication. Ellen Friedman is EVP of RPG, a global visual merchandising and retail design build firm. She leads business development, account management and creative vision for RPG and many distinguished clients. Rachel Laikind Justus, LCSW, a Social Worker in Women and Children’s Services at Mount Sinai Hospital since 1998, currently leads the Woman to Woman gynecologic oncology support program. Amy Frome Saperstein is the former Executive Director of Project Sunshine, which provides volunteer programming to hospitalized children and their families.

Maureen Bunyan

Gala Emcee

A 44-year veteran of television news, Maureen Bunyan anchors the 6 o’clock weeknight newscasts for ABC7-WJLA-TV/ She is known as a leader in the newsroom and an advocate for women and minorities in journalism. She is a founder of the International Women’s Media Foundation, which serves women in the media in 100 countries. She is also a founder of the National Association of Black Journalists, where she was inducted into the Hall of Fame in January of 2014.

In recognition of her significant contributions to broadcasting, Maureen has been honored with numerous professional and community service awards including begin named Washingtonian of the Year. In addition, she was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Washington Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, The Silver Circle of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Broadcast Pioneers Club of Washington.

She has also been awarded seven local Emmys, and the “Ted Yates Award,” given to Washington, DC news broadcasters who are leaders in the profession. In June of 2014, she was knighted and inducted into The Order of Orange-Nassan, a Dutch order of chivalry. She was inducted for her longstanding commitment to build and strengthen ties between Aruba and the United States. She has an extensive record of serve to the community.

She attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Columbia University School of Journalism and holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

NOW members will recall her participation as the Emcee at the Intrepid Awards events honoring women for their significant achievements and leadership. She will be with us once again for the 50th Anniversary Gala on June 23.