RENO — Two women leaders from Elko and Ely will be honored at the 16th annual TRIUMPHANT: Celebrating Women in Leadership Awards Dinner.
The two are among six women — each representing one of the six Girl Scout focus areas — who will be recognized Nov. 15 at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks.
“TRIUMPHANT is a stunning evening of recognition for the women who are making an impact and a difference right here in our community,” said Pam Czyz, Chief Executive Officer of Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada. “Our Girl Scouts see themselves in these female role models, and they are inspired to be change makers and champions in their community, country and world.”
The S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) award goes to Ruby B. Johnson of Elko, a mining engineer and founder and editorial director of STEMher by Ruby B. Johnson Magazine and the When You Believe Foundation.
Johnson is a mining engineer for the U.S. Forest Service and reviews exploration and mining reclamation bonds for the agency, as well as doing bond releases. She reviews National Environmental Policy Act documents for forest- and region-wide mine projects and serves as mining specialist and administrative record-keeper for several mining and reclamation projects in the forest.
Her passion for STEM follows her outside her profession as well. As an advocate for the recruitment and retention of girls and women in STEM, she is currently developing a magazine called STEMher by Ruby B. Johnson to celebrate and inspire girls and women in STEM education and careers. In 2010, she also founded the When You Believe Foundation – an organization committed to the empowerment of girls and women in all walks of life.
As Miss Sierra Leone USA 2012, Miss Earth Maryland 2015, Miss Elko USA 2018 and Miss Nevada USA 2018 Photogenic Award Winner, Johnson has used her STEM-powered platform to visit schools and various groups to educate and empower girls and women.
The Community Service award goes to Mary Kerner. Hailing from Ely, Kerner runs the statewide nonprofit Rural Nevada Development Corp. She oversees and markets all of the programs and opportunities the RNDC offers, providing access to capital for businesses that are unable to achieve regular financing, assisting with down payments for first-time homebuyers, and facilitating a weatherization program to help ensure homes are energy efficient as well as a rehabilitation program that addresses safety and soundness in homes.
Mary is community-minded and is also an avid volunteer. She volunteers her time and expertise as a financial literacy teacher at an alternative high school to students who are at risk of not graduating. She also helps with the Ely Elks Lodge Veterans Affairs Community, sits on the Community Social Services Grants Board and is involved with the White Pine County Chamber of Commerce.
Other honorees this year are CJ Manthe from the Nevada Department of Business & Industry (Financial Literacy); Dr. Kristen Averyt from the Desert Research Institute (Environmental Leadership & Responsibility); Dr. Pamela Netuschil from Love Yourself, Gentle Healing Therapies: A Concierge Practice for Women (Healthy Living); and Karen D. Purcell from PK Electrical, Inc. (Entrepreneurship).