Home NewsBusiness Galveston Women’s Conference to Honor Outstanding “Ann McLeod Moody” Women of the Year Honorees

Galveston Women’s Conference to Honor Outstanding “Ann McLeod Moody” Women of the Year Honorees

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The 16th Annual Galveston Women’s Conference is set to take place on Friday, September 15, 2023, at the Moody Gardens Convention Center. This year’s event will celebrate the achievements and contributions of exceptional women in the community. The conference will proudly honor the “Ann McLeod Moody” Women of the Year during lunch, as well as recognize the “Mary Ellen Doyle” Legacy Woman of the Year, Susanne Sullivan.

The “Ann McLeod Moody” Women of the Year award is a prestigious recognition given to individuals who have made substantial positive impacts on the community through their exceptional leadership, dedication, and accomplishments. The conference will shine a spotlight on the following remarkable honorees:

Genette Bassett, a third-generation Galvestonian, has made a lasting impact on the community as a proud owner of Gracie’s and Galveston Island Dry Goods, alongside her family. Her commitment to education, community nonprofits, and local businesses showcases her passion for making a positive difference. With a legacy spanning over three decades, Genette’s unwavering dedication remains a testament to the spirit of Galveston’s vibrant community. 

Renae Bentley, owner of Bent on Healthy Living Wellness Center, is being honored for her remarkable journey from being a dedicated mother and educator to becoming a fitness entrepreneur and community advocate. Her commitment to promoting health and wellness has spanned nearly four decades, inspiring many through her fitness classes and community engagement.

Mia Gradney, an accomplished news anchor and journalist who has not only produced award-winning content but has served as the women’s conference’s esteemed emcee for many years. With a career spanning historic hurricanes, major sporting events, and Hollywood premieres, Mia’s commitment to underrepresented voices is reflected in her Emmy awards, Gracie Award, and Edward R. Murrow awards. Beyond journalism, Mia’s volunteer work and advocacy amplify her dedication to service and empowerment, embodying the conference’s spirit.

Rebecca Lilley, a distinguished member of the Memorial Hermann leadership team, is being recognized for her outstanding contributions to healthcare. Her dedication to improving physician satisfaction, patient care, and community engagement has left a lasting impact on the healthcare landscape of southeast Texas.

June Collins Pulliam, the Executive Director of Fanfare! Lutheran Music Academy is being honored for her dedication to nurturing the artistic and musical talents of Galveston’s youth. Her extensive involvement in various boards and organizations reflects her unwavering commitment to the betterment of the community.

Saralyn Richard, an award-winning mystery and children’s book author, is being acknowledged for her literary accomplishments and her extensive community involvement. Her dedication to education, volunteering, and supporting aspiring writers embodies the spirit of the Women of the Year award.

Barbara Sanderson, the Executive Director of Parks, Recreation, and Community Outreach for the City of Galveston, is being recognized for her exceptional leadership, community engagement, and dedication to public service. Her tireless efforts in enhancing public spaces and fostering community connections have been instrumental in shaping the city’s quality of life.

Jeanne and Jill Shipp will make history as the conference’s first-ever mother-daughter honorees. This extraordinary duo’s journey from single motherhood to reshaping emergency healthcare highlights their exceptional determination and innovation. Their leadership has redefined patient care, resulting in the establishment of Hospitality Health ER, a prominent female-owned and operated entity. Their recognition at the conference underscores their pioneering spirit and the belief that women can accomplish anything with perseverance and faith.

Gina M. Spagnola, President and CEO of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce, expressed her enthusiasm for the upcoming conference: “The Galveston Women’s Conference is a true celebration of the remarkable achievements of women in our community. These honorees embody the spirit of empowerment, leadership, and service that inspires us all. We are excited to gather and honor these exceptional women while providing a platform for networking, learning, and growth.”


Distinguished actress Christine Baranski, known for her outstanding achievements in the entertainment industry, will serve as the keynote speaker. Baranski’s impressive accolades include multiple Emmy, two-time Tony, Screen Actors Guild, Drama Desk, and American Comedy Awards. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Baranski achieved fame through her standout performance in Tom Stoppard’s hit Broadway comedy “The Real Thing,” directed by the renowned Mike Nichols, which earned her a Tony Award and Drama Desk Award.

The Galveston Women’s Conference attracts a diverse audience of over 1,000 attendees and features a comprehensive expo boasting more than 130 vendors with products tailored to women’s interests.

Hosted by the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce, the oldest chamber of commerce in Texas since its establishment in 1845, the event is scheduled for September 15, 2023, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Moody Gardens Convention Center on Galveston Island.

For further details, visit GalvestonWomensConference.com, call Gina Spagnola at (409) 763-5326 or email gspagnola@galvestonchamber.com.

About the Galveston Women’s Conference

The Galveston Women’s Conference, a dynamic one-day event aimed at empowering women and igniting entrepreneurial spirit, draws over 1,000 participants from the region. The conference features esteemed healthcare professionals from UTMB Health and an expansive expo showcasing health and wellness products, services, jewelry, clothing, and other merchandise.

About the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce serves as the advocate for business and a catalyst for education and community development in the Galveston Region. Collaborating with over 1,000 member entities, the chamber strives to strengthen the community through advocacy for pro-growth public policies, business promotion, educational system enhancement, and the advancement of community excellence. For more information, please visit GalvestonChamber.com.

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