The event was organized by Clare Counihan, the program coordinator for faculty and staff at the Carolina Women’s Center.
She said the idea behind the luncheon was to increase the recognition given to previous UAAW winners and to give them a platform to share their ideas with the public.
“We wanted to expand the celebration, and then the other thing we wanted to do was really draw on the knowledge that previous winners represent,” she said.
“They have all accomplished remarkable things in their various corners of the University.”
The four previous award winners in attendance were Robert Pleasants, Laurie McNeil, Terri Phoenix and Jenny Ting. Each brought their own perspective to the overall discussion of gender equity.
Ting, a professor in the UNC School of Medicine and program leader at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, said she attended the event to tell her story in an effort to inspire women to advance their careers and society in general.
“I just thought: It’s important that you come and tell people your experience, so people can say ‘Oh if she can do it, I can do it,’” she said.
“I’ve actually frequently had people who’ve said ‘If you can do it, I feel like I can do it,’ and I don’t think I’m anything supernatural or special.”