Ali Center is open Wednesdays through Sundays, 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm.

Daughters of Greatness 2023


The Daughters of Greatness series honors women who are changemakers in the arenas of social philanthropy, activism, and pursuits of justice. These women embody Muhammad’s core values as they actively work to realize the Center’s vision for a more just and compassionate world where all of us—whatever our race, religion, or background—can achieve the fullest measure of our greatness.

By supporting Daughters of Greatness, you help us to amplify the voices of women who stand at the fore of social change while inspiring others to seize their power and carry forward the torch.

Guests are welcomed at 8:30 a.m. for networking and breakfast. The program runs from 9:00-10:00 a.m.

Unless otherwise noted, the format includes a hot breakfast served at 8:30 a.m. followed by the program from 9:00-10:00 a.m. Seating is limited. For reservations or more information, contact Erin Herbert at

If you would like to nominate a Daughter of Greatness, please click here!




The Muhammad Ali Center relies on donor generosity to bring the Daughters Greatness series to the public. Starting in 2023, by joining us as a Daughters sponsor at the Trailblazer level or above, you are immediately enrolled in our Corporate Membership program. Support excellence and become a corporate member today.



  • Presenting Sponsorship
  • “Presented by” recognition on all Louisville Public Media spots, emails, event materials, and event webpage
  • Six (6) dedicated social post to our combined 200k+ followers
  • Provide welcome at each of our six events
  • Two tables of ten (20 seats) to each Daughters event, as well as two (2) guaranteed seats at the MAC President’s Table
  • Gold Corporate Membership to the Center



  • Series Sponsorship
  • Recognition on emails, event materials, and event webpage
  • Two tables of ten (20 seats) to each Daughters event, as well as one (1) guaranteed seat at the MAC President’s Table
  • Silver Corporate Membership to the Center



  • Table Sponsorship
  • Logo recognition on all day-of event materials and event webpage
  • Table of ten (10) for all 2023 events
  • Bronze Corporate Membership to the Center



  • Table Sponsorship
  • Table of eight (8) for all 2023 events

To learn more about how you can support this critical program, contact Theresa Burridge, Assistant Development Director at (502) 296-3203,, or visit here to purchase your sponsorship today.


Betty Winston Baye'

April 14, 2023 

A native New Yorker, Betty Winston Baye ́ is an independent journalist, motivational speaker, and author of three books, The Africans, Blackbird, and The Book of David: My East Harlem Love Story. She earned a master’s degree at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, and a bachelor's degree from Hunter College, City University of New York. She moved to Louisville in 1984 to join The Courier-Journal, where for 27 years her positions included reporter, assistant metro editor, editorial writer, and columnist. Betty's syndicated commentaries about race, politics, social justice, African American history, and the Black family drew a loyal audience, awards and TV and radio appearances. She was the lone African American on The CJ's editorial board from 1991 to 2011. Betty was one of 12 American journalists awarded a prestigious Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University in 1990-91. Betty is a past President of the Louisville Association of Black Communicators, and a past Vice President of the National Association of Black Journalists. In 2013 NABJ inducted her into its Hall of Fame. In 2016, Simmons College of Kentucky awarded Betty an honorary doctorate degree for her advocacy journalism. She produced and hosted The Betty Bayé Show on WYCS-TV in Louisville for eight years, and was a member of The Trotter Group, a national collective of Black opinion writers, for more than a decade. She conceived and co-hosts "Good Grief, Good Gossip, Good God,” a talk show on St. Stephen Baptist Church’s SSCLive TV. Betty is a member of the Louisville Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., Chums of Louisville Inc., and the Zora Neale Hurston book club which she founded in 1999.

This event is sold out!

Lonita Baker

June 2, 2023

Lonita K. Baker serves as Corporate Counsel for Waystar, Inc. following a notable career in personal injury litigation. Additionally, she previously served as an Assistant Jefferson County Attorney in the Legislative Services Branch of the Civil Division and as a Supervising Prosecutor in the Criminal Division. Attorney Baker began her legal career at the Louisville Metro Public Defender Corporation.

In 2020, Attorney Baker gained national attention in her representation of the family of Breonna Taylor. This case was one of the pivotal points in Attorney Baker’s career resulting in a ground- breaking settlement with the City of Louisville which included terms of police reform in addition to one of the largest financial awards for an individual civil rights case to date.

Attorney Baker graduated from the University of Louisville in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and minors in Sociology and Pan-African Studies. She continued her studies at the University of Louisville at the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law obtaining her Juris Doctor in 2006. In 2017, she obtained a Master of Business Administration with Distinction from the University of Louisville College of Business.

Attorney Baker has shown her commitment to the legal community consistently throughout her career. She is the current President of the National Bar Association ("NBA"), after previously serving as a Vice-President, Member at Large, Chief of Staff, and Chief of Communications. Attorney Baker also served multiple terms as President of the Charles W. Anderson, Jr. Bar Association an NBA Affiliate Chapter. Attorney Baker has also served the Louisville legal community by serving on the Board of Directors for the Louisville Bar Association and as an adjunct professor at the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law. She also served as the lead attorney for the Louisville Urban League Reily Re- entry Expungement Program.

Attorney Baker has received several awards for her service to the legal profession including being named a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney by the National Bar Association (2015) and The National Black Trial Lawyers (2017), receiving six Presidential Awards from the National Bar Association (2016, 2017, 2019, 2021, and 2022), and being named the 2019 Justice Award recipient from the Louisville Urban League. In 2020, Attorney Baker earned recognition as a Top 40 Under 40 by Louisville Business First, a Wiley Branton Awardee by the National Bar Association, and the Daniel M. Alvarez Champion for Justice Award by the Louisville Bar Association. In 2021, Attorney Baker was awarded the Equal Justice Award by the National Bar Association and the R. Eugene Pincham award by Cook County Bar Association. Most recently, she was recognized by the Charles Houston Bar Association as the Kamala Harris Woman of Excellence honoree. Attorney Baker is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Helene Gayle

September 15, 2023

 Helene D. Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., began serving as the 11th president of Spelman College on July 1, 2022. Dr. Gayle previously served as president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. Under her leadership, the Trust adopted a new strategic focus on closing the racial and ethnic wealth gap in the Chicago region.

For almost a decade, Dr. Gayle was president and CEO of CARE, a leading international humanitarian organization. A pediatrician and public health physician with expertise in economic development, humanitarian, and health issues, she spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control, working primarily on HIV/AIDS. She led the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s programs on HIV/AIDS and other global health issues.

Dr. Gayle serves on public company and nonprofit boards, including The Coca-Cola Company, Organon, Palo Alto Networks, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Brookings Institution, Center for Strategic and International Studies, New America and the ONE Campaign. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, Council on Foreign Relations, American Public Health Association, National Medical Association, and American Academy of Pediatrics.

She was awarded the Chicago Mayor’s Medal of Honor for her work on COVID relief and recovery for the city. Named one of Forbes’ “100 Most Powerful Women”, one of Forbes

“50 over 50” leaders and NonProfit Times’ "Power and Influence Top 50," she has authored numerous articles on global and domestic public health issues, poverty alleviation, gender equality, and wealth inequity.

Dr. Gayle is from Buffalo, N.Y. She earned a B.A. in psychology at Barnard College of Columbia University, an M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.P.H. at Johns Hopkins University. She is a tenured Full Professor in the Department of Environmental and Health Sciences at Spelman College and has received 18 honorary degrees. She also holds faculty appointments at the University of Washington and Emory University.

Dr. Gayle is married to Stephen Keith, MD, the First Gentleman of Spelman College and a proud Spelman dad.

Adria Johnson

November 17, 2023 

Adria Johnson embodies hope, integrity, humanity and has focused her career on lifting some of society’s most vulnerable populations and being of service to others. She is a dedicated and well-respected servant leader with almost three decades of hands-on experience in both the public and private sectors. Ms. Johnson’s proven ability to lead efforts toward reform and work collaboratively across a wide range of stakeholders have served her well not only in her current position of Chief Executive Officer for Metro United Way, but also in prior roles held in Kentucky State Government and Louisville Metro Government. Her leadership has been instrumental in bringing about expanded service provision in many areas including neighborhood revitalization supports, preventive services for children and youth at risk of abuse or neglect, comprehensive services for children and youth with greater behavioral and developmental needs, employment opportunities for youth aging out of foster care, and development of workforce opportunities for social services disciplines. In addition, Ms. Johnson stood at the forefront and led and supported efforts aimed at addressing racial disparities and equity concerns found within the populations served in child welfare. Prior to joining Metro United Way, Ms. Johnson served as Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services. Before serving in state government, Ms. Johnson held key roles in Louisville Metro Government ranging from Capital Planning Analyst in the Office of Management and Budget to Acting Director of the Department of Community Services and Revitalization. Ms. Johnson’s strong fiscal experience was gained in various roles held in the private sector earlier in her career at Humana, LG&E and Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation. Ms. Johnson completed her undergraduate studies at Ball State University and completed several post-graduate courses from the University of Louisville. She is also a published author, having published a book of poetry in 2004. She is a native of Louisville and has a daughter and two precious grandchildren. Ms. Johnson also had a son who tragically passed away in late 2022, but whose legacy continues to inspire and fuel her efforts.


Deborah Douglas

March 17, 2023 

Deborah D. Douglas is author of the “U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler’s Guide to the People, Places, and Events That Made the Movement,” the first-ever travel guide to follow the official civil rights trail in the South, and a contributor to “Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019.” Among her many recognitions, she received Chicago’s prestigious Studs Terkel Award and the Society of American Travel Writers 2021 Guidebook of the Year.

Douglas is a senior lecturer and director of the newly created Midwest Solutions Journalism Hub at Northwestern University. She is a founding editor in chief of The Emancipator, a digital platform that reimagines abolitionist newspapers for a new day. She previously served as the Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor at DePauw University, senior leader with The OpEd Project, amplifying underrepresented expert voices, and founding managing editor of MLK50: Justice Through Journalism.

While teaching at Northwestern University, she spearheaded a graduate investigative journalism capstone on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and taught best practices in Karachi, Pakistan. Douglas’ adventures in thought leadership were seeded at the Chicago Sun-Times where she served as Deputy Editorial Page Editor/Columnist.

Douglas’ reporting and opinions have been published widely, including The Guardian, Ms, ProPublica, Time, The Boston Globe, American Prospect, VICE News, The Crisis, USA Today and O, The Oprah Magazine. In 2016, her reporting on Black women and erasure was cited by The New York Times magazine.

A product of the Great Migration, Deborah D. Douglas is Northern-born and Southern-rooted. 

Linda Sarsour

February 10, 2022

Linda Sarsour is an award-winning racial justice and civil rights activist, seasoned community organizer, direct action strategist, and mother of three. Ambitious, outspoken and independent, Linda shatters stereotypes of Muslim women while also treasuring her religious and ethnic heritage. She is a Palestinian Muslim American and a self-proclaimed “pure New Yorker, born and raised in Brooklyn!” She is the co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change and co-founder of Until Freedom, an intersectional racial justice organization focused on direct action and power building in communities of color. Until Freedom is best known for their work on the Breonna Taylor police murder case in Louisville, Kentucky.


Linda was one of the national co-chairs of the largest single day protest in US history, the Women’s March on Washington. She has been named amongst 500 of the most influential Muslims in the world. She was recognized as one of Fortune’s 50 Greatest Leaders and featured as one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Linda was the youngest woman and first Muslim to receive the Margaret Brent Medal at St. Mary’s College. She has been honored by dozens of local and national entities including the New York Women’s Foundation, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, The New York City Council, President Barack Obama, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, The Black Institute, NAACP New York Conference, and the Ms. Foundation. Linda is the author of, “We Are Not Here to Be Bystanders: A Memoir of Love & Resistance” published by Simon & Schuster and “We’re In This Together” aimed at young teens. She is most recognized for her transformative intersectional organizing work and movement building.

Linda Sarsour Instagram: lsarsour


Twitter: @lsarsour

Carolyn Tandy

November 18, 2022

Carolyn Tandy leads the inclusion, diversity and equity efforts as the SVP, Chief Inclusion and Diversity Officer at Humana. She is responsible for elevating Humana’s inclusion and diversity focus and infusing cultural competency across all corners of the company and in the communities where we live and work. Additionally, Carolyn oversees Humana’s enterprise culture initiatives to continue to strengthen the organization’s culture and engagement across the company. Previously, Carolyn served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Texas Roadhouse where she led the company’s national diversity and inclusion strategy for more than 70,000 employees across 58 markets. She was responsible for leading the company’s culture-shaping strategies for corporate culture, workforce development, minority and women's business development and driving forward community relations. By partnering with several external organizations to develop key relationships for community support and pathway initiatives for recruitment, hiring and retention, Carolyn was instrumental in helping Texas Roadhouse earn recognition as top employer for diversity and for women. Additionally, Carolyn brings a wealth of experience in strategic initiatives and leadership development, serving for more than 10 years as the Director of Congressman John Yarmuth’s District Office and constituent outreach efforts. Earlier in her career she was the Director of African American Outreach for the Democratic National Committee and Senior Advisor, Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy. Carolyn earned her BA degree at Gordon College and is a certified Diversity and Inclusion professional from Cornell University. She received her master’s degree in Management and Leadership from Webster University. When not leading the way at work and in her community, she can be found spending time with her husband, David, and three wonderful children.

Karina Barillas

September 23, 2022

Karina Barillas is one of the co-founders and the Executive Director of La Casita Center, a Community of Latinx Hospitality, unique in the state of Kentucky.  La Casita enhances the well-being of Louisville’s Latino community through education, empowerment, advocacy, and wellness and works intentionally to build a thriving community based on mutual support and respect.

Karina is a native from Guatemala. Through a Fulbright scholarship in 1996, Karina earned her BA, with a minor in English, Psychology and Education, at the University of Louisville. She received her Masters in Education with a concentration in Counseling Psychology from the University of Louisville in 2002. Karina worked for eight years advocating, accompanying, and supporting Latina victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault at the Center for Women and Families. For three years, she was the co-host of the first Spanish TV Show in Kentucky, Amigos en Louisville, a social, informational, and educational program.

Karina has received many accolades for her work and commitment to community including:  the National Conference for Community and Justice’s Peace Maker Humanitarian Award (2004), the Arte Sana National Latina Advocate Award (2006), the “Alden Fellowship” by the Community Foundation of Louisville (2015), the Tower Award on Service and Advocacy by Presentation Academy (2016), Trinity High School Peace Medal (2018), Business Women’s First Enterprising Women Award (2020), the University of Louisville Community Spirit Award (2017), and the 2017 Most Outstanding Latin@s in Louisville. In 2018, the Community Foundation of Louisville named Karina one of the 13 “Forces of Good” in our community, honoring her work by featuring her work with a billboard. In November 2020, the Mexican Government presented Karina with the Ohtli Award, an honor that recognizes invaluable work and assistance to the Mexican Community living in the US. In the summer of 2020, the Courier Journal featured Karina in the article “Matriarch of La Casita dedicates life to amplifying voices of Louisville’s Latinx Community.” This year, the Center for Women and Families honored Karina as a Woman of Distinction, for her 22 years of work accompanying families victimized by Domestic Violence. In that same month, Metro United Way and Louisville's Office for Women highlighted Karina as one of Louisville’s Impactful Women. On June 17, Karina received the 2022 “Keepers of the Dream Freedom Award,” being the first Latina to receive such an honor and recognition. Karina is the proud mother of Ali and Fatimah, and loves to dance salsa, sing, garden and cook with her loving husband Louis.

Nöella Coursaris Musunka

April 29, 2022

Noëlla Coursaris Musunka, a Congolese/Cypriot philanthropist and international model, is the Founder & CEO of Malaika, a grassroots nonprofit that educates and empowers girls and communities in her home country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo through a school, a community center, and a comprehensive clean water program. A unique and fearless spokesperson, and the face of leading beauty and fashion campaigns across the globe, Noëlla is a voice for the power of girls’ education worldwide. Founded in 2007, Malaika’s education and health programs are today impacting thousands of lives and are all offered free of charge. Crucially, Malaika acts as a local model that can be replicated on a global level. Noëlla has shared her insight at a number of world-class forums spanning the World Economic Forum in Davos to the university halls of Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, and MIT. In 2017, Noëlla was named one of the BBC’s 100 Most Influential & Inspirational Women of the Year, and in 2018, she received an award at the 100 Years of Mandela celebration. She is also an Advisor at Concordia and an Ambassador for the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

Learn more about Malaika at



Nzinga Garvey

June 3, 2022

As the granddaughter of Pan-Africanists Marcus Mosiah Garvey and Amy Jacques Garvey, Nzinga Garvey proudly continues the tradition of ‘faithful service’ to elevate our collective consciousness and celebrate our collective humanity. The Garvey legacy has left an indelible mark as evidenced by the global internalization of Black Pride, Black Excellence, Black Power and Black Beauty.

Ms. Garvey’s career path is one of fearless transitions leading her to be a substantive agent of change in the behavioral health space. Ms. Garvey currently serves as General Manager at LivingWell (a business unit of UrgentPoint Medical Group) that specializes in the delivery of hybrid medical and psychiatric services to support the unmet health and wellness needs of behavioral/mental health patients. In this role, she works collaboratively with addiction, integrative and functional medicine specialists; forging a new healthcare experience committed to whole-person care. Ms. Garvey remains committed to the use of technology as a means to enhance the patient experience and to deliver increased measured health outcomes.

Throughout her career, Ms Garvey has lent her talents to serve humanitarian interests that included working with Bono and ONE to launch a social media incubator to combat energy poverty, Akon and Samsung Africa to launch Smart Health, a mobile health and wellness app focused on providing accurate baseline information on HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria as well as Peace One Day (Peace Day concert in Goma, Congo on September 21, 2014) to engage a global community in its celebration and observance of sustained peace (the televised/streamed concert reached 65 million+ global viewers).

Most recently, Ms. Garvey is working with McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences on a signature program initiative, One Health, designed to address healthcare disparities by providing scholarships and other needed resources to POC medical students. In addition, One Health will mold the academic curriculum to include extensive training that develops more culturally competent/sensitive healthcare providers.

Past Honorees

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