Ann Caulkins is the 2011 BusinessWoman of the Year
Charlotte Observer Publisher Ann Caulkins accepted the 2011 BusinessWoman of the Year award during a special luncheon at Queens on March 7.
Queens business students Mary Ward, Miranda Reynolds, CaSondra Devine, Laura Wolf and Jacqueline Myers also accepted scholarships during the event.
Ruth Shaw, formerly of Duke Energy and a devoted community servant, was the keynote speaker.
Shaw said, "Today's 'newspaper' is a hybrid beast - one that must be online when news is instantaneous and an hour ago is ancient history. Advertisers flock to the internet or Craigslist. Consumers print out coupons and discounts tailored to their shopping habits. Television, radio and the internet offer 24x7 real time news coverage and commentary to suit your tastes. Targeted on-line advertising has the eerie precision of Big Brother. Production and distribution costs rise and economic doldrums persist."
Caulkins, Shaw said, has demonstrated a unique ability to lead through such adversity and this has won her the admiration of the business community.
Caulkins was introduced by last year's winner, Carol Hevey of Time Warner Cable, who called her "a really good person with great values and optimism, who leads by example and is a role model for all women in business."
Caulkins came to Charlotte to lead The Observer as publisher six years ago. Within a year, seeing declining advertising sales as a result of the beginning of the recession, she was faced with hard choices. At the luncheon she said she drew on her 28 years of experience in journalism and the leadership and vision of her senior team at the newspaper to get through what she called "the five hardest years of my life."
Caulkins also said that becoming a mother changed her in ways that have also made her a stronger leader.
"I've had to become more efficient and to realize it's not just about me, it's about my team," she told the audience of more than 225. "I have had to learn to pick and choose from my lists of priorities. All I did before (children) was work and think about work. It made me single-dimensional as a person and as a leader."
Today, she says, she is able to work smarter and more nimbly by relying on the strength of the newspaper's employees.
Queens President Dr. Pamela Davies said, "Ann, what an inspiration you are. I admire you for your commitment to your faith, your family and your work, and we are honored to welcome you to the Queens family today."
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