Step Up Announces Return of Inspiration Awards
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 29, 2023 ~ Step Up, a mentorship nonprofit that guides girls and those who identify with girlhood to their success, announced today the return of its Inspiration Awards. The fundraising event, which has been on a COVID-related hiatus since 2019, will also expand to Chicago for the first time in the organization's history. Both the October and November dates will celebrate those who inspire women and girls to pursue their dreams of success.

The Inspiration Awards will be held at the Skirball Cultural Center on October 6, 2023 in Los Angeles and at Artifact Events on November 16, 2023 in Chicago. The event will begin with a red carpet followed by a reception where guests will celebrate 25 years of Step Up mentorship. Attendees will hear from girls and mentors who have been involved with the organization over the years and join Step Up CEO Delores Druilhet Morton in recognizing 2023's honorees.

The executive honoree in Los Angeles is Suzanne Lerner, co-founder, president and CEO of Michael Stars. Lerner is being recognized for her activism and philanthropy in funding grassroots and community organizations that build critical pathways to gender and racial equity. Her award will be presented by actress and television personality Garcelle Beauvais.

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Gladis Ramirez (Alliance Gertz-Ressler High School Class of 2023 and UCLA Class of 2027) is being introduced as the teen honoree in Los Angeles. Ramirez aspires to create her own business to market secondhand and reasonably-priced apparel to her neighborhood. "I value persistence because it has allowed me to get to where I am now," she said. "I would have been mentally unstable and missed out on the chance to enroll in top universities and pursue my aspirations."

Sonia Menon, chief operating officer of Neal Gerber Eisenberg, has been selected as the executive honoree in Chicago for her commitment to mentorship and her work designing her firm's corporate social responsibility program, including initiatives that enhance recruitment, advancement, and retention of traditionally underrepresented lawyers. Menon's award will be presented by colleague Elizabeth Radichel who is also a member of Step Up's national board of directors.

Monica Laddaran (Dominican University Class of 2022) is being honored as the Young Adult Honoree in Chicago. Laddaran's career goal is to make an impact on others through working with clients or using her creative skills to improve experiences: "I believe everyone deserves an equal chance at anything," she said "no matter what background you may have or come from."

Previous Step Up Inspiration Awards honorees include Gabrielle Union, Regina Hall, Zoe Saldana, Tracee Ellis Ross, Anne Hathaway among others. For more information about this year's Inspiration Awards benefiting Step Up visit or follow their social handles below using hashtag #InspirationAwards!
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