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  • Lacrystal Parker

Global Entrepreneur Marie Y. Lemelle Honored at the Inaugural Cultural Inclusion Foundation Awards

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

In Celebration of International Women's Month and Women’s History Month, 40 High-Profile Women are honored for “Making a Difference” in their communities and beyond

Photo: Eugene Powers

Global Entrepreneur Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA Honored at the Inaugural Cultural Inclusion Foundation Awards in Hollywood The Cultural Inclusion Foundation (CIF) kicked off Women’s History Month with its inaugural awards dinner by honoring 40 high-profile women together on March 3 in Hollywood.

The theme, Celebrating Culturally Diverse Women "Making a Difference",

highlighted the importance of embracing cultural diversity and supporting women empowerment. Proceeds from the event benefits the National Alliance of Mental Illness Urban LA, a 501(c)3 organization.

Cultural Inclusion Foundation Honoree Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA walks the red carpet in a Carolyn Wilbourn Design. Photo: Eugene Powers

This is culturally inclusive historic night honoring diverse women from the City, County and around the world gathered to be honored but more importantly elevating the call to support persons impacted by mental illness,” said Arlise Emerson, Cultural Inclusion Foundation President and Co-Founder. “All of the women are different, yet the common thread is they are all making a difference!

The She Economy represents more than $7 Trillion annually to the economy. This trend is growing faster than any other demographic to include education, executives and CEOs. “An aggregate plan must be created to garner an ROI to this demographics,” said Global Economist and CIF Presenter Dr. E. Lance McCarthy. “Such aggregation includes connecting to all economic sectors to include political, tech, finance, international trade, sports, entertainment, family-owned businesses, and nonprofits. This type of aggregation was accomplished at the Cultural Inclusion Foundation event.

Fashion Icon, Global Economist and CIF Presenter Dr. E. Lance McCarthy congratulates Social Change Activist, playwright, Film Producer, and congratulates Social Change Activist, Playwright, Film Producer, and CIF Honoree

Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA. Photo: Eugene Powers

CIF honored selfless women who have contributed to all walks of life. Born and raised in Los Angeles County, CIF Honoree Marie Y. Lemelle stated “It’s an honor to be acknowledged by the Cultural Inclusion Foundation, my esteemed peers, and to the women whether I know you or not, we belong to a unique group on this planet.”

Lemelle spearheaded the advancement of diversity and inclusion to empower women and vulnerable communities through her business Platinum Star Media Group, Inc., a film production and talent management company. " It's a great honor to work with and be mentored with Marie. Her influence is unmatched and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to grow alongside her," said Chris Havis, Vice President of Operations for Platinum Star Media Group and Senior Talent Manager.

CIF Honorees Claim Health and Wellness President Vera Scott, CIF Honoree Chase Bank Vice President Vanessa Torres, Global Economist and CIF Presenter Dr. E. Lance McCarthy, CIF Honoree Marie Y. Lemelle, a social change advocate and global public relations consultant, and Arlise Emerson, Cultural Inclusion Foundation President and Co-Founder. The ladies are wearing Carolyn Wilbourn Designs. Photo: Valerie Vines

In a world of uncertainties, showing up no matter what is powerful. The capacity-filled room reflected the United Nations and the power of showing up to support and honor each other. “In the audience was Fatema Baldiwala from Sri Lanka who was my mentee 22 years ago,” said Lemelle. “I am proud of the woman she has become as a wife, mother, professor, writer, and activist. She proved you can have it all.” Baldiwala recited an original poem paying tribute to the international honorees. The honorees, history makers, trailblazers, and attendees are from across the US, Iran, Sri Lanka, Mexico, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Nigeria, Togo, Israel, Senegal, Armenia, Puerto Rico, South America, and Asia.

CIF Honoree Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA is surrounded by her circle of trust, Footnanny Brand CEO Gloria L. Williams, Actor Patrick Faucette, International Fashion Designer Akouavi Slater, Entertainment Consultant, Music Producer and Creator of Artists for Global Unity Raffles van Exel, Global Economist and Digital.Davos Speaker Dr. E. Lance McCarthy, and Platinum Star Media Group VP of Operations Chris Havis. Photo: Valerie Vines.

In her roles as a social change advocate, global entrepreneur, and mentor, Lemelle’s daily mantra is, “Transform Goals to Greatness.” “Looking around the room at the CIF event, it was clear that we all did the same thing, we did not give up and that speaks volumes. We have our purpose and continue to rise above adversities.”

CIF cultivates a community of collaboration. “As a Global PR Professional, the most important honor is galvanizing our connections made during the awards to create a greater impact as a collective of skill sets,” said Lemelle, CEO/ founder of Platinum Star PR. "I am proud of our unsung sheroes but even more proud of our collaboration empowerment agenda beyond the awards.”

As a nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization, CIF embraces diversity and equity with an inclusive approach bridging programs that support mental health and mental wellbeing. We focus on making the maximum positive effort for our community. CIF members and volunteers provide the momentum that helps us affect change. Using data driven models, we provide solutions that make a long-lasting difference.

"Honoring the prominence of women at the first Cultural Inclusion Foundation event epitomizes International Women's Month, a global celebration of economic, political, and social achievements of women observed annually in March," said CIF Co-Founder and Vice President Richard A. Hanner, Sr. "We applaud and acknowledge their tireless work and outstanding accomplishments in support of our collective fight to improve the quality of life for persons affected by mental illness in the respective communities they serve and worldwide."

The 2023 Honorees:

1. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass

2. First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom

3. Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager-Dove

4. Congresswoman Maxine Waters

5. Claim Health and Wellness President Vera Scott

6. LA County Board Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell

7. LA County Board Supervisor Hilda Solis

8. LA County Board Supervisor Lindsey Horvath

9. LA County Board Supervisor Janice Hahn

10. LA County Board Supervisor Kathryn Barger

11. LA City Attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto

12. LA City Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez

13. LA City Councilwoman Nithya Raman

14. LA City Councilwoman Katy Young-Yaroslavsky

15. LA City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez

16. LA City Councilwoman Heather Hutt

17. LA City Councilwoman Traci Park

18. Senegal Consulate Mame Toucouleur Mbaye

19. Chief Master Sgt. Ericka Kelly (ret.)

20. Activist and Philanthropist Daphna E. Ziman

21. Bank of America Senior VP Simone S. Branigan

22. Actress and Producer Beverly Todd

23. Management Consultant Phillipa Johnson

24. Social Change Activist/PR Consultant Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA

25. Cultural Affairs Director for LA Chargers Liliana T. Pérez

26. Olympian and Gold Medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee

27. Olympian and Gold Medalist Jeanette Bolden-Pickens

28. Chase Bank VP Vanessa Torres

29. Attorney Gihan Thomas

30. USA Cheer Coach Permella Harris

31. Activist Shaghayegh Cyrous

32. Filmmaker Mira Victor

33. TV Broadcaster/Pilot Christina Pascucci

34. Visual Artist Gale Fulton Ross

35. Entrepreneur Del Richardson

36. Attorney Demetria L. Graves

37. US Army Commander Angela N. Adams (ret.)

38. US Global Beauty Pageant Founder Sneh Misra

39. Long Beach Chamber of Commerce President Sharifah Hardie

40. Activist/Author Susan Burton “This was an amazing and thoughtful night,” said Gloria L. Williams, CEO and Founder of Footnanny Brands. “I love that all the women were included in this powerful night of girl power and emphasized that women must continue to strive to empower other women.”

CIF's mission includes the fight to improve lives affected by mental illness and supports NAMI Urban Los Angeles that was founded in 2003. It is the urban affiliate of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to educating, advocating, supporting, and building better lives for the millions of individuals & families affected by mental illness.

Contact Information:

Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA


(She/Her/Hers) why this?

Platinum Star PR

(213) 276-7827

Written by: LaCrystal Parker. For reprint permission contact,

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