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National Mother of Achievement

The Mother of Achievement award was established in 2012 and recognizes outstanding women who are making an impact outside of their own families.  A Mother of Achievement should be a woman whose efforts and service have made a significant impact and achieved positive outcomes for mothers and children at the local, state, and/or national level. A nominee for this award does not need to be a mother to be eligible.

Read all about our 2019 National Mother of Achievement Honorees:

Headshot of Nancy Hughes 2019 National Mother Of Oregon

After learning that each year more than four million people—primarily women and children—die prematurely from constant exposure to smoke and indoor air pollution from open fires Nancy Hughes was inspired to take action. Armed with the belief that cooking shouldn’t kill and indeed doesn’t have to, in 2008, Nancy founded the nonprofit StoveTeam International to promote the local production of safe, affordable and fuel-efficient cook stoves to replace dangerous open fires in the developing world. StoveTeam began as a small idea from someone with a huge heart. Nancy has grown StoveTeam from an add-on to a medical mission to a nonprofit organization that has bettered the lives of over half-a-million people in just 10 years. The organization’s success is largely due to Nancy’s leadership and selfless devotion to clean cook stoves. Her passion, drive, and energy are infectious to those around her, reminding us all what a profound difference we can make when we put our minds AND hearts to it.Nancy won the 2011 Purpose Prize, a prestigious international award given by the Templeton Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies to a nonprofit founder over the age of 60. In 2013, she was recognized both as a CNN Hero and a White House Champion of Change. She is the mother of two daughters and a son, and the grandmother of two. She has been the host parent to more than 50 international students.

Headshot of Wanda Ortero-flores 2019 National Mother Of Puerto Rico

In 1997, Wanda, a licensed microbiologist, founded a Milk Laboratory for the testing and quality control of the milk produced by Puerto Rican farmers prior to its delivery to dairy treatment plants.   Thus, Puerto Rican families were assured of consuming healthy milk free of disease and bacteria. As the 2008 economic crisis swept across the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico experienced its fair share of financial struggles. Dairy farmers scrambled to stay afloat.  Wanda bartered with them, testing the milk in exchange for additional milk. Nearly 10 years later, Vaca Negra (Black Cow) continues to grow as the leading provider of Dairy products. She currently provides free, professional services to over 200 farms and farmers for the testing of milk produced for the 2.3 million residents on the Island. She also speaks to mothers on the importance of first breastfeeding their infants and then considering the use of  locally produced milk after that process is finished. She is a strong supporter of charitable events and has been involved in helping abandoned children. During Hurricane Maria, Wanda provided free milk to orphanage and hospital babies who would have died without nutritional assistance. She did the same for nursing homes to feed the elderly. Her many awards include the Excellence and Quality Manager of the Year, by the Puerto Rico Merchants of Puerto Rican Products Association; Microbiologist of the Year, American Association of Microbiologists (USA), and a 2017 Grant Winner of $25,000 for Puerto Rico Shark Tank. Married for 27 years to Dr. Carlos Rivera-Casanova, she is the mother of Paulo, a veterinary major at Ohio University and Carla, a biologist and current graduate student.

Headshot of Deborah Neal 2019 National Mother Of Alabama

Deborah used childhood memories and experiences as a springboard to right the injustices and unrest regarding race, gender, economic deprivation, and educational inequality that she has experienced along life’s journey. She is passionate about making a difference in social justice and its reform. Deborah graduated Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.  She then received a Jurist Doctor University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law. After 19 years of practicing law in Missouri in in private and judiciary capacities, in 2017 she joined Aid to Inmate Mothers as the Mentor Coordinator. This AIM task is for a faith-based and community organization volunteer mentor program for justice-involved women in the Montgomery, AL area communities. Her current position is a beautiful follow-up to positions such as coordinating and implementing a faith -based volunteer mentor support initiative for clients referred for case management and supervised by Missouri Probation and Parole and Johnson County Department of Correction as they reintegrated to Kansas City metropolitan communities.  As a Kansas City, Missouri Municipal Judge, she rejected cases based on flagrant racial profiling by law enforcement. Deborah served as a Missouri Supreme Court appointee to statewide Gender Fairness Implementation Committee for the Missouri Courts. She testified before the Missouri legislative committees to support legislation that ended the lifetime ban for federal food stamp assistance for drug offenders. She is an advocate, a mentor, a lawyer, a wife, has been a judge, and is a tremendous example for all of us.

Headshot of Cindy Trussel 2019 National Mother Of Nevada

Cindy Trussel lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is not only the mother to five children, but also fostered and adopted three more. Cindy exceeded expectations when for eleven years she raised her children by herself, worked multiple jobs, and went beyond her capabilities in providing for her family. In doing so, she was aligned with a segment of her community that was extremely neglected.  Cindy realized that she had the power to mend this broken community and build a haven of heaven and hope for those in need. She is the founder of Lighthouse Charities and serves as its President and CEO. Based in Las Vegas, the non-profit focuses on building self-sufficiency in refugee and low-income individuals who are transitioning out of welfare.  Programs focus on employment training, English classes, cultural mentoring, educational scholarships, temporary clothing assistance, and providing hygiene, household, and schools supply items.  In addition, she founded three other charities. Operation Lighthouse is a non-profit booth and cultural fair offering free medical and eye exams in addition to the distribution of winter clothing.  Nafasi Designs is a Job Employment Program for refugees to learn how to make and market handmade products.  The Rejesha Project is a 16 week employment program that focuses on teaching and implementing important job skills such as following instructions, working in a team environment, time management and punctuality, mock interviewing, resume building, accuracy and speed, and personal responsibility.

Headshot of Debbie Taylor Williams 2019 National Mother Of Texas

Debbie Taylor Williams is one of America’s most loved advocates for mothers. She is the author of eight books including The Plan A Mom in a Plan B World, Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion, and Prayers of My Heart prayer journal endorsed by Beth Moore. She is a national Christian speaker, founder of P.R.A.Y. with Passion Across the Nation Conference, and has led conferences for mothers in 46 states; soon to be 50. Debbie has a national following, teaching women how to be influencers in the home, their community, and nation. Debbie is the founder of Hill Country Ministries, a non-profit Christian outreach to women. She is a monthly columnist for the Kerrville Daily Times and a guest columnist for The Christian Post; as well as a charter writer for Bible Gateway’s BGB2 blog. In addition, she is a writer for MomLife Today and A Wife Like Me; and has also served as a writer and speaker for The M.O.M. Initiative. Debbie is published in P31 Woman and other magazines, and has served on the faculty of the Michigan Maranatha Writers Conference. In addition to Debbie being a guest on radio, she now produces her own weekly UpLIFT radio spots. Debbie has appeared as a television guest on Life Today with James Robison, DayStar, Family Net, The Harvest Show, and more. She has been married to Keith Williams, 216th State District Judge, for over 43 years. They are residents of Kerrville, Texas, and have two children, Taylor and Lauren, and five grandchildren. Debbie is a graduate of Texas Tech University with a BS in Human Development and Family Studies.