The founder and chief executive officer of a Scottsdale nonprofit and an advocate for individuals with disabilities have been named the 2017 Diversity Champions by the nonprofit group Community Celebrating Diversity. Linda Groomes Walton, along with Gina Griffiths, will be honored at Scottsdale’s 23rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration. The event takes place Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Henkel Corporation, 7201 E. Henkel Way, in Scottsdale.
2017 Diversity Champions
Linda Groomes Walton
Linda Groomes Walton is a respected author and women’s advocate. As the founder and CEO of Achieving My Purpose (AMP), she uses her influence to help young women of color embrace their purpose. Her book “Celebration of Women,” profiles a mix of distinguished leaders and lesser-known individuals with inspirational stories. Linda worked with Maricopa County Community College’s Women’s Rising Program, a female diversity initiative to support the district’s population of women students and collaborated with Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center to extend its reach in the Valley. Her list of community involvement is long and also includes activities with these organizations: the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc. Phoenix Metropolitan Chapter, Scottsdale Leadership and Scottsdale Community College’s Inclusiveness Council. Linda’s commitment to positive community awareness and impact is in direct alignment with the values and beliefs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As director of programs at Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services (STARS), Gina Griffiths works tirelessly to improve the lives of individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities. Gina actively represents many community groups including Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health (NOAH) and the Executive Committee for the Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities, where she serves as an advocate at the state level for positive change in special needs services. Additionally, she is an active member of the Arizona Employment First Initiative Core Team – a group working to change the paradigm of services for Arizona’s individuals with special needs and increase their opportunities for integrated employment and success. Gina is a true community steward and advocate for those without a voice, promoting civil and human rights for all.
About the Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration
Author and two-time National Aviation Hall of Fame inductee William “Bill” Norwood will be the keynote speaker at the Scottsdale 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration. Norwood was the first African-American pilot at United Airlines. He spent 31 years there, retiring as a captain. He is best known for his book, “Cleared for Takeoff: A Pilot’s Story of Challenges and Triumphs.”
Norwood will share his story about breaking barriers and developing our future leaders – the inspiration for the evening’s focus. This celebration of Dr. King’s vision and contributions will also feature Scottsdale’s Diversity Champion Awards and Youth Scholarship recipients.
Community Celebrating Diversity, a Scottsdale-based 501 (c) 3, hosts this and other educational activities to celebrate and create a greater awareness of our community’s diversity. Scottsdale’s Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration is sponsored by APS.