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CHL Awards Story

Pi Beta Phi Recognizes Distinguished Alumnae with 2018 Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award

Published On: 2019-04-16

For more information, contact:

Shawn Eagleburger
Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives and Communications
(636) 256–0680

Pi Beta Phi Recognizes Distinguished Alumnae with 2018 Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award  

Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women is pleased to award seven alumnae with the Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award for 2018. The Crest Award is presented annually to distinguished alumnae of Pi Beta Phi who exhibit excellence and outstanding leadership in their career or volunteer service to their communities. The award is named for past Pi Beta Phi Grand President Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg, who served as the Fraternity’s Grand President from 1985 – 1991. 

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award Winners for Community Service   

Connell Sullivan Branan, California Gamma

Connell was named National Young Mother of the Year in 2006 by American Mothers, Inc., an organization dedicated to improving the lives of mothers and children around the world. Currently, she serves as president of their board of directors and is their representative to the United Nations. Additionally, Connell has served and continues to serve the state of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City, chairing several fundraising events and serving on various boards. “I believe it is much better to give than to receive, and that everyone has something to contribute to their community no matter how big or small,” says Connell. “I have been surrounded by lifelong friends who wear the arrow and who embody the Pi Phi values. They have significantly enriched my life and made a positive difference in the lives of others, and for all of that, I am eternally grateful.”    

Sheila Consaul, Illinois Theta

Sheila makes the world a better place through her dedication to community service. She volunteers with her golden retriever, Lucy, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and travels to locations devastated by disasters to provide comfort to the people impacted. Sheila also volunteers with literacy projects and international sporting events, such as the Olympics and Major League Baseball All-Star Games. “It is incredibly special to me to win this award as I knew Carolyn personally,” says Sheila. “Even from my early days as a New Member, Pi Phi emphasized community service as part of the foundation of the organization, and I took that to heart. Giving back is the most rewarding thing I do, and I encourage every sister to participate in community service activities that mean something to her.”    

Nicole Khoury, Michigan Alpha 

In 2008, Nicole created Project iAm, a not-for-profit corporation that provides financial assistance to families living with autism in the Toledo, Ohio, area. The assistance goes toward their educational and therapeutic needs, and Project iAm has distributed more than $200,000 in the form of grants and scholarships. Nicole helped organize and continues to support the Carly Cares Foundation, an organization which provides care packages to pediatric cancer patients. She is also a cofounder and board member of the Pride of Toledo Foundation, and a volunteer mentor to single mothers trying to complete their education. “It’s hard to describe what it feels like when you see the joy you bring to others through community service,” explains Nicole. “Knowing you have changed even one person’s life will stay with you forever. So, I’m absolutely flattered to receive this award and humbled that my community service work would be recognized by anyone, let alone by those who I hold in such high regard.”     

Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award Winners for Professional Achievement   

Josephine “Jo” Bowers Thoms, Michigan Alpha

Jo’s paintings, illustrations and sculptures have been professionally recognized throughout the decades since 1945 when she was awarded the National Academy of Design Suydam Medal for Sculpture just after her college graduation. Most recently, she was added to the list of Who’s Who in Lifetime Achievement in 2017, recognizing her for nearly 75 years of artistic pursuit. “The Michigan Alpha Virtual Alumnae Group is excited to nominate one of our oldest-living alumnae in recognition of her lifetime of professional achievements as an artist. Jo’s a remarkably creative person and has been distinguished by her peers for her work throughout her entire life.”     

Pamela Hatfield Gemmer, Colorado Beta (awarded posthumously)    

Pam’s expertise and passion for bilingual literacy work was extensive. In addition to teaching Spanish and English as a Second Language for 42 years, Pam volunteered in various capacities for many community service organizations throughout her life. At the time of her death, she was involved with more than 10 organizations that she had either founded or to which she was making significant leadership contributions. Her work and advocacy were recognized by many, and she was named Champion in Diversity by the Indianapolis Mexican Consulate in 2017. At a memorial service, Pam’s impact on others was undeniable as many people delivered eulogies describing how she had personally helped them and/or positively influenced their careers. According to the Pi Beta Phi Alumnae Club of Indianapolis, “Pam was always a most loyal, dependable volunteer year in and year out. She took on many leadership roles in education locally and nationally and in various immigrant welcome and Spanish language and culture organizations. It turns out that most of those activities were connected to literacy and bilingual literacy.”    

Julia Buckingham Edelmann, Arizona Alpha   

After establishing herself in the interior design and décor industry, Julia started her own company, Buckingham Interiors + Design LLC, in 2007. She’s garnered national recognition as a trendsetter and color expert, serving as contributor to Traditional Home magazine’s Color Master Classes and has partnered with The Kohler Company, Cosentino and Benjamin Moore to create a designer kitchen and a vignette in New York City for DIFFA Dining by Design. She’s also authored Modernique, a guide for all who crave the elegance and ease of modern style combined with the warmth of tradition.“To be awarded from the Fraternity that launched my goals and dreams to become an entrepreneur and “girl boss” is one of the most profound and meaningful honors in my career,” says Julia. “My experience in Pi Phi led me to be the best mother I could be and helped me transition from raising children to becoming a business leader without worrying that I may fail.”    

Ann Weiler Rhoades, New Mexico Alpha

Ann has more than 40 years of leadership experience, having served as an executive for several large organizations. She is the founder and president of People Ink and is also a widely-respected speaker and the author of Built on Values; Creating an Enviable Culture that Outperforms the Competition.“There are so many talented sisters that just to be nominated for this award is such an incredible compliment,” says Ann. “Sisterhood in Pi Phi is one of life’s greatest blessings. It means assisting when we need help, celebrating when we achieve greatness and caring about each other throughout our lifetimes. I met my best friend during recruitment, and she’s been by my side throughout the past 50-plus years!”    

Congratulations to all of the 2018 Carolyn Helman Lichtenberg Crest Award winners! These women have made amazing contributions to their communities and/or professions and have demonstrated the Pi Phi core values of Philanthropic Service to Others and Personal and Intellectual Growth.

About Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women: Founded in 1867 at Monmouth College in Illinois, Pi Beta Phi has installed 204 collegiate chapters and nearly 300 alumnae clubs worldwide. Pi Beta Phi promotes friendship, develops women of intellect and integrity, cultivates leadership potential and enriches the lives of members and their communities. The Fraternity believes in the power of reading; and through its philanthropy, Read > Lead > Achieve®, promotes a lifelong love of reading that can unlock true potential. Its charge is for each and every Pi Beta Phi to find a way she can participate, donate or advocate for Read > Lead > Achieve. For more information, visit www.pibetaphi.org or follow Pi Phi on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.