Civil Rights Law Expert Jocelyn Benson Keynotes Communications Awards Association for Women in Communications Detroit Chapter Honors Top Professionals


Accomplished authors, investigative journalism, and integrity in medical reporting will be recognized by the Detroit Chapter of the Association for Women in Communications at the 2017 Matrix Awards, honoring achievement in communications. The annual awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 18, at 5:30 p.m. at Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield.

 Jocelyn Benson, CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), will be the keynote speaker. An expert on civil rights law, education law and election law, Benson served for four years as dean of Wayne State University Law School. One of the youngest women in history to be inducted into the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015, Benson is a board member of the Southern Poverty Law Center and was a candidate for Michigan Secretary of State in 2010. She will speak about the critical need for female leaders in all aspects of society and the path forward to where women comprise 50% of the leadership roles in our society.

 Leading the winners’ roster is Headliner Award winner Joanne C. Gerstner, an AWC-Detroit chapter member who will be honored for outstanding personal and professional achievements.  Gerstner is an award-winning multi-platform sports journalist, who has covered the pinnacle of worldwide sporting events, from the Olympics, women’s and men’s soccer World Cups, to NBA and NCAA championships. She is the co-author of critically acclaimed and Amazon No.1 book, “Back in the Game: Why Concussion Doesn’t Have to End Your Athletic Career” (Oxford).

 The Diamond Award, which recognizes an individual for portraying women positively in media, will be awarded to Pat Anstett, longtime Detroit Free Press medical reporter. Anstett’s extensive medical reporting on all aspects of mammography, including: compliance, insurance reimbursement, access for Medicaid patients, and federally funded free mammograms for low-income women, has been described as distinctive, informative, meaningful, and relentless. Yet, Anstett considers her book, “Breast Cancer Surgery and Reconstruction: What’s Right for You,” (Rowman & Littlefield) the most fulfilling mission of her career.

 Finally, the Vanguard Award, which recognizes innovation in a communications campaign, will be awarded to Bridge Magazine, and its investigative reporter Chastity Pratt Dawsey, who published the first comprehensive book about the Flint water crisis, “Poison on Tap.” The Bridge team included fresh, new and often-ignored stories from the people of Flint and broke the story about residents’ and experts’ valid reasons to suspect a higher death toll from Legionnaires’ disease.

 The public is welcome to attend the Matrix Awards.  The event starts at 5:30 p.m. with a reception and silent auction, followed by dinner at 6:30, the awards ceremony, and keynote address.  Tickets are $60 for AWC-Detroit members, $70 for non-members, and $35 for students.  For more information, or to reserve tickets, visit the Events page on Matrix Awards Event or call (313) 327-2256.


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