Firsts for Women: March 2022

Zonta International celebrates “firsts for women” in all different sectors in countries and communities around the world.

Looking back on last month, we acknowledge the following women:

  • Naoka Aoki – first woman appointed as concertmaster of the Munich Philharmonic, one of four principal orchestras in Munich, Germany.
  • Cardi B – first woman to have every song on an album to be certified platinum.
  • Queen Anunay – first woman to attain the uniformed rank of Assistant Fire Chief for the District of Columbia’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services department, USA.
  • Melissa Baumann – first woman appointed president of Ohio Northern University in Ohio, USA.
  • Barbara Bellefeuille – first woman appointed president of Bethel University in Indiana, USA.
  • Nicola Benedetti – first woman and first Scot to be appointed director of the Edinburgh International Festival, which presents a program featuring the finest performers and ensembles from the worlds of dance, opera, music and theatre.
  • Milan “Mimi” Bolden-Morris – first woman member of a Power Five football staff and first woman hired as a graduate assistant in the Big Ten. She will work with the Michigan Wolverines’ quarterbacks. The Power Five conferences are five athletic conferences which consider themselves to be the elite in college football in the United States; the Big Ten Conference is the oldest Division I collegiate athletic conference.
  • Jennifer Bonds-Raacke – first woman appointed president of Saint Martin’s University in Washington State, USA.
  • Takisha Clark – first Black woman to own a postal and shipping franchise in the U.S.
  • Kristin Crowley – first woman to serve as fire chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department.
  • Frida Escobedo – first woman to design a wing at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Radwa Helmi – first woman judge to sit on the bench of Egypt’s state council.
  • Alexis Hopkins – first woman to be drafted by an American professional baseball team for an on-field role.
  • Dorothea Ioannou – first woman CEO of Shipowners Claims Bureau, the manager of the American P&I Club, the only mutual Protection and indemnity club domiciled in the Americas.
  • Katherine Lester – first woman to serve as Sacramento Police chief.
  • Y. Michele Kang – first woman of color to own majority stake in a National Women’s Soccer League franchise, USA. 
  • Kay Menzies - first woman CEO and president of Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL).
  • Rebecca Neiduski – first woman appointed president of Wartburg College in Iowa, USA.
  • Katalin Novák – first woman elected president of Hungary.
  • Lynn Osmond – first woman appointed as president and CEO of Choose Chicago, the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination.
  • Josia Pagler – first woman to graduate as a warrant officer from Officer Candidate School at Officer Training Command Newport, Rhode Island. She was selected to become one of the Navy’s first MQ-25 Stingray operators.
  • Leila Rahimi – first woman to be named main sports anchor at WMAQ-TV, a Chicago television station.
  • Cheryl Robinson – first woman to be named president and chief executive officer for NYCM Insurance.
  • Domee Shi – first woman to solo-direct a Pixar film.
  • Julie H. Sullivan – first woman president of Santa Clara University in California, USA. 
  • Prathibha Varkey – first woman of color to serve as president of the Mayo Clinic Health System, a network of community-based medical services in the United States.
  • Nancy Waples - first woman of color to serve on the Vermont Supreme Court.
  • Nan Wodarz – first woman to be appointed permanent head of school of Linden Hall, a 275-year-old, all-girls boarding school in Lititz, PA, USA.
  • Evelyn Welch – first woman appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Bristol, United Kingdom.
  • Charlotte Yates – first female president of the University of Guelph, Canada.
  • Shalanda Young – first Black woman to serve as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget in the United States.
  • Jennifer Yowler – first woman to be president of PharMerica, an American leader in pharmacy services.

As an organization that has fought for gender equality for more than 100 years, Zonta International believes it is important to celebrate and honor women who are making history. Each month, we will recognize women who have broken the glass ceiling and set an example for future generations to come.

Do you know of a first for women moment that should be recognized? Share with us at [email protected]