Zonta Women in Leadership award winners announced

Above, from left is Sheila Webster, Tara Eastman and Margaret Cornell.

At a special awards dinner at the Marvin House on April 17, Zonta club of Jamestown named Sheila McCarthy Webster, Tara Lamont Eastman and Margaret “Peg” Cornell as the Women in Leadership for 2019. Each woman was presented with a plaque in appreciation for their contributions to improving the status of women along with a single yellow rose. The yellow rose has been a Zonta symbol for the past 20 years.

Sheila McCarthy Webster is the wife of Dennis Webster and mom to daughters, Hannah (NYC) and Claire (Washington, DC). She is also dog-mom to a two-year-old beagle mix named Tilley. She says she “became a feminist at the age of nine, when she couldn’t have a paper route like her brother.” Sheila began her education at Jamestown Community College with an Associate Degree in Business Administration, attending St. Bonaventure University for Journalism, then returning to JCC for a Certificate in Social Media Marketing. She has pursued non-profit management training through SUNY Buffalo State and United Way of America.

Sheila started her professional work life as a producer and on-air personality at WJTN/SE-93 transitioning to News Director and Reporter. She was named the Director of Communications for the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County followed by accepting the role of Director of Marketing, Communications and Governmental Affairs for Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce; a role which she currently holds.

Sheila has been active in the community through American Red Cross, Girl Scouts of WNY, Southwestern Central School, and Chautauqua County Dairy Princess Program. She is a member of the JCC Alumni Association and has volunteered at the annual JCC Alumni Mystery dinner. She has previously held a position on the Board of Directors for WCA Hospital and currently is on the Board of Directors for Chautauqua Blind Association. She is presently active in county tourism through the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau Communications Committee.

Sheila concluded her remarks after her receipt of the award by saying, “I will be excited when the firsts no longer count, when diversity is routine.” “We don’t always assert ourselves, but we should.” “Each woman is helping to forge a path so others can walk in (that) path.”

The next honoree was Rev. Tara Lamont Eastman, a native of NW Pennsylvania and SWNY. Tara is the wife of Ian Eastman and the mom to Heather and Nigel. She is also the proud grandma to five-year-old Owen. Tara began her career after a personal call to ministry at the age of 17 during a program she attended at JCC. She enrolled in Empire State College, receiving a BA in Independent Studies; Writing and Psychology. Her education then turned to theology, attending Princeton Seminary and Wartburg Theological Seminary.

Rev. Eastman has worked in a social work capacity through the Salvation Army and in music and arts with Infinity Performing Arts and the Reg Lenna Civic Center. Through her work in the ministry, she has served in youth, family and parish ministry for three denominations over the last 20 years. Her music ministry included being a member of a Christian rock band. She has been the Pastor of Tree of Life Lutheran Church, Jamestown since 2016.

Tara participates in community advocacy efforts with the YWCA TEAM program and Evergreen Health. She coordinates weekly chapel for Mental Health Advocates and strives to build networks of support and action to aid women in the community through partnerships with Her Story WNY and Kweenbees. Her hobbies include writing, painting, music, yoga and whole food cooking. Tara’s favorite quote is from Frederick Buechner, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

The final honoree was Margaret “Peg” Cornell. Peg was married to her husband Bill for 45 years before his death in 2011. The couple’s children Charles, and Kathryn currently live in Chautauqua County. Their son Stephen died in 1997. She is blessed with seven grandchildren; Ben, Nate, Zach, Nick, Maggie, Vivian and Will. Peg planned on studying business like her sister until the summer of Peg’s sophomore year. Peg had the privilege of caring for her friend Karen Davis, after Karen had fallen ill with a neurologic condition. She realized then that caring for people, no matter how small the task, created a large effect in others. Peg’s nursing education began at E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital School of Nursing, followed by a BS degree from SUNY Buffalo, and a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

Peg’s career of caring included Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Jamestown General Hospital as a staff nurse in coronary care, cardiac rehab and director of nursing services. She also was a staff nurse in the surgical intensive care unit at Hamot Medical Center and has worked at JCC as Director of College Health Services and an adjunct nursing instructor.

Peg’s community involvement includes past membership in Zonta, a member of the Board of Directors of the YWCA and American Heart Association, and also a member of the Board of Trustees at Jamestown Community College. She has served on the City of Jamestown’s salary review and charter review commissions, as well as the planning commission. She has been a representative of the 150th District to the NYS Democratic Committee and past chairperson of the Jamestown Democratic Committee. Peg’s favorite quote is by Maya Angelou, “”I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Every year the Zonta Club of Jamestown selects and names women from the community as “Women in Leadership.” These are women who fulfill the Zonta mission of ’empowering women through service and advocacy’ in a non-member role. For more information regarding Zonta membership, visit ZontaJamestown.org.

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