The Lizzie Crozier French Women’s Leadership Award was instituted in 2012 to recognize outstanding women leaders in East Tennessee. Nominations for the award will be open March 1 – 30. Please check back in March, we would be honored to hear about the women who Ignite and inspire you.
The recipient will be a woman who, like the award’s namesake, best demonstrates the following leadership characteristics.
- An outspoken leader who publicly supports the advancement of women.
- Demonstrates unwavering courage in the face of a significant challenge or obstacle.
- Works boldly and consistently towards positive and lasting change for women.
- Supports and empowers other women through her work.
About Lizzie Crozier French
Lizzie Crozier French is the woman who represents East Tennessee on the Woman’s Suffrage Memorial located on Market Square Mall in Knoxville, Tennessee. She aggressively advocated for women to be admitted to the University of Tennessee, with obvious success.
French was the first woman to address the Knoxville City Council, the Tennessee General Assembly, and the Tennessee Bar Association. Ever an advocate for women, even venturing a failed bid as the first woman to run for Knoxville City Council, French was also a strong advocate for local culture. She founded the now-renowned Ossoli Circle, the Writers’ Club of Knoxville; and the Woman’s Educational and Industrial Union. French was also a charter member of the Knoxville Art Museum and the Knoxville Lyceum.
Karen Carson, former Chair of the Knox County School Board, received the \ 2017 Lizzie Crozier French Leadership Award. Carson is a pediatric critical care and emergency room nurse at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
She was nominated by former Knox County School Superintendent Jim McIntyre, who wrote that Carson is a thoughtful and outspoken leader who “has demonstrated commitment to our children and community through difficult times.” He added that during her 12 years on the Board, she served as an “advocate, role model and mentor for hundreds of women.”
During her tenure on the Knox County School Board, Carson received multiple recognitions from the Tennessee Parent Teacher Association as the “Outstanding School Board Representative of the Year.” Carson served as the East Tennessee Region Federal Legislative Representative for the Tennessee School Board Association. She also served as the Federal Legislative Chairperson for the Tennessee Parent Teacher Association. Carson is a 2006 graduate of Leadership Knoxville.