Past award recipients can be found at the bottom of the page.
Congratulations to our 2017 honorees. Join us on Friday, June 16 at 12:00 to honor our award recipients at the Award Gala Luncheon.
The Light of God Expressing in Unity Award
Rev. Rita Marie Johnson
As an educator, author, and speaker, Rev. Rita Marie Johnson has been sharing her message of connection worldwide for over a decade. The Connection Practice methodology she developed has impacted more than 40,000 school children per year in Costa Rica (as SerPaz).
Johnson discovered that the synergy of connecting mind and heart, feelings and needs, and insight and empathy maximizes our social-emotional intelligence, builds resilience and enhances performance. The Connection Practice is now being used by individuals, schools, businesses, and organizations to enhance personal well-being, reduce conflicts and bullying, improve communication and collaboration, and boost performance. The fruits of this practice inspire hope in everyone it touches.
Her practice was awarded the Ashoka Changemakers Innovation Award, chosen from 79 projects in 32 countries. Rita Marie considers her book, Completely Connected: Uniting Our Empathy and Insight for Extraordinary Results as her greatest achievement since it received a Nautilus Award in the Psychology category.
“This practice that is so dear to my heart has helped me through lymphoma (twice), a divorce, the economic downturn that resulted in the elimination of funding for SerPaz training in schools, and the death of my father. It's also helped me to celebrate the day-to-day and major triumphs in my life. I am so very grateful for this wonderful, daily practice in my life.”
Johnson's vision is a world where every person practices the art of connection and passes this gift on to the next generation. Through the vivid examples she shares, she spells out exactly how that vision can be realized. She currently serves as CEO of Rasur Foundation International (RFI) and minister of Unity San Jose.
Rita Marie will receive the Light of God Expressing Award on Friday, June 16 at the Awards Luncheon.
The Charles Fillmore Award
Rev. Toni Boehm
Rev.Toni Boehm, is an inspirational and dynamic coach, workshop facilitator, and speaker. She is certified as an organization and life coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and holds a certificate for Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence.
Toni is a master-prepared nurse practitioner, poet, author, and is known for her passionate teaching style and expert facilitation of classes on leadership skill development, personal empowerment and transformation
Rev. Toni has worked with over 250 Unity ministry leadership teams who laud her ability to support them in discovering how they can best move to their next level of excellence.
“I am what you might call in sacred service to many: through the expansion of conscious awareness of leadership skills, peace skills development, emotional intelligence and maturity development, and through providing practical application tool for these teachings. I weave throughout all the work I do my passion as a coach.”
Toni will receive the Charles Fillmore Award on Friday, June 16 at the Awards Luncheon.
The Myrtle Fillmore Award
Rev. Cynthia Vermillion-Foster
Movement and dance have played a central role in Cynthia Vermillion-Foster’s life since childhood. For Cynthia dance is a spiritual experience, and continues to play a significant role in the way she moves through all areas of her life. From her first career as a ballet dancer, to ballet teacher, lead minister of a Unity center and now as Director of Member Services, wife and mother, Cynthia has allowed the Universe to dance through her.
Cynthia is passionate about cultivating space for the dance of rich, authentic dialogue that supports the discovery of our interconnectedness and allows us to conspire or breathe as one in the creation of a more compassionate way of being on this planet.
Cynthia met her husband Don in 1986 and they have enjoyed a mutually supportive marriage for 27 years. Together, they are the parents of two beautiful children – a son, Jovan and daughter, Avianna who have grown into leaders in their own right.
Cynthia and Don served their first ministry at Unity in Chantilly, VA. They then served Unity of Greater Hamilton in Ontario for 10 years where Don continues to serve. Cynthia has also served as Unity Canada’s Regional Consultant, was active on the Ministry Skills Team, and served as Chair of the Ethics Review System.
Since July 2016, Cynthia has been serving as UWM’s Director of Member Services. She has been doing this work remotely to allow her son to complete his final year of high school with family support. Jovan will be graduating at the end of June, and moving on to university with his sister nearby. Cynthia and Don will be relocating to Lee’s Summit in the fall of 2017, where Cynthia is excited to join her UWM teammates in their new home at Unity Village.