Launch Group Founder Wins UMW Achievement Award

Kara Vanderpool Ward, founder of The Launch Group, received the Patricia Lacey Metzger Distinguished Achievement Award during the 20th annual Leadership Colloquium at the University of Mary Washington on Thursday, Nov. 7.

Kara Vanderpool Ward received the 2013 Metzger award at the Leadership Colloquium for Professional Women.

Kara Vanderpool Ward received the 2013 Metzger award at the Leadership Colloquium for Professional Women.

Vanderpool Ward’s firm is revolutionizing ways to conduct business by promoting creativity and sharing an open design space with several other female-owned firms as they help companies pop and launch with business and marketing strategies, according to Dana Herlong, president of Herlong Associates, and Martha O’Keefe, vice president of workforce at Germanna Community College, who presented the award.

The Metzger award recognizes individuals who uphold high standards in their personal and professional lives while fulfilling a career goal of significant stature. The award, presented annually at the colloquium since 1999, is given in memory of the late Patricia Metzger, a UMW professor and founder of the event. Only past colloquium participants are eligible to receive the Metzger award.

Vanderpool Ward’s presence in the community is unmistakable, as she has had her hands in everything from Leadership Fredericksburg to the Military Affairs Council. She also is a past chair of the Next Generation young professionals group of the Fredericksburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

The wife and mother of two daughters, Vanderpool Ward also has an international presence. She was the 2013 U.S. recipient of The Hot Mommas Project award that honors women worldwide whose stories can serve as tools for women in business.

Vanderpool Ward is a colloquium advisory board member who donated her time and organization to support this year’s 20th anniversary colloquium that focused on “Real Women, Real Issues, Real Solutions.” She presented sessions on networking, personal branding and use of social media.

Nearly 200 professional women attended the 20th annual Leadership Colloquium for Professional Women at UMW.

Nearly 200 professional women attended the 20th annual Leadership Colloquium for Professional Women at UMW.

Corporate whistleblower and bestselling author Cynthia Cooper gave the keynote address on “Ethical Leadership for the 21st Century.” Cooper, who is CEO of The CooperGroup LLC, management consulting firm, was named a Person of the Year for Time magazine after unraveling accounting deceptions at WorldCom, one of the largest corporate frauds in history.

“It’s a story about people and choices and we all have the power of choice – you can give it away, but nobody can take it away from you,” said Cooper, who described her personal story and struggle. Her book “Extraordinary Circumstances: The Journey of a Corporate Whistleblower” details her role as vice president of WorldCom’s internal audit department and the Wall Street giant’s eventual demise.

For more information about the colloquium, visit www.umw.edu/lcpw.