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Laverne Council Honored By Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity for Outstanding Community Leadership

Todd Dezen, 914-997-4608, tdezen@marchofdimes.com

PHILADELPHIA, JULY 12, 2013 -- LaVerne Council, Chair of the March of Dimes Board of Trustees and a long-time member of Delta Sigma Theta, received the 2013 Image Award from Phi Beta Sigma for being an outstanding corporate and community leader, role model, and mom.

As members of the Pan-Hellenic Council, both Delta Sigma Theta and Phi Beta Sigma have a long tradition of community service.

Ms. Council, CEO of Council Advisory Services, LLC is also a former Corporate Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Johnson & Johnson’s Global IT Group. She was presented with the award here by Jimmy Hammock, President of Phi Beta Sigma. He highlighted Ms. Council’s long-standing history of service to the March of Dimes, her sorority Delta Sigma Theta, and the African-American community.

“LaVerne Council is a role model for all women wanting to make a mark in the corporate sector, and she’s also an inspiration for African-American women,” said Mr. Hammock. “She acts as a mentor to many women trying to excel in their careers, and she is a compassionate and compelling voice on behalf of African-American babies and families everywhere.”

In accepting the award, Ms. Council noted that African-Americans are disproportionately affected by prematurity and other infant health problems, and said the March of Dimes is focused on addressing these challenges.

An example of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign that Ms. Council is particularly proud of is the March of Dimes signature Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait program launched in 2011 in Newark, New Jersey, in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, with a goal of reducing preterm birth among African-Americans. Ms. Council participated in the launch to voice her personal commitment to the program and its services for African-American women of childbearing age.

Ms. Council’s positive influence on and inspiration to African-American women was recognized by Black Enterprise magazine in 2010 when she was named to the Top 75 Black Women in Business. That same year, Business Trends Quarterly ranked her among its Best CIOs in America.

Ms. Council, who was elected Chair of the March of Dimes National Board of Trustees in 2011, has been a volunteer for the March of Dimes since the age of five. Her son Troy was born prematurely and she says that’s another reason why the March of Dimes, which works to give more women healthy, full-term pregnancies and healthy babies, is very close to her heart.

She holds a Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa, from Drexel University, and a Master’s in Business Administration in Operations Management from Illinois State University, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Western Illinois University, graduating with highest honors.

In 2013, the March of Dimes celebrates its 75th Anniversary and its ongoing work to help babies get a healthy start in life. Early research led to the Salk and Sabin polio vaccines that all babies still receive. Other breakthroughs include new treatments for premature infants and children with birth defects. About 4 million babies are born each year in the United States, and all have benefitted from March of Dimes lifesaving research and education.

The March of Dimes is the leading non-profit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide and its premiere event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.