The LWV Greenwich recently announced that its highest honor, the Mary Award, was presented to Joanne Stavrou and Becky Gillan at its Centennial Dinner on Thursday, September 23, 2021, at the Riverside Yacht Club.
Joanne Stavrou has been an active member of the League for 10 years. Most recently, she has led the Voter’s Services Committee, where she has organized all League debates; planned and organized an Annual Picnic for League members and guests with local Connecticut state legislators, and led the League’s voter registration efforts.
In addition, she has served on the Gala Committees of the Connecticut Grand Opera and the New York Pops and has volunteered at The Waterside School, The Riverside School, Cos Cob School, Greenwich Academy and Brunswick.
Based on a passionate belief that opportunity to learn can change lives, Joanne and her husband, Chris, founded Books for Schools, which donated encyclopedias and computer networks to 140 New England schools, and Stavrou Travel Bursaries, which equalized UK student airfares for foreign work-study programs. In addition, they support the Sereolipi School for Nomadic Children in Kenya, sponsoring classes through high school.
Joanne and her family have lived in Riverside for 27 years. Raised in the Bronx, a child of Irish immigrants in a neighborhood with strong family and community ties and lifelong friendships, she attended St. John’s Grammar School, St Nicholas of Tolentine High School and Lehman College all within a stone’s throw of each other. In 2018 she received the Herbert H Lehman Foundation Leadership Award on the college’s 50th anniversary.
Joanne is retiring from the LWV Greenwich Board this year.
Elected to the LWV Greenwich Board in June 2020, Becky Gillan has served as the co-chairman of the League’s Voter’s Services Committee along with Joanne Stavrou. In that capacity, she has assisted in the organization of our October debate, researched voting information to respond to community inquiries, and presented relevant material for two
programs this spring. She also provided research into the current consideration of merging LWV Greenwich’s League into its Educational Fund.
She is also a Bruce Museum Trustee and docent. In 2020, she formed the DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Committee and serves as its Chair. She previously served on Board of YWCA and was a 2006 Brava Award recipient. She has also served on the Board the Breast Cancer Alliance, where she co-founded the Greenwich Walk fundraiser. While on the United Way of Greenwich she also served as Treasurer. She was on the Board of the Drama League of New York for 12 years and served as Treasurer. In 2020 she was a Census enumerator going door to door in Greenwich and Stamford.
Her career in business included various senior level financial and positions: consumer research, new product development, strategic and financial planning, and acquisitions. Most recently and until retirement in 2016, she was Senior Vice President, Research for AARP where she championed AARP’s efforts to understand the needs and wants of Americans age 50+.
She is currently a marketing and research consultant part time, most recently for the Diamond Producers Association. She graduated with Honors in Economics from Smith College and earned her MBA at The Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth.
The Mary Award recognizes outstanding work and achievement on behalf of the League and the broader community. It is named for Mary Sullivan and Mary Lou Woods, two long-term members of the League who were highly visible and effective in their work for the League and the Greenwich community.
The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan, political organization. It encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.