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In celebration of women, McDonald’s is proud to announce the first all-female 365Black Awards Luncheon Honorees.

Take a look at this year’s honorees below:

Sanya Richards Ross – Olympic Champion and Motivational Speaker

Record-breaking Olympic Gold Medalist Sanya Richards-Ross was for years ranked the world’s best 400m runner. It was 2009 when Sanya captured the world title, before bringing home Olympic gold three years later in London in 2012.

Sanya made her mark on the world in 2003 when, at just 18 years of age, she won titles in both 400m runs at NCAA Outdoors and USA Outdoors, and with a leg on the World Champion 4x400m team. After announcing her retirement at the 2016 Olympic Trials, she joined the NBC Olympic broadcasting team, where she delivered colorful commentary for the sprinting events at the 2016 Rio Olympics alongside co-host Ato Bolden.

Along with her litany of gold medals, Sanya was named the Visa Humanitarian of the Year in 2005 for her namesake charity, the Sanya Richards Fast Track Program. The program, created in 2007, combines literacy, numeracy and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle through sports for children, in her native Jamaica. She also participates in USATF’s Win with Integrity, and awards a scholarship in her name.

Sanya married her college sweetheart, Aaron Ross, a two-time Super Bowl Champion cornerback with the New York Giants. The wedding was featured on the television show “Platinum Weddings,” prior to the filming her own reality show in 2013.

Valeisha Butterfield - Jones - Head of Black Community Engagement for Google and the co-founder and CEO of Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network

Valeisha Butterfield Jones is the Head of Black Community Engagement for Google and the co­founder and CEO of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN).

Valeisha Butterfield Jones is the Head of Black Community Engagement for Google and the co­founder and CEO of the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network (WEEN).

Valeisha has a deep passion for diversity and inclusion, as evidenced by her work for nearly two decades driving social responsibility campaigns and community engagement programs for corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Her work received global recognition and in 2009, Valeisha was appointed to serve in the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for International Trade and as National Youth Vote Director for President Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, where she helped to deliver one of the highest youth voter turnouts in American history.


Valeisha has been recognized as one of our country’s most respected leaders in business and philanthropy by numerous organizations and publications, including Forbes, Essence and Ebony.

Valeisha is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and a North Carolina native, but considers New York City her home away from home. She's married and the mom of one son.

Tichina Arnold - Actress and Entertainer

Tichina Arnold is an internationally known Actress and Singer who began her career studying at Performing Arts High School in her hometown of NYC. Her career has been nonstop since landing her first role in the famous film version of Little Shop of Horrors with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin and continuing in great classics such as Big Momma’s House, Wild Hogs and a dramatic turn in The Lena Baker Story.

Tichina leapt from the big screen to the TV working on the soap operas All My Children and Ryan’s Hope. It is her iconic role of Pam in the hit show Martin that cemented her status with fans across the world as one of TV's sassiest comedians and she has been creating memorable characters ever since in Everybody Hates Chris, Raising Hope, Happily Divorced, and most recently STARZ’s Survivor’s Remorse and VH1’s Daytime Divas.

Marty A. Gillis - Owner Operator

Margaret (Marty) Gillis is a testament to the adage, “There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise.” She is a veritable trailblazer and leader in the McDonald’s corporation, where she currently owns and operates eleven restaurants in New Jersey. She was the first woman to serve as Chair of the African American Consumer Market Committee, where for 10 years she has successfully advocated for, re-energized and advanced McDonald’s African American marketing programs through sponsorships and activations.

An active member of her community, Marty has received numerous awards for her involvement, contributions and donations including multiple NAACP Community Service Awards, National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Award, Neptune Education Foundation Award, U.S. Congressional Certificate of Special Recognition and induction into the Rutgers African-American Alumni Alliance Hall of Fame. Today, Marty remains a supporter of the local Little Leagues, Pop Warner, multiple soccer leagues and girls’ basketball teams. She has also personally provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to high school and college students.

Marty earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Rutgers University. She has been married for more than 25 years to James D. Swanson Sr.