Honor recognizes Central Penn staffer’s stellar accomplishments
By Sherri Long
Knightly News Reporter
Rubina Azizdin received the 2017 Shining Star Award on Aug. 30 as part of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce’s Luminary Awards, held in the Radisson Harrisburg, Camp Hill.
The Shining Star Award category recognizes a woman in a nonexecutive role who shows “excellence in their work environment and community,” according to the Chamber’s category description.
Azizdin, Central Penn career counselor and part-time faculty member, found out she was nominated in April, but does not know who nominated her.
“They never read or shared my nomination,” she said.
The Chamber learned a lot about the nominees, though. A survey of 40-50 questions about them, their hobbies, family, accomplishments and fun facts was sent to each nominee. The information was used throughout the Luminary Awards campaign and award luncheon.
Perks and fun facts
A perk the nominees enjoyed during the campaign was a photoshoot with Bevrore, a Mechanicsburg photo studio, and each nominee received a headshot photo to use for whatever reason she wants.
The headshots were also used in Luminary Awards advertisements the Chamber placed in online and printed publications, including Susquehanna Style magazine. Social media posts that featured each nominee’s headshot and a fun fact were also used throughout the campaign.
One of Azizdin’s fun facts, according to a Chamber social media post was, “Would want the following written on her tombstone: ‘Please leave me designer purses and shoes instead of flowers – I need to keep up with the latest fashion trends :)’”
“So, I’m known for my shopping addiction,” Azizdin said with a laugh. “I would die without fashion.”
Voting and networking
The winner was elected by a committee through a blind evaluation. Azizdin thought that was a fair process because, “We are a small community and we all know each other, so people didn’t win just because you knew somebody. … [The winner] was kept a secret the entire time.”
The Luminary Awards were created to celebrate business women in the community and “that’s what I’m all about,” said Azizdin.
Nominees met one another during a networking event held prior to the awards luncheon. Azizdin enjoyed being able to mingle with the other nominees.
“With a thing like this, there are so many people and usually you don’t know who you are up against, or you never get to speak to some of the people that you are a part of this process with,” she added. “It was nice to meet all the women up close and personal.”
After meeting the “phenomenal” nominated women, however, Azizdin wasn’t expecting to win. Still, she invited her entire family to come to the award luncheon.
“I said, ‘Look, this is a huge award, a huge event and I want you guys to be there. And, hey, if I don’t win, I still get to see you and then we get to go out and celebrate anyway.’”
Azizdin explained the winner-announcement process.
“They called all the nominees up one by one and introduced everybody,” Azizdin said. “But, I don’t even know what they said about me, because I was so nervous! All I remember is something about ice cream. Then we all sat down, and then, they announced my name as the winner.”
Azizdin said it took a few moments to realize she had won. She said she “froze for a bit” while she wondered whether they had really just called her name.
“I was in shock; I’m still in shock,” said Azizdin. “Somehow, I managed to remember to take my speech up with me. Once I got up there I was all right. I was still trying to catch my breath a little, while I started, but then I was okay.”
The Shining Star Award was the first time Azizdin was nominated for something at this level.
“It was awesome to have family and a lot of close friends there,” she said.
With a beaming smile on her face, Azizdin described the event as a “very energetic, fun — you know, just an amazing, glorious type of environment that day.”
Paying it forward
As the winner, Azizdin chose a nonprofit to receive part of the funds raised by the event. She chose the Junior Achievement organization because “it falls in line with everything I’m doing and trying to help out in the community with.”
Junior Achievement helps high school students prepare for the “real world,” through training in subjects such as financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship, according to the Junior Achievement website.
“It’s kind of a training program to better them for their college careers,” Azizdin said.
Azizdin has been involved with the West Shore Chamber of Commerce since she started working for Central Penn, which was “about five years” ago. She isn’t involved directly with the Chamber, but is involved with several organizations that are a part of the Chamber, such as West Shore Young Professionals and American Business Women’s Association.
Azizdin plans to become more involved with the Chamber, after her experience. She loved the award process experience, as well as how the Chamber gives back to the community.
“I want to pay it forward, so, I might be serving on a committee for them, or something like that, in the future,” Azizdin said.
Central Penn College was well represented in the Luminary Awards. Sandra Box, associate director of the Central Penn College Education Foundation, was also a Shining Star nominee.
Cami Ressler, chair of the Education Foundation’s board of trustees, was a nominee for the Visionary Award, which recognizes a female executive community leader.
Sherri Long is president of the Knightly News Media Club @ Central Penn College.
To comment on this story or to suggest one, contact TheKnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.
Edited by media club co-adviser Prof. Michael Lear-Olimpi.