Cathy Bessant and Beth Fischer
March 20, 2017

UNC Charlotte trustee Cathy Bessant, along with Beth Fischer, executive director of University development, and three 49er alumni are among the individuals who were honored at this year’s Charlotte Business Journal (CBJ) Women in Business Awards program on March 16 at the Hilton Charlotte Center City.

This annual award “honors outstanding businesswomen from the region who have made significant contributions to their communities in the past year,” according to the publication.

Bessant, Bank of America’s chief operations and technology officer, will receive the CBJ Lifetime Achievement Award. In announcing the honor, the Journal noted, “she is one of the bank’s C-suite leaders based in Charlotte, overseeing 95,000 technology employees and contractors in 35 countries.” In addition to being a member of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees, Bessant previously served as chair of the Foundation For The Carolinas and has worked to improve the district’s school system.

Fischer, in her role as executive director of University development, helped launch Exponential: The Campaign for UNC Charlotte this past fall. A $200 million fundraising initiative, the campaign will support scholarships, innovative research, faculty retention and recruitment and will enhance the student experience at the University. She also oversaw a restructuring of her department that led to new positions and established an innovative system to motivate and reward staff. At the same time, Fischer continued to be involved in the greater community. A past president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Fischer chaired the Tip the Scales Campaign for Dilworth Elementary School and has served on the Guilford College Board of Visitors.

University alumni Nancy Brown, Kelly McPhilliamy and Amy Shanes also are among the 25 businesswomen being recognized by the Charlotte Business Journal.

Brown, who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1987, is a managing partner with CliftonLarsonAllen.

McPhilliamy, a managing director with Wells Fargo Securities, graduated in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

Shanes, who is with Deloitte Tax, is a member of the Class of 1998; she earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and psychology.


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