Academy for Women of Achievement presents Lifetime Achievement Award

Jane Eskind, the first woman to hold a statewide office in Tennessee and longtime advocate for women’s issues, recently received the YWCA of Nashville & Middle Tennessee’s Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2013 Academy for Women of Achievement and the celebration of the YWCA’s 115th year.

“The Lifetime Achievement Award is not a recognition we will give annually, but we wanted to honor Jane for her longtime advocacy for women in all walks of life and for her tireless work to make Nashville and Tennessee better places to live,” said Pat Shea, CEO/president of the YWCA. This was the first time the YWCA has presented this prestigious award.

Eskind began her expansive career as a lobbyist for the Tennessee League of Women Voters, a position she held from 1964 to 1969. Soon after, she became a stalwart leader in the Democratic Party, rising through the party to represent Tennessee on the Democratic National Platform committees in 1972 and 1976. Eskind became the first woman to win a nomination for statewide office when she won the 1978 Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate.

Eskind’s political career continued when she was elected to the Public Service Commission in 1980, becoming the first woman to hold a statewide office in Tennessee. She went on to serve as the chairwoman of the PSC. In addition to her political career, Eskind chaired the Tennessee Commission on the Status of Women from 1978 to 1980.

The 2013 AWA honorees included: Lauren Brisky, board of trustees chairwoman, Simmons College; Dr. Vera Stevens Chatman, professor, Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College; Becky Harrell, member in charge of not-for-profit clients, Kraft CPAs PLLC; Beth Harwell, Tennessee state representative, 56th District, and speaker of the House; Hope Stringer, board chairwoman, The Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park; Hedy Weinberg, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee; and Brenda Wynn, Davidson County clerk. The Country Music Association was this year’s corporate honoree.

The AWA awards celebration will take place on Oct. 15, at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. Tickets are $175 per person ($125 tax-deductible), and tables are available for $1,750 ($1,250 tax-deductible). Tickets and tables can be purchased before Oct. 11 by calling 615-983-5110. For more information about the YWCA Academy for Women of Achievement, visit the official website at