Scottsdale CEO, disabilities advocate named 2017 Diversity Champions

Linda Groomes Walton and Gina Griffiths will be honored at Scottsdale’s 23rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration.

Ms. Walton and Ms. Griffiths, a Scottsdale nonprofit CEO and an advocate for individuals with disabilities, have been named the 2017 Diversity Champions by nonprofit group Community Celebrating Diversity.

The event takes place Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Henkel Corporation, 7201 E. Henkel Way, in Scottsdale.

Linda Groomes Walton (submitted photo)

Linda Groomes Walton

Linda Groomes Walton is a respected author and women’s advocate.

As the founder and CEO of Achieving My Purpose, she uses her influence to help young women of color embrace their purpose, according to a press release.

Her book “Celebration of Women,” profiles a mix of distinguished leaders and lesser-known individuals with inspirational stories. Ms. Groomes Walton worked with Maricopa County Community College’s Women’s Rising Program, a female diversity initiative to support the district’s population of women students and collaborated with Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center to extend its reach in the Valley.

Her list of community involvement is long and also includes activities with these organizations: the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc. Phoenix Metropolitan Chapter, Scottsdale Leadership and Scottsdale Community College’s Inclusiveness Council. Her commitment to positive community awareness and impact is in direct alignment with the values and beliefs of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Gina Griffiths (submitted photo)

Gina Griffiths

As director of programs at Scottsdale Training and Rehabilitation Services, Gina Griffiths works tirelessly to improve the lives of individuals with developmental and cognitive disabilities. Ms. Griffiths actively represents many community groups including Neighborhood Outreach Access to Health and the Executive Committee for the Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities, where she serves as an advocate at the state level for positive change in special needs services.

Additionally, she is an active member of the Arizona Employment First Initiative Core Team – a group working to change the paradigm of services for Arizona’s individuals with special needs and increase their opportunities for integrated employment and success.

Ms. Griffiths is a true community steward and advocate for those without a voice, promoting civil and human rights for all, the press release stated.

Author and two-time National Aviation Hall of Fame inductee William “Bill” Norwood will be the keynote speaker at the Scottsdale 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner Celebration. Mr. Norwood was the first African-American pilot at United Airlines. He spent 31 years there, retiring as a captain. He is best known for his book, “Cleared for Takeoff: A Pilot’s Story of Challenges and Triumphs.”

Mr. Norwood will share his story about breaking barriers and developing our future leaders – the inspiration for the evening’s focus. This celebration of Dr. King’s vision and contributions will also feature Scottsdale’s Diversity Champion Awards and Youth Scholarship recipients.

Registration and a reception begin at 5 p.m., followed by dinner and recognition at 6 p.m.

Tickets are $60 per person and can be purchased online at or by calling 480-312-3030.

Community Celebrating Diversity, a Scottsdale-based 501(c)3, hosts this and other educational activities to celebrate and create a greater awareness of our community’s diversity.

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