The 2017 Leadership Award Honorees

Crittenton honors women and men who have shown a steadfast commitment to improving the lives and futures of teen girls and young women.


Kathleen Abernathy 
Special Counsel
Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP

Ms. Abernathy has built an extraordinary career pioneering new ground for women while leading by example. From the first moment she was introduced to Crittenton, she immediately became a champion for the organization and our critical work helping teen girls overcome a breadth of challenges. She also helped new college graduates to invest their talent, energy, and training in public service through the John Gardner Fellowship Association. Furthermore, she provided her leadership to build child advocacy coalitions as a board member of organization, Children Now.

Professionally, Ms. Abernathy recently returned to Wilkinson Barker Knauer, bringing years of top-level government and corporate experience. She was elected to the Board of Directors of Frontier Communications as an independent director in 2006 following her term as a Commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission from 2001 to 2005.  In 2010, she joined Frontier as Chief Legal Officer and Executive Vice President, Regulatory and Governmental Affairs. She was on the leadership team that oversaw a number of strategic acquisitions that eventually grew Frontier to a Fortune 250 company. She is also a member of the Board of Directors of ISO New England since 2012. Prior to her term as an FCC Commissioner, Ms. Abernathy worked for a number of different telecommunications companies and law firms.

Ms. Abernathy received her B.A. magna cum laude from Marquette University and her J.D. from Catholic University of America's Columbus School of Law, where she was a Distinguished Practitioner in Residence. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the Federal Communications Bar Association, of which she is a Past-President, and has served as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center and The Columbus School of Law.


LaTara Harris
Regional Director of External and Legislative Affairs

LaTara Harris has dedicated countless hours helping Crittenton make meaningful connections to other peer organizations and local champions, raising needed funds to support the organization’s mission and work. In 2016, Ms. Harris joined Crittenton’s Board of Directors, deepening her commitment to supporting teen girls across our region. 

In 2013, Ms. Harris was named AT&T’s regional director of external and legislative affairs, after more than 10 years with the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education where she held a variety of senior roles including director of partnerships and outreach. One of the most vital parts of her role with AT&T is to be visible within the community, which she does through charitable giving programs, working with elected officials, and local outreach.

Ms. Harris is very active in her community serving on the board of the District of Columbia’s Workforce Investment Council, The Living Legacy Foundation, the Baltimore City African American Leadership Forum for Public Safety, and is a member of the Prince George’s County Public School’s Superintendent’s Business Advisory Council. She continues to be recognized for her steadfast community contributions including the Maryland Top 100 Women Award and the 2014 & 2015 US President’s Volunteer Service Award.


Nancy Navarro
District 4 Councilmember
Montgomery County Council

Proudly representing District 4 on the Montgomery County Council since she was elected in a special election in 2009, Nancy Navarro is the first Latina member of the Council. She is the Chair of the Government, Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee, and a member of the Education Committee. She’s served as Council President and Vice President during her tenure, and her office has led the groundbreaking Latino Civic Project, an effort to engage underrepresented residents in the civic process.

Councilmember Navarro has remained a champion of girls and young women, increasing resources and collaboration between organizations like Crittenton, helping them grow and better meet the needs of Montgomery County teen girls.

Before serving through her public office, Councilmember Navarro co-founded the non-profit, Centro Familia, a community-based organization that assists the economic and educational development of Latino and other immigrant communities. She was a member and then President of the MCPS Board of Education serving on the Communications and Public Engagement Committee. Councilmember Navarro has also served in several volunteer leadership roles. Currently, she sits on the boards of directors of The Metropolitan Council of Governments and the Ana G. Mendez Advisory Board. She is co-founder of the Montgomery County Non-Profit Village; member of the Montgomery County Gang Preventions Task Force; and National Child Care Action Campaign.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions, including: the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County’s Leadership Award; the Maryland State Department of Education’s Women Who Dare Leadership Award; Maryland’s Top 100 Women Award; and the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Elected Local Government Official of the Year Award. Councilmember Navarro graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Missouri (Columbia). She was born in Caracas, Venezuela and has lived in Montgomery County for more than two decades with her husband, Reginald, and two daughters.


David Owens
Executive Vice President, Business Operations Group and Regulatory Affairs (ret.)
Edison Electric Institute 

In his capacity as the first African American to hold an officer title at EEI, Mr. Owens has significant responsibility his capacity as the first African American to hold an officer title at EEI, Mr. Owens has significant responsibility over a broad range of issues that affect the future structure of the electric industry and new rules in evolving competitive markets. Mr. Owens has frequently appeared before U.S. Congressional Committees, and is recognized as one of the foremost authorities on electric utility issues and industry restructuring. He has been at EEI for more than 29 years, starting his EEI career as Director, Rates and Regulation.

He is a graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor and Masters of Engineering degrees. He also has a Masters in Engineering Administration from George Washington University, and has attended executive courses at Howard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Michigan State University.

Mr. Owens has distinction in Who’s Who Among Black Americans, Who’s Who In The Government, and has been honored as Outstanding Leader in the Utility Industry. He is the recipient of the James E. Stewart Award, the highest distinction for an American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) member, and he was awarded the President’s Cup by AABE for his leadership on public policy matters. Mr. Owens sits on the Boards of the National Academy of Sciences, serves as Chair of the IDEA Public Charter School Board of Trustees, Chairman of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Smart Grid Advisory Committee, and is an active member of a number of professional and community-based organizations.