To Lead. To Inspire. To Create Change.

July 13, 2007 – The WNBA hosted its 2007 WNBA Inspiration Award ceremony at the Renaissance Mayflower hotel.

This year’s recipient is Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleeza Rice.

The award is given to the individual who inspires others through her commitment and dedication to work, family, and community.

WNBA President Donna Orender notes that “inspiration is a powerful and emotional force that fans of all ages have. Dr. Rice is the ultimate example of a positive role model to young people who strive to do great things.”

“She is the epitome of inspiration”, said Orender.

Washington Mystics Managing Partner, Dr. Sheila Johnson spoke to the luncheon attendees of WNBA executives and WNBA All Stars which included Mystics Alana Beard and DeLisha Milton Jones, and explained she is inspired by the women of the WNBA; and in particular the twelve women who make up the Washington Mystics.

“Sometimes they can truly take my breath away.”

Says Dr. Johnson of Secretary Rice, “I also find myself inspired and in awe by the quiet dignity that Dr. Rice exudes and the grace in which she silences her detractors. I am inspired by the way Dr. Rice battles her critics, and at times proves them wrong by the respect she affords them.”

Upon receiving the award, Dr. Rice expressed, “It is a wonderful honor to be selected for this award.”

"The women of the WNBA are role models both on and off the court for young women everywhere."

"Do not to let anyone define your horizons", said Dr. Rice. "This is as true for me as it is for you."

Dr. Rice, formerly National Security Advisor, has been Secretary of State since 2005. She is a graduate of both University of Denver and the University of Notre Dame where she received her Masters degree. She has received several honorary doctorates from such universities as Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia and Mississippi College School of Law.

Dr. Sheila Johnson recently became global Ambassador for the CARE organization which launched its I Am Powerful campaign to eradicate global poverty among women in third-world countries.

The WNBA, now in its 10th year is broadcast in over two hundred countries and in more than fifty languages and has just reached an agreement with ESPN to continue broadcasting WNBA games until 2016.

The WNBA All Star game will take place Sunday July 15th at 3:30 p.m. at the Verizon Center.

See more coverage of the Washington Mystics.

Click here for more WNBA All Star coverage.