Women’s History Month at Starlight

Since 1982, women have been celebrated in the US during the month of March. This focus is meant to commemorate and encourage the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. 

Starlight has had a long line of women who have made an impact in our past, present, and now the future! We’re sharing a few to end Women’s History Month 2024. 

Lindsey Rood-Clifford

One of the current women making an impact on Starlight is Lindsey Rood-Clifford. In 2023, she was appointed the first female President + C.E.O. 

“It is a great honor to be appointed President + C.E.O. of Starlight. I have been privileged to call Starlight my home for more than 16 years, and this organization has meant so much to me throughout my life and career,” Rood-Clifford said. 

She’s been inspired by many women throughout her personal life and career. From her mother, teachers, and former bosses, she learned resilience, leadership, and commitment to quality.

When asked why she thinks it’s important to be Starlight’s first female C.E.O., she responded:

“In this moment, I think it’s important in the story of Starlight that its next chapter looked and felt different than the ones that came before because the needs and vision are different. What the culture needs, what employees need, what the vision is and can be – I’m not sure that required a woman, but I think that it required different, and I’m honored to fulfill that need.” 

I think representation does matter in all things, and that the goal is to be the first but not the last.”

Lindsey Rood-Clifford First Female President + C.E.O. of Starlight

Jan Morevitska

Another woman who has made a big impact in Starlight’s history is Starlight Ambassador Jan Morevitska.  

Jan has volunteered her time and talents to Starlight for more than 50 years! It began in 1969 when she joined the Starlight Women’s Committee, and she’s been here ever since. Jan supports Starlight in numerous ways, including leading daytime venue and backstage tours, planning special events, helping maintain Starlight’s historical archives, and serving on the Ambassador Advisory Team each season.  

She has been named Starlight’s Ambassador of the Year three times, and in 2011, she and her husband Lee (who also volunteers at Starlight) received national recognition with the Star of Touring Broadway Award from The Broadway League. 

In 2018, Jan celebrated her 50th year as a Starlight volunteer. A bronze plaque was installed on the west side of the venue to commemorate her dedication. 

Virginia Donovan

As Starlight’s first “wardrobe mistress” in 1951, Donovan was responsible for fitting the principal actors and chorus members for every show. This included pressing and delivering costumes to dressing rooms and last-minute updates or emergency repairs. In some cases, she would need to redesign entire wardrobes.

The costume shop was in a small metal building, and the temperature would get unbearable at times. Finally, an air conditioning unit was donated to the shop, but Donovan never complained. She stayed at Starlight until 1964. 

More women who have made an impact at Starlight include: 
Ora Reynolds is a former Board chair and is the first female CEO of Hunt Midwest. 

Anita Gorman is 93 and still attends almost every Board meeting of ours as a Lifetime Board member! 

Shirley Helzberg was one of the first female Board chairs for Starlight. Her legacy at Starlight can be seen in The Shirley Bush Helzberg Garden of the Stars that was built in 1997.

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