About our Honorees

Laurie Wexler

Laurie Wexler, Sunflower Leadership Award

Laurie had an idea to accomplish two goals simultaneously, create a bakery to produce great kosher desserts and train young adults with learning differences for employment. She hit the jackpot when Sara Milner was immediately “all-in”. Laurie believes that the incredible challenge of creating opportunity where little exists is a thrill worth all the effort. She feels grateful for Sunflower which enables her to join forces with other imaginative, determined and gifted individuals to give life to dreams, aspirations and self-fulfillment for young adults of varying abilities. As the need for employment training grows, Laurie looks forward to years of collaboration to push wide open the glass ceiling of opportunity for young adults of all abilities. Prior to Sunflower, Laurie led Project Interchange, an institute of the American Jewish Committee, bringing influential global leaders to Israel; the Association of Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT) along with founder Rochelle Sobel; and the Holocaust Education Project at Florida Atlantic University. Laurie has been Sunflower’s driving force. Her incredible vision, her tremendous passion along with her unbelievable persistence have been among the not-so-secret ingredients to the success of Sunflower Bakery.

Dottie Bennett

Dottie Bennett, Community Vision Award

Dottie has been an early avid supporter and thought-provoking board member of Sunflower Bakery. She is inspired by Anne Frank who said “[h]ow wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” True to her commitment and passion for expanding Jewish programming and services to ever-widening circles, Dottie challenged us to think critically about how to shape Cafe Sunflower from its inception. Leading by example, Dottie is a national board member of Moishe House and Vice President of Signature Theatre in Arlington. She is past chair of Project Interchange, an institute of the American Jewish Committee (AJC); and served in leadership positions within national AJC and the Washington chapter. Dottie served for many years on the board of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington and its Endowment Fund. As a community builder, she has been integral to the success of Gesher Day School and vitality of her synagogues, Agudas Achim and Temple Rodef Shalom. Dottie was a 2004 Presidential appointee to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Council where she chaired the Collections and Artifacts Committee and served on the Executive Committee.

Jason Salamon

Jason Salamon, Trusted Advisor Award

Jason Salamon has provided Sunflower with untold hours of guidance and expertise on all aspects of human resource administration and the establishment of related policies. As someone who is immensely passionate about his profession, Jason willingly helps with a great deal of sincerity, warmth and compassion. During the day, Jason is now Vice President of Human Resources & Training at Edgewood and Vantage Management, a residential property management company headquartered in Maryland. His 25 years of experience have included leadership positions at NBC, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Central Parking Corporation, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), and Vornado Realty Trust. Jason currently serves as President of HR Alliance DC, an association of human resources professionals. And, in addition to advising Sunflower, he serves on the Board of Directors of Berman Hebrew Academy and Beth Sholom Congregation.

Sarah Dwyer

Sarah Dwyer, Chouquette Chocolates Employer Parnter

Sarah Dwyer is a Paris-trained chocolatier, obsessed with chocolate covered caramels since she first saw a Whitman’s Sampler at her grandmother’s house. Poking, squishing and biting chocolates until she found a chocolate-covered caramel, she risked spankings, timeouts and no dessert for a week. After 15 years in retail and banking, chocolatier Sarah Dwyer spent a year in Paris learning how to create the perfect version. Inspired by European techniques, local ingredients and beautiful designs, she started Chouquette in 2010 to share delicious happiness with the world. Small batch chocolate covered caramels are her passion. Not only is she passionate about chocolate, Sarah has a strong belief in training young adults with all abilities for employment. The energetic environment that hums at her “chocolate factory” leaves you with not only great chocolate but great vibes about the good things happening there.