Keetra Burnette

YWCA Madison will present the 43rd annual Women of Distinction Leadership Awards at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on May 23 and have announced that this year’s awards will honor Keetra Burnette, Robin Dalton, JoAnn Gruber-Hagen, Therese Gulbransen, Dr. JoAnn Pritchett, and Angela Russell for exemplifying its mission of empowering women and eliminating racism.

YWCA Madison has recognized 220 women since the first Woman of Distinction bestowed the honor in 1974. Their community service, professional achievement, integrity, leadership and dedication to the lives of others and to the quality of life for all stand as a reflection of the YWCA’s historic mission and values.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate and honor these six distinguished women and their impactful contributions to our community. These women embody the true spirit of leadership and they are committed to making Madison a better place for ALL. We also truly appreciate the people who nominated this amazingly talented group of nominees and their willingness to take the time to recognize and support these individuals,” says Margaret Leitinger, YWCA Madison board chair.

The 43rd annual YWCA Women of Distinction Leadership Awards luncheon takes place on Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center.

YWCA Madison established the Women of Distinction Leadership Awards to increase community awareness and appreciation of the diverse contributions of women in the work force and in the community. The luncheon occurs every spring in Madison, with an average attendance of about 700.

    About the Honorees

Keetra Burnette – Keetra has held senior positions in both the public and private sector where she has demonstrated leadership, excellence, creativity and initiative. She works as a Senior Director of Community Impact for the United Way where she is the first African American to have held that role. She previously served as COO of the Urban League and prior to that spent ten years at UW Hospital and Clinics. Her extensive community leadership has included founding Madison Black Women Rock, serving as President of the Madison Network of Black Professionals, spearheading a Sickle Cell Awareness blood drive, and much more.

Robin Dalton – Robin is the Senior Immigration Attorney at the RISE Law Center of End Domestic Abuse WI, providing representation to immigrant victims of domestic and sexual abuse in immigration petitions under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). In addition, Robin is an active member and past president of the Asian Bar Association, a former member of the State Bar of Wisconsin’s Board of Governors, and a lead trainer throughout the State of WI in immigration remedies under VAWA. Robin is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

JoAnn Gruber-Hagen – JoAnn is the founder of SlaveFree Madison, a coalition affiliated with the Zonta Club of Madison that raises awareness about human trafficking and mobilizes community actions to eliminate it. Her leadership on anti-human trafficking legislation has changed state policy and practice. As Zonta’s Advocacy Chair, she has built strategic partnerships to address pressing women’s issues. She has empowered women and girls through advocacy training on issues related to women’s health, sexual assault, domestic violence and women’s economic security, and organized legislative visits at the Capitol. As a mentor and tireless advocate, JoAnn’s encore career volunteer contributions have made a significant difference.

Therese Gulbransen – Therese originally pursued nursing school and wanted to be in the medical field. From ages 22 to 27, she worked as a chemical abuse counselor for heroin addicts at a women’s rehab facility. She worked in this field while raising a young daughter as a single mother. As a female business owner of two different printing organizations before joining American Printing Company (APC), she was not afraid to take risks and is an excellent role model for women entrepreneurs. Therese always directs her efforts toward the development of people, which includes staff members, non-profit relationship building and customers/clients.

Dr. JoAnn Pritchett – Joann is really one the unsung heroes of our community. She goes beyond the call of duty to help anyone she can. Without overstating it, Dr. Pritchett is a tremendous force and unique asset within the Madison community. People working in the trenches of the Madison community know and appreciate her commitment to service. Throughout the city, you will find evidence of JoAnn’s contributions.

Angela Russell – Angela has spent a majority of her adult life advocating for positive change as an effort to achieve a more equitable community. Lilla Watson’s quote on shared liberation epitomizes Angela’s approach to this work. Angela consistently focuses her energy on creating the conditions necessary to enable people to feel welcomed, supported and valued. Angela is passionate and committed to combatting racism and systemic oppression collectively in the name of good for all.

Written by Madison365 staff