YWCA Madison will present the 44th annual Women of Distinction Leadership Awards at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on May 31 and have announced that this year’s awards will honor Alondra Quechol, Barbara Katz, Libby Lee and Kay Simmons for exemplifying its mission of empowering women and eliminating racism.

YWCA Madison’s Women of Distinction Leadership Awards were established to increase community awareness and appreciation of the diverse contributions of women in the workforce and in the community. 2018 marks the 44th year YWCA has presented these annual awards. In that time, more than 220 women have been honored.

This honor is presented to women who represent outstanding achievement in their field of endeavor and whose achievements are supportive of YWCA’s mission. Awards are presented to women who represent a diversity of race, age, occupation, and endeavor.

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

This year’s awards will be presented during the Moxie Conference on May 31.

About the Honorees

The tough “Get things done” Brooklyn NYC girl’s life changed at the birth of her second of three sons. Ben was born with a brain tumor. She and her family were thrown into a multi-year odyssey resulting in Ben having half his brain removed to relives his debilitating seizures. Having a child with a significant disability required Barbara to immediately become an effective advocate, acquire knowledge of the resources and services that her son needed and push for change. She immediately realized how complex and lacking the world of disability resources is for families. Thankfully, Barbara’s heart and will has no boundaries and she continues to support other children and families especially families with limited resources and cultural differences.

Libby is identified at Briarpatch as a mentor, and as an ongoing support for staff. She is the person people go to for guidance, answers and most importantly for leadership. After earning her Bachelors of English and her Master in Counseling, both from UW Whitewater and another Master for Edgewood College in Marriage and Family Therapy, Libby opened up own private practice in Madison, Libby is passionate about connecting with individuals and families through storytelling and honest connections, Libby continues to provide the space for family healing.

Alondra Quechol

Alondra Quechol is a rising star in our community. She made a significant difference in the culture during high school in Middleton, through mentoring students, organizing talk-back sessions with students and teachers, and being a leader in increasing student voice by creating the Student Voice Union.

She has continued her leadership by co-organizing the Defend DACA rally in September of 2017, as an intern at United Way, as a member of the Latino Equity Collaborative and UW Dreamers, student leader of Dia Sin Latinos, co-facilitator of [Re]Generación, and group leader and panelist at the Latino Youth Summit.

Kay Simmons has been an outstanding University of Wisconsin-Madison student mentor, advocate, and administrator for over thirty years. Her outstanding work as Academic Advancement Program Director and Advising Unit Coordinator earned her awards and emeritus status. Kay’s community contributions are also laudatory. These include the UW-Madison Campus and Community Advisory Committee, the Madison-Area Urban Ministry Board, Women in Focus Board, and Madison African American Genealogy Writing Group founder. A community member for many years, Kay has always been a creative mentor and motivator who work toward the self-empowerment of others, especially young adults, adults, and seniors of color.