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YWCA Madison to Honor Eight Women with 45th Annual Women of Distinction Leadership Awards

Shelia Stubbs

The YWCA Madison will present the 45th Annual Women of Distinction Leadership Awards at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on Thursday, May 30. Today, they have announced that this year’s awards will honor Jacquelyn Boggess, Silvia Gomez de Soriano, Lynn Green, Carolyn Morgan, Nichelle Nichols, Rep. Shelia Stubbs, and Annie Weatherby-Flowers for exemplifying the many ways women lead in the Madison community.

Also, Marisela Gomez Castellanos will be honored with the inaugural Women of Promise Award, open to women 30 years of age or younger, is an opportunity for the community to recognize the contributions of a young woman doing outstanding work in the greater Madison community, as well.

YWCA Madison is inviting the community to celebrate the legacy of Women of Distinction this year.

“We are so excited to be celebrating 45 years of honoring women in our community that are doing amazing work to make our community better. This year our theme is legacy. We have built a rich legacy of Women of Distinction over these 45 years and want to honor that,” says YWCA Madison CEO Vanessa McDowell said in a statement. “These 220 women have inspired so many other women in our community. Legacy is about passing the baton to the next generation. We hope to continue to inspire the next generation with those generations that have come before.”

This year’s event will feature a keynote from 1998 Women of Distinction honoree, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin.

YWCA Madison established the Women of Distinction Leadership Awards to increase community awareness and appreciation of the diverse contributions of women in the workforce and in the community. Women are honored for their community service, professional achievement, integrity, leadership, dedication to the lives of others and to the quality of life for all. These leaders stand as a reflection of the YWCA’s historic mission and values.

About the Honorees:

Jacquelyn Boggess – Ms. Boggess work as co-founder and Executive Director of the Center for Family Policy and Pracice (CFFPP), which involves the investigation of the welfare system, the family law courts, and the child support system. Her particular focus is on the interrelations among these systems, and how the social welfare policy and practice that result from this relationship, affect low-income fathers, mothers, and children.

Marisela Gomez Castellanos – Ms. Gomez Castellanos is a thoughtful and caring leader. As a co-founder and facilitator of ReGeneración, a Latinx youth leadership program at Centro Hispano, she uses her strong cultural ties and knowledge of Mexico to inspire other Latinx youth to see their cultural identities and knowledge as a source of strength and power.

Silvia Gomez de Soriano – Ms. Gomez de Soriano has done what has not been done before at East High School. She has developed an inclusive student organization, Latinx Student Union, which supports and advocates for the Latinx students. Through this group, she focuses on eliminating racism through education and empowers her students to take on positions of leadership.

Lynn Green – Ms. Green has spent her entire career making a difference for those most vulnerable and least empowered, especially mothers and families of color.  From her very first job as a social worker to her distinguished leadership as director of Dane County’s Department of Human Services before retiring, Lynn’s priorities have always been improving the lives of children.

Carolyn Morgan – Ms. Morgan currently serves as the Commander of VFW Post 8483. Carolyn is the first Woman of Color to hold this position in post history. In this role, Carolyn leads the Post Board, its members, and works with the Auxiliary to serve the needs of all military veterans and their families.

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols – Ms. Nichols currently works at the Madison Metropolitan School District as the Executive Director of the Family, Youth, and Community Engagement Department. In her role, she has pushed for schools to engage and partner with families who are the most marginalized. She has encouraged schools to begin thinking differently about the white normed ways of viewing parental involvement in public education.

Rep. Shelia Stubbs – Rep. Stubbs as an elected official on the Dane County Board for 13 years, has spoken boldly and written dozens of pieces of legislation to expand alternatives to the criminal justice system, including creating Dane County’s Community Restorative Court and serving on the Racial Disparities Sub Group of the Criminal Justice Council. She is the first African-American person to represent Dane County in the Wisconsin Assembly.

Annie Weatherby-Flowers – Ms. Weatherby-Flowers in her current position as the library’s Community Engagement Coordinator, she works to improve recognition and understanding of bias within the library and works to connect the library to community groups and individuals to inform and improve library service and experiences. Annie also founded Madison’s Juneteenth festival, recognizing that the Black community in Madison was separated geographically, socially, and economically. Recognizing an opportunity to create an experience that celebrated Black history and bring diverse groups together, Annie formed a nonprofit called Kujichagulia and mobilized leaders, community members, and businesses to host Madison’s first Juneteenth celebration in 1989.

The 45th Annual YWCA Women of Distinction Leadership Awards luncheon takes place on Thursday, May 30, 2019, at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center. Tickets for the award presentation and luncheon are $100 or $900 for a table that seats ten. For more information or to purchase tickets, please contact Erin at (608) 257-1436 option 2 or visit https://ywcamadison.org/blog/event/women-of-distinction.