This year’s recipients represent leadership in many facets of the Racine community:
- Marie Abbott, Arts & Humanity category. Through her work as an artist and her expertise as a docent at RAM and Wustum Museum, Marie Abbott has shared her love of the arts with Racine. She recently has been working with a program to bring the arts to Alzheimer patients and their caregivers.
- Ida Alia, Anna DeBartolo and Gemma DeBartolo Wells, Professional/Business category. These three women are co-owners of Salute Italian Restaurant. They are strong supporters of the Italian community and serve as mentors and role models to their employees.
- Kristin Hildebrandt, Young Woman of Tomorrow category. A June graduate of Burlington Catholic Central, Kristin Hildebrandt is an exceptional student and volunteer. She has been involved in Key Club, orchestra, Girl Scouts and 4H, also raising and selling rare breeds of specialty poultry.
- Teri Jendusa Nicolai, Woman of Courage category. She is a strong woman, with courage to speak out on domestic violence. Teri Jendusa Nicolai has taken a terrible personal tragedy and turned it into a positive by sharing her story and the warning signs with various groups.
- Anastasia Majors, Young Woman of Tomorrow category. A June graduate of JI Case High School, Anastasia Majors has overcome truancy, teen pregnancy and academic issues to achieve success. She is working as certified nursing assistant and will study nursing at Gateway Technical College.
- Susan Richardson, Youth Education category. Although trained in the human resources field, Susan Richardson has focused her volunteer time on youth. She was a Girl Scout leader for 12 years, a 4H project leader for 11 years and started a job skills workshop for high school students in Racine and Kenosha.
- Laura Sumner Coon, Human Rights category. Through her work as Executive Director at San Juan Diego Middle School and now at SOAR (Scholarship, Opportunities and Access in Racine), Laura Sumner Coon has worked to champion the rights of the underserved in education.
- Sister Janet Weyker, Environmental category. As Director of the Eco-Justice Center, Sister Janet Weyker is concerned about sustainability and the environment. She has developed workshops, camps and events that teach about the environment and respect for life.
Women of Distinction, a nationally established YWCA award, is designed to honor women who are committed to creating strong, sustainable social change through passion, insight and leadership. Over 180 women Racine County women have been honored in the 23 years the YWCA of Racine has celebrated this event.