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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

YWCA announces 2018 Women of Achievement honorees

By Nina Culver For The The Spokesman-Review

The YWCA has announced the names of the nine women it will be honoring at its 36th annual Women of Achievement luncheon this fall.

The event has honored more than 230 women since it began. “We definitely want to help bring together individuals in Spokane to honor and acknowledge the amazing contribution of women in our community,” said YWCA Director of Communications Erica Schreiber. “The things they’ve done is just astounding.”

The women being honored this year are: Sandra Olgard, owner and founder of Sandra Olgard’s Studio of Dance; Sharelynn Moore, senior vice president of networked solutions group at Itron; Sandy Williams, publisher and editor of the Black Lens News; Karen Winston, director of the Children’s Advocacy Center; Sally Pritchard, vice president of community impact for Spokane County United Way; Lisa Taylor Laurier, department chair of the teacher education program and profession of education at Whitworth University; Lois James, assistant professor at the Washington State University College of Nursing; and Rebecca Long, president and founder of the nonprofit Future Ada, which encourages women in STEAM fields.

A lifetime achievement award will be posthumously given to Sister Celine Steinberger of the Sisters of Holy Names of Jesus and Mary. She was an elementary school educator in Spokane, Tacoma and Seattle and worked at the Holy Names Music Center for many years. She was a Catholic nun for 55 years before she died on Christmas Day last year.

The awards have been going on so long they are now on to the second generation. “One of the very first honorees is the mother of one of this year’s honorees,” said Schreiber.

Karen Winston is the daughter of Vivian Winston, who was honored with a Women of Achievement award in 1982.

The nine women will be honored at the luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at the Davenport Grand Hotel, 333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd. The keynote speaker will be author and filmmaker Gloria Norris. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased by calling (509) 789-9305 or visiting

The event typically draws more than 1,200 people and is the YWCA’s largest fundraiser of the year, said Schreiber. The money supports the organization’s many domestic violence programs, and the event is also a way to raise awareness about the programs and domestic violence in general.

The YWCA runs a shelter for domestic violence victims, offers legal support and runs a women’s opportunity center that helps women with job skills, resumes and networking. They also run a boutique offering women’s clothing, and every Wednesday they offer a “wrap around” clinic that brings in representatives from several other agencies who can help women fleeing domestic violence.

“That’s been really successful,” said Schreiber. “It fills up every Wednesday.”

All of the programs are designed to help domestic violence victims flee their abuser, get housing and find a job. “Each one of our programs connects nicely to each other,” Schreiber said.