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

The nominees are…

Thank you. We asked to hear from you about the fantastic women you know. You answered in a big way, with names of many accomplished and talented individuals. Although we could only profile 15 women from your suggestions, we want to give everyone a little love. So here are your nomination letters. They have been edited for length.

Jessica Bonar

Benefits adviser, Advanced Benefits, Lady D’Alenes board member, AA counselor, community volunteer

Nominated by Arwyn Robinson

I have never heard someone speak who is so uplifting, yet vulnerable. Jessica bares herself for everyone to see and shows us and teaches us that vulnerability isn’t a weakness, but rather creates the opportunity to support each and become even stronger than before.

Karla Porter

Owner/operator of Insight Thermal Imaging and co-founder of Beyond Pink, a nonprofit providing access to breast cancer screening

Nominated by Darin Watkins

Her passion for medicine developed at an early age when she lost her own mother to cancer. She now uses this energy to help save the lives of women right here in our community.

Delores Rustad Lorenz

Speech pathologist, co-creator of the Successful Stuttering Management Program

Nominated by Annemarie Frohnhoefer

A recent study claims that optimism is the secret to a long life. If that is the case, then Delores Lorenz will likely live forever. After earning her masters’ degree in speech pathology and audiology from Eastern Washington University in 1985, Mrs. Lorenz spent 27 consecutive summers working alongside Dr. Dorvan H. Brietenfeldt. They developed the Successful Stuttering Management Program (SSMP).

Robbi Katherine Anthony

Owner of Praxis Coworking and Firedove Technology, former candidate for Spokane County Commission.

Nominated by Annemarie Frohnhoefer

Robbi’s open heart and mind lean to the left side of the political spectrum, yet she balances what some would see as “weak” traits with all the acumen of a conservative business leader. As a business owner, she has a deep respect for the capitalist business model but doesn’t stoop to greed. … Whatever Ms. Anthony chooses to do next, Spokane should find inspiration in the fact that she lives here, works here and that she will make our county a much better place for a very long time.

Maryann C. Moreno

Spokane Superior Court Judge

Nominated by Annemarie Frohnhoefer

Who held a hearing in the court’s driveway during a fire drill? Judge Maryann C. Moreno. Who helps quash hundreds of warrants during the annual Spokane Homeless Connect Warrant Fest? Judge Maryann C. Moreno. Judge Moreno is fair and intelligent and I wouldn’t ever want to be a defendant in her courtroom, at least not without a damn good lawyer.

Allison Rose Sattin

Owner of marketing firm 1-Stop Media, founder of the women’s support organization BuildU Girl Gang.

Nominated by Nancy Hill, Rena McGill

As an active leader in our community for 32 years, it is in my opinion that Allison is a woman that stands for what is good in our community. She strives to be a leader by paving the way for other entrepreneurs while also supporting local businesses and building up those that need a helping hand along the way. Her passion for improving our Spokane community is evident in all that she does.

Cori Riddle

Community volunteer, with interest in supporting people with autism and epilepsy, and the fight against addiction

Nominated by Marissa Shamblin

Words can not express this woman; she is compassionate, driven, kind, beautiful and smart. Cori has overcome so much and still decides to give freely to those around her. She is a God-fearing woman that approaches every challenge with an open and honest heart. She has been a positive role model in so many lives and will meet you where you are without expectations.

Nicolle Hansen

Manager, Small Business Administration’s Women’s Business Center

Nominated by Chris Pasterz

Each and every year Nicolle quietly guides new business owners to successful operation of their dream jobs, and creating over 100 new jobs benefiting our community … Nicole’s humble and sincere support comes easy as she intimately knows the challenges faced in the business world. Having just completed a Whitworth MBA and graduating with honors, she lives out an essential trait of successful leaders, a love of learning.

Julie Kay Webster

National Art Honors Society Member, director of ABM at Ignitium, LLC, and Morning Star Foundation board member

Nominated by Erin Neal

Julie was the first woman we have had on (the Morning Star) board in several years and immediately got down to business. With Julie on the board, we have been able to effectively move forward with plans to help more children in our community including foster families, homeless single mothers, and getting over 400 Title 1 Elementary students outside for learning opportunities. She has been a guide throughout the whole process.

Peggy Doering

Executive director, Valleyfest

Nominated by Marcia Asmussen

Peggy always has many balls in the air and she handles them with precision, respect and integrity. She works with all kinds of people: politicians, volunteers, executives, business owners and youth. Everyone loves her. Valleyfest has grown into a huge production of fun, free activities in September which includes a parade. … Peggy deserves to be recognized for all the things Valleyfest brings to Spokane Valley.

Kitara Johnson

Chief development officer, Excelsior Youth Services

Nominated by Earl Moore

Kitara is a veteran who has overcome many hardships. … With the motivation to not just survive, but to excel, Kitara went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in workforce development and a master’s degree in organizational leadership and management. A former director of multicultural student services for Spokane Community College, she is or has been involved in various causes and organizations. She has the passion to serve wherever she is called.

Krista Larson

Science teacher, Central Valley High School

Nominated by Debra Long

Krista Larson is an amazing teacher at Central Valley high school. Several years ago she started up the green team to make children aware of what could be recycled. Every year she coordinates the making of blankets for Blessings Under the Bridge. Above all she coordinates the community garden. Her endeavors teach our children how to grow and produce food for our community.

Margo Mossburg

Director, Dachshund Rescue Northwest

Nominated by Shelly Bridges

Margo started the Dachshund Rescue and has been the director since 1991 … We place 150 dogs each year many of whom are too vicious for animal shelters to retrain and rehome. … Margo will do everything in her power to make sure any dog is safe and in the right home. Also Margo has helped mentor me in the care for dogs and has helped me come out of my shell because when I first met Margo I was very shy and didn’t talk to many people. By working with Margo she has helped me to over come tears of being in public place. Doing events for Dachshund Rescue has helped me be a better person all thanks to Margo.

Earl Moore

Delegate, Respiratory Care Society of Washington; member, Spokane Human Rights Commission; president, Ponderosa Women’s Club

Nominated by Marguerite DiMauro

Comment: Earl is an inspirational woman who is very active and involved in her community. … She is always going out of her way to help others and is a nature born Leader. She is always on the go and is very active and would put most 20-year-olds to shame. Earl has a wealth of knowledge and experience.

Peggy Estey

Social studies teacher, East Valley High School

Nominated by Lori Merkel

To say Peggy has affected the students she has taught is an understatement. What she has done is lit a torch that the students themselves have carried and passed on locally and globally. A remarkable educator and a woman, second to none, Peggy Estey will always be a woman of the year to the students and colleagues she works with daily.

Kate Burke

Spokane City Council member

Nominated by Marggy Burke

She is passionate, hard working and continues to fight for the rights of all Spokane citizens. Kate is not afraid to speak out for all who have lost their voices.

Shelly “Jasmine” Bridges

Volunteer, Dachshund Rescue Northwest

Nominated by Margo Mossburg

Shelly is one of our main volunteers at Dachshund Rescue NW since 2010. No matter what kind of day I am having I can’t help but smile when I see her and know she always has the dog’s best interest at heart. It is not often that a gal and her dog both are nominated but these two are a package deal to help us place 150 homeless wiener dogs every year at Dachshund Rescue NW. Because she is such a wonderful volunteer I can count on she has helped us placed around 1,350 dogs in the time since she started volunteering.

Hanncel Sanchez

Founder, Mujeres in Action (MIA), an advocacy group that assists the Latinx Spokane community

Nominated by Ana Trusty

Hanncel is a young woman who persuaded her family to move from Florida to Washington 4 years ago to pursue a better future with access to a great education. Hanncel … is a volunteer for the Lutheran Community Services as a rape survivors’ advocate. She is hard working, passionate, and motivated to help others.

Lili Navarrete

Director of Public Affairs and Raiz at Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho

Nominated by Paul Dillon

Lili quickly distinguished herself as a conscientious, energetic and hard worker and attended numerous advocacy events in addition to her full time job. It was a no-brainer when it came time to hire Lili for the position of Volunteer Coordinator at our affiliate in August of 2017. It was a position that we had struggled with to define but Lili quickly remade the entire program into a huge success and something we could be proud of - I have enormous respect for her skills and commitment to people. She now manages 200 volunteers who put in over 3,000 hours last year.

Brandi Peetz

Spokane Valley City Councilwoman

Nominated by Bob West

Because she is my daughter. Because she has remained steadfast in her goals to make the Valley a better place for our children. Because she has stood up to Matt Shea and his followers and their relentless attacks against her and our family. Because she is passionate and does her homework on issues at the Valley City council meetings, even in the face of being rebuked by the “gang of 4”.

Katherine Morgan

Senior vice president, Bank of America; former president and CEO of the Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce

Nominated by Greg Benner

I have known Katherine for about 15 years. She has blossomed in so many ways, both professionally and personally over the years. It has been my honor to know her and witness the changes. Her dedication to her profession, her community, and her family, are without bounds.

Maggie DiMauro

Republican Party activist

Nominated by Tonya Tangvald

She is extremely active in the Republican Party. She worked side by side with Cathy McMorris Rogers during her elections. She proudly worked on President Trump’s campaign. … She is involved in more ways than I can count. Being a proud Republican, getting the word out, and being involved is her life.

Eva Marquette

Owner and founder of FreshVue, a strategic organizational design and development firm

Nominated by Cami Eakins

(Eva’s) unique approach to organizational development, executive coaching and storytelling is helping organizations think more strategically, create culture and environment that is great for employees, customers, and our community. She is active in the Spokane community and making Spokane a great place to live, work and do business.

Brooke Baker

Director of business development at Baker Construction & Development

Nominated by Alyssa Walsh

Brooke is such a powerhouse in the construction community. She has stepped into a “mans world” and really made a name for herself. She is involved in so many leadership and networking groups and has really proven herself in the development of this community. She is always helping young leaders rise above and be a mentor to so many. She is so hard working and keeps a positive attitude no matter what struggles come her way.

Julie Garcia

Founder, Jewels Helping Hands

Nominated by Jason Green, Tom Robinson, Rose C. Messick

Family Promise/Open Doors lost their kitchen in March and Julie stepped up and provided them meals seven days a week since and continues until they get their new facility. Julie started a Pop-up Cooling Center Aug 7-9 due to high heat and unhealthy air quality. She has a bus, Magic Owl Bus, that travels around to bring basic needs and food to the houseless. She also has a four-stall mobile shower called the Showers of Hope that can provide showers anywhere. Julie has done this all with donations from the community and funded it ourselves.

Linda Lawrence Hunt

Educator, co-founder of the Krista Foundation, cancer survivor

Nominated by Meredith Banka and Dorothy Bahr

Comment: Linda is a legend. … As an educator she has touched the life of thousands of students. As a mother, who lost her adult daughter in a tragic bus accident in Bolivia, Linda (in partnership with her husband Jim) created the Krista Foundation, a 501c3 that provides micro grants to students serving our communities. As a mentor, she has a countless number of women across generations who she directly guides through life. As an inspiration, Linda is a cancer survivor who is currently battling stage four breast cancer that has moved to her bones … Linda is a pure example of love, loss and faith – all embodied through the joy of living each day to the fullest.

Rebekah Alice

Lilac City Midwifery

Nominated by Corey Jeppesen

She is a solo midwife in Spokane and there isn’t a more caring, wise and kind woman in our city. She delivers babies for her clients at their homes, brings them and others gifts when they are having a hard time and takes care of all she knows. She’s heavy on social with her mission and has done so much for those around her. She runs her company with hustle, passion and inspiration.

Gina Wolf

Wolf Chiropractic

Nominated by Lori Maupin

She started Wolf Chiropractic in the Spokane Valley a little over 12 years ago and has grown exponentially in her practice and is well respected within the medical community of Spokane. With all of her hard work and determination she was able to grow large enough to support 23 employees and help thousands of patients. She was recognized as Washington State Chiropractor of the year in 2016 and is involved nationally in multiple committees for the American Chiropractic Association.

Shauna Edwards

Founder, Lumen Charter School for Teenage Mothers

Nominated by Kyle Eberth and Drew Lochhead

Shauna is is in process of launching Lumen Charter School for Teenage Mothers. Shauna’s work with this demographic is inspiring and challenging, meeting tangible needs, bringing together local social services to support and launch these young women and their babies. Shauna is dynamic, humble, and mostly undaunted in her work to better the community around her.

Nikki Lockwood

Spokane Public Schools’ Board of Directors candidate

Nominated by Carla Smith and Mavis Barnes

Nikki is running for school board in district 1. She has been a leader behind the scenes in the schools, tirelessly working to better educate and include our children and provide them the skills they need to thrive in the world. She has taken not only an educational but political lead and has a long history of advocacy for education, human rights and fairness.

Marilyn Thordason

Nominated by Kristy Hamby, President Spokane Lilac Festival

With more than 40 years of service to the Spokane Lilac Festival, she is a festival past president, wrote our book celebrating our 75th year and is currently part of our financial development team. She sits on the Spokane Park Board and helps with the Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital.

Amy Khosravi

Managing broker, Century 21 Beutler Associates

Nominated by Julie Cronin

With a life-long love of the Spokane community, Amy lives her life looking for ways to give back. A top producer and leader in Spokane real estate, small business entrepreneur, and long time volunteer are just a few of her descriptors. An ardent Washington State University alumni and Kappa Alpha Theta alumni officer, Amy is invested in Spokane and Eastern Washington.

Stephanie Vigil

News anchor, KHQ

Nominated by Jay Underwood

Stephanie has served the community as a calming presence on the TV as a news anchor, but she gives back by volunteering her time and talents to help raise funds for several local charitable organizations. She developed her own class and curriculum at Gonzaga University that has become a student favorite called Image and Reputation Management that she continues to teach.

Jude Cormier

Advocate for people with disabilities

Nominated by Cece Padon

Jude is a member of Work Source Accessibility Team, committee member with Access 4 All and the Accessible Communities Advisory Committee. Jude volunteers with Riverfront Park Accessibility Work group and is currently working with the City Council to get curb cuts put in on Freya. She also volunteers her time at Sheridan Elementary and doesn’t let her own disability get in the way.

Becky Hoogstad

Program manager, Salvation Army’s Sally’s House

Nominated by Brian Pickering

Becky has been the program manager of Sally’s House, the only emergency foster care house in Spokane County for children ages 2-12, for 10 years, but has been involved in this program for 12. This is not an easy position to hold. It involves having a caring and loving heart to help incoming children who have gone through some horrific situations in their lives, as well as patience and understanding to help them in the program.

Barbara Miller

Director of the Silver Valley Community Resource Center

Nominated by Robert M McCroskey

It isn’t easy to conduct grassroots activism in the Pacific Northwest and especially no more so in a company town culture in one of the nations largest Superfund sites. Barbara Miller has been persistent for many years with education, outreach, door knocking, leadership trainings, research and networking to encourage others to speak out. … Barbara is well versed in lead education and how to break the cycle of its exposure.

Peg Hopkins

CHAS founder and retired CEO

Nominated by Ellen Weiser, Melinda Warren

Peg Hopkins took on the challenge to start CHAS 25 years ago. CHAS is the health care community clinics that serve many patients in Eastern Washington. Twenty-five years later the success of CHAS has created health care for thousands of residents in Eastern Washington and hundreds of employment opportunities.

Teresa Venne

East Spokane Kiwanis Club

Nominated by Natalie K. DuPree

Teresa is a past secretary and president of East Spokane Kiwanis, and currently serves on the board of directors. She is a past Lieutenant Governor of Northwest District of Kiwanis and will serve that position again in 2020. She is the Lead Volunteer Coordinator at the Salvation Army Backpack Function each August. With her leadership thousands of backpacks are filled and distributed. Additionally she volunteers at Vanessa Behan Nursery, Ronald McDonald House, Mission Outreach Community Center and Meals on Wheels. Nothing is too small for Teresa Venne.

Barbara Olson

Retired middle school teacher, Cheney School District

Nominated by Joanne Smith

She is so loved by her former students that through the years she has invitations to celebrations important to their lives such as weddings and graduations, and she attends as many as she is able. The dedication to her students this master teacher has no bounds which has been acknowledged by her school district and Eastern Washington University.

Yvonne A.K. Johnson

Executive director, Spokane Valley Summer Theatre

Nominated by Marnie Rorholm

Yvonne A.K. Johnson is an extraordinary leader in the regional performing arts community. After 8 years at Spokane Civic Theatre, she began her own professional theater company in the City of Spokane Valley, Spokane Valley Summer Theatre. The fourth season just closed with record-breaking attendance. Through the SVST Conservatory program, Yvonne aims to inspire artistic excellence among the youth of our community in a professional environment. … Yvonne is a kind and generous servant-leader, improving the arts in the Inland Northwest, one phenomenal production at a time.

Juli Norris

Restauranteur and chef

Nominated by Kellsey Martinez, Aubri Mikels

Juli is an incredible chef and entrepreneur, she co-owns and operates the Downriver Grill. She is driven, full of ideas, and always putting others before herself. She also owns a consulting company, Savoi Hospitality, and works with several other restaurants in the Northwest to help them with food and labor cost, menu development, brand identity, and management strategies. As a woman in this industry, she has had to prove herself and overcome unique challenges to move forward and find success.

Lindsey Soffes

Executive director, SCRAPS

Nominated by Crystal Bolster, Diane Versteeg, Carson Mathews

Lindsey has changed the way SCRAPS addresses its mission by eliminating euthanasia for too many animals in the shelter. Instead other options have been sought and found. Her solutions are innovating and continue to encompass the best foot forward for the agency. She believes passionately that not only do animals need to be treated humanely, we need to make options available for them in our community. Education the community about how our animals interact with us is another important roll she is seeking to fill.

Alison Poulsen

Executive director, Better Health Together

Nominated by Kim Brinkmann

Alison’s leadership was instrumental in having BHT become the region’s Accountable Community of Health (ACH), positioning the organization for the opportunity to implement the Affordable Care Act in Washington, as well as facilitate activities and funding from the Medicaid waiver. Under Alison’s leadership, BHT has been leading more than 100 organizations on collaborative efforts to link primary care and behavioral health; increase integrated care for chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure; and implement activities to address the opioid crisis.

Dia Maurer

Executive director, Partnering for Progress; executive director, Transitions

Nominated by Gordon S. Jackson

Even though P4P is a small organization, with one local support staff person (also part-time), it’s complex. Dia oversees two Kenyan staff members at a distance, as they implement P4P’s programs in nutrition for malnourished infants and toddlers; health clinics; scholarships; economic development; and water/sanitation projects. … (Wanting) to contribute more in Spokane, Dia accepted the executive director position at Transitions, which runs programs for homeless women and children.

Mariah McKay

Executive director, Spokane Independent Metro Business Alliance

Nominated by Mary Benham, Carol Bryan, and Christy Himmelright and Emily Himmelright

Mariah has been dedicating her enthusiasm, energy and creativity to the Spokane Community for several years. She is the executive director at Spokane Independent Metro Business Alliance, a board member at Spokane’s University District, and also a former Public Health Educator at Spokane Regional Health District. She also manages Spokane Cohousing, an innovative project known as Haystack Heights in the Perry District, a model for urban cooperative housing.

Robin Redman

Adaptive sports advocate

Nominated by Nancy Kiehn

Robin has single-handedly organized and spearheaded community support for adaptive sports in Spokane, including nordic skiing, climbing, and paddling. Robin has worked tirelessly and continuously, at her own expense, because she believes that all individuals should have equal access to outdoor pursuits. She has spent hours meeting with people from the community to promote awareness, secure funding for equipment, provide training, and coordinate all interested volunteers. I

Nancy MacKerrow

“Susie Tree” founder

Nominated by Katherine Rimbach

In 2002, retired library employee Nancy MacKerrow lost her daughter Susie. While dealing with grief, Nancy decided to plant a tree in honor of her daughter. That first “Susie Tree” in Manito Park has become part of a forest scattered across Spokane and in many spots across the globe. This is due to Nancy’s drive to improve our environment in honor of her daughter’s passions. There have been approximately 350 trees added to the Spokane environment and many more internationally.

Bindi Tilbury

Executive director of the Jonah Project

Nominated by Jim Anderson

Bindi is a co-founder and executive director of the Jonah Project, a local grassroots organization that helps survivors of sex trafficking and other at-risk women and youth. This incredible organization has helped many individuals though relocation, advocacy, counseling, and education. They … This network is making a real and lasting impact by giving freedom and hope to those who have been exploited by sex traffickers. Bindi is a lovely person who leads with wisdom, humility, and compassion.

Deborah Di Bernardo

Owner, Roast House Coffee

Nominated by Aaron Jordan

Since founding Roast House Coffee nearly 10 years ago, Deborah has remained committed to the values and ethics her company was founded on. Since then she has donated more than 10,000 cups of coffee a year to a variety of nonprofits and initiatives from the Lands Council to Save Our Wild Salmon to Bloomsday just to name a few. An integral part of sourcing coffee is committed to women-produced coffees and initiatives in origins around the country (Guatemala, Peru, Sumatra, Colombia among others).

Charlie Brewer

Co-founder, Beyond Pink

Nominated by Karla Porter

Beyond Pink was started 10 years ago to help educate about and fund breast thermal imaging for local women.Her ambition has helped to save many lives locally by providing the education about and the technology that has the ability to see breast disease years before a mass (tumor) has had the ability to form. Because there is no radiation, no compression and no pain, it makes the technology desirable for all women.

Lisa Brown

Former state senator

Nominated by Golie Jansen

Lisa Brown is an outstanding and effective leader. She sets high standards to achieve goals for the common good and she is fighter to achieve them. She credits the people that work with her and always keeps her eyes on the ultimate vision for a project or initiative. Above all, she is unassuming and is always focused on the cause, without any self interest. She is a very deserving candidate for the nomination of the ‘Wondrous women’ award.

Traci Swanson

Our Place Community Outreach

Nominated by Gaylene Harris, Kathleen Hay, Jan Giesa, Mary Ann Hartsfield, Mitch Finley, Renee Myron

Traci has always been the glue that holds Our Place together. She is kind, cheerful and is always finding ways of accommodating our West Central clients with their needs, beyond what we traditionally offer to them. She also has a kind heart when it comes to her volunteers that may have issues that come up in their life’s. … She is a woman on a mission helping with West Central and the homeless that come to Our Place.

Sarah Carlson

Founder, Fulcrum Financial Group

Nominated by Elli Saywers, Meridith Jemison

In a field usually overrun by the “good ol’ boys,” Sarah has made a name for herself by setting her business apart from other similar adviser business a in Spokane. She takes a more personal, big-picture approach with her clients and specializes with people experiencing a life transition such as: divorce, widowhood, retirement, etc. … I also admire Sarah for the work she does in the Spokane community. As a board member of the Women Helping Women Fund, she uses her limited free time to help empower, educate, and embolden the less fortunate women and children in Spokane.

Amber Williams

Banner Bank

Nominated by Wanda Clifford

Not only does Amber manage two Banner Bank branches, she sits on the board of a nonprofit., Cancer Can’t and runs their fund raising auctions. A former board member of the YMCA, Amber is dedicated in her community and shows that with her support of local events. Amber also is an advocate of good health, rising every morning to hit the gym or run involving others to join with her.

Lindell Haggin

Board member, Spokane Audubon Society and Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley

Nominated by Tina Wynecoop

She quietly works for preservation of the environment and the results of her efforts are measurable, loud, and beneficial: She leads Audubon groups on birdwatching trips, sharing her knowledge of our local avian population. She coordinates and participates in native bird surveys to establish a baseline for populations of species in the shrub-steppe of Eastern Washington.

Her concord grape pie is outstanding and wondrous.

Allison Roskelley


Nominated by Tom Simpson

Allison is an executive with Seven2 in Spokane, an avid outdoors person, wife of the late Spokane climber Jess Roskelley, spin instructor and model.

Lacy Crowder

NAI Black

Nominated by Tom Simpson

Lacy is an up and coming dynamo in Spokane. She is a CPA and CFO of NAI Black in Spokane. Lacy has also been very involved with Spokane’s startup community and is a private pilot and mountain climber.

Judi Williams

Co-founder, Telect

Nominated by Tom Simpson

Judi has been a powerful leader in both business and community organizations in the Spokane region. Judi and her husband Bill started Telect over 30 years ago and created one of the areas largest and most succesful privately held companies.

Nancy Allen

Co-founder, StayAlfred

Nominated by Tom Simpson

Nancy co-founded StayAlfred with her husband in 2012. The company has since grown substantially, has raised over $70 million in outside capital, is Spokane’s fastest growing start-up company, and is a leader in its industry.

Sara Neblett

Co-founder, etailz

Nominated by Tom Simpson

Sara is an incredibly talented up and coming entrepreneur. Upon graduating in 2008 from Gonzaga, she co-founded etailz and was a member of its executive team up until the sale of the company in 2016 for $75 million.

Lisa Shaffer

Founder and CEO of Paw Print Genetics

Nominated by Tom Simpson

Lisa is one of Spokane’s most successful female entrepreneurs. She is currently founder and CEO of Paw Print Genetics. Previously, she was co-founder of Signature Gneomics which was sold to Perkin Elmer in 2010 for $90 million.

Mari Clack

Founder, Women Helping Women

Nominated by Tom Simpson

Mari is founder of Women Helping Women which has had an incredibly favorable impact on Spokane. Mari is also involved in many, many other impactful community organizations.

Karla Porter

Owner, Insight Thermal Imaging

Nominated by Lydia Roloff Logsdon

She is an influential woman in the therapeutic and complimentary medicine field, providing medical-grade thermal imaging to our community and giving women the opportunity to have an additional tool in their toolkit for breast health.

Alexandra Shute

Executive director, Coeur d’Alene Arts and Cultural Alliance

Nominated by Maree Boyd

Her vision and efforts have transformed the arts and culture in Coeur d’Alene. She has accomplished much in the four years she has been executive director. Take a look at the web site for this nonprofit organization, and you will see all kinds of events she has put together to bring people of all ages together through art and music.

Alison Poulsen

Better Health Together

Nominated by Erica Hallock

Alison is a dynamic, passionate and inspiring leader. She recognizes that one’s health is largely impacted by social factors, including access to housing, healthy foods and transportation. As such, she partners with a wide array of agencies to improve the health of urban and rural Eastern Washington. Through her leadership, we have seen our region’s percentage of uninsured fall dramatically as well as a more coordinated effort from partners such as law enforcement, housing and traditional health sector players to address physical and behavioral health.

Teresa Skinner

ParaSport Spokane

Nominated by Barbara Scaroni

Teresa and her husband David run ParaSport Spokane, where they train disabled kids to do sports. Teresa has worked with kids over 20 years, and has produced world class athletes. She is also the best, nicest person in the world.

Jan Swanson

Co-founder, North Wall Child Development Center

Nominated by Lisa Holman

In 1981, Jan and her husband, Wayne, opened a school: North Wall Child Development Center. The school grew and thrived as local families discovered how its blend of Montessori, Reggio Emilia, gifted and talented, and Christian approaches to education nurtured their children. What began as an in-home preschool became North Wall Schools, an extensive landscaped campus with five buildings housing early childhood, pre-kindergarten, early elementary, and intermediate elementary classes, as well as offices.

Kumiko “Miko” Love

Founder, the Budget Mom

Nominated by Maddie McGarvey

Kumiko Love fought her way out of $77,000 in debt, and her blog the Budget Mom is empowering hundreds of thousands of women locally and across the country to regain control of their financial lives. As seen on “Good Morning America,” People and the New York Times, the Budget Mom offers tools including the Budget-by-Paycheck Workbook, expert advice and a supportive network.

Liz Moore

Director, Peace and Action Justice League of Spokane

Nominated by Mary Naber

As a volunteer, I can’t possibly know all that Liz does, but my encounters with her in various activities are very impressive. … Liz exudes confidence and knowledge and it IS contagious. She is such an encouraging leader and has made a difference in our community. I have witnessed how young adults are learning peaceful ways to deal with confl icts during these tense – at time – events.

Teri Koski

President, National Alliance on Mental Illness Spokane

Nominated by Wilma Koski.

Teri has been president of NAMI for the past three years, bringing the organization into national compliance and obtaining a grant to pay for ofirst executive director. Because of Teri, this organization has gained momentum going forward in these days of more focus on mental illness.

Myrna O’Leary

Spokane Ag Expo

Nominated by Kevin Gaffney

Myrna spent many years working for the Spokane Ag Bureau, now part of Greater Spokane Chamber. Myrna managed the annual Spokane Ag Expo for many years, and served as a leader in the local ag community.

Judy Wilson

Central Machinery Sales, Moses Lake

Nominated by Kevin Gaffney

Judy was the first woman in North America to be named manager of a Case IH farm equipment dealership. It was Central Machinery Sales in Moses Lake. She accomplished this starting with an accounting degree from Kelsey Baird in Spokane.

Traci McGlathery

Director of community relations, STCU

Nominated by Michael Dunn

Initially a professional with Doubletree and Red Lion Hotels, and with the Public Facilities District, for many years now she has been the Community Relations Director with STCU. In this key role, she has – among other things – led STCU’s recognition efforts for nonprofits and schools, youth and teachers, and has helped this fine organization provide needed financial support.

Michelle Pierce

Spokane Healing Rooms

Nominated by Tammy K. Summers

Michelle Pierce has been a huge influence leading the women of Spokane to help other women here in the Inland Northwest become better women themselves. Michelle provides a loving touch in a corporate atmosphere. She uses her skills to train with the most current information and gives godly counsel to those in need.

Michelle Girardot

CEO, Habitat for Humanity

Nominated by Gerry Walton

Girardot has positioned Habitat to expand our local conversation about housing, what we need now, what we’ll need in the future, and how four walls and a roof can transform lives in ways that reverberate throughout our community.

Sarah Dixit

Senior field organizer, Planned Parenthood

Nominated by Adam Swensen

Sarah is an activist for reproductive justice and immigration rights. She organized a rally in downtown Spokane as a response to the abortion bans in other states and several hundred people showed up. Hundreds joined her in a rally she helped organize in response to immigrant children being kept in inhumane detention centers. She is only 23 years old and has already made a huge difference in this city.

Denise Pilgeram


Nominated by Donna Troyer

“Dr. Denise” has tirelessly taken on managing the UGM veterinary clinic - a donation-only clinic whose mission is to provide services to the pets of homeless and low-income residents of Spokane. She solicits and coordinates volunteers, seeks donations of supplies and medications from the vet community.

Elsa Distelhorst

Civic volunteer

Nominated by Marilyn Carpenter

Elsa Distelhorst has been a long-time community leader in Spokane. She has served in many organizations, including: the Mayor’s Task Force on Race Relations, Japan Week, Intercollegiate Racial Concerns Committee, the Inland Empire Perinatal Parent Support Group, Nishinomiya Sister City Association, and the Chamber of Commerce in various roles. At Whitworth University, she served as director of community programming for 10 years and director of development for 15 years.

Mary Stamp

Editor, the Fig Tree

Nominated by Kimmy Meinecke

Stamp has been the editor and driving force behind The Fig Tree – a free monthly newspaper filled with stories of people in the Inland Northwest who live out their faith and values through their work, their volunteer efforts, and their community-building action. This region is better because of the knitting together that we do together, and the Fig Tree helps us all to know how we are all doing that.

Renae Wedlake

Founder, All Heart Infusion

Nominated by Kalli Wedlake

Renae has been serving Spokane for 38 years as a registered nurse. In 2017 she started a nonprofit nursing organization called All Heart Infusion, using her own retirement account to do so. She and her nurses provide expert home infusion nursing care, an essential service, to all patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Donna Olson

Nominated by Danica Jackson

She has changed so many lives by taking them in and taking care of them and setting them on the right path and then some. She has been doing this for over 30 years.

Amber McKenzie

Owner/publisher, New Awakenings Northwest magazine

Nominated by Ray Fadeley

Amber works to connect, educate, and support the natural and holistic living communities of the Inland Northwest. Her publication provides an opportunity for motivated holistic businesses to reach readers who are interested in health, wellness, self-improvement, family wellness, sustainability, and eco-living. … She possesses the rare combination of positive intention and effective practical skill, and is richly deserving of recognition for her contribution to our city and its people.

Haley Kelly

Volunteer, Hope House

Nominated by Lynda Launer

Every month she collects items for Hope House. Either items they need or food. She has even found people to donate food some months and on those particular months she collect anything else that might be needed. Above and beyond that, she finds out where there is a need in the community and she fills it.

Cynthia E. (Cindy) McMullen

Central Valley School Board

Nominated by Dennis McMullen

She has been on the Central Valley School District board since 1988, except for a 4 year period on the State Board of Education. During that time she has be the CV board president seven times, bond and levy chairperson several times, and headed the bond campaign which resulted in the New CV and U-Hi schools being funded in 1998. She was the city attorney and prosecutor for the city of Medical Lake for 36 years.

Susan McConnell Walker

Police historian, author and volunteer

Nominated by Patty Wilson

Susan has been active with the police department both as a volunteer and an advocate. She pressed for the new jail gate at the courthouse and campaigned for for new badges for incoming officers with the correct founding date of the department. She co-wrote books with Tony Bamonte on department history. She’s an exemplary person and a credit to Spokane.

Robyn Nance

News anchor, KXLY

Nominated by Barbara Bentley

Works tirelessly as advocate for children. Along with her employer KXLY she has been a leader in the “Wednesday’s Child” segment, dedicated to children in the foster care system needing adoptive families. She also helped established Teen Closet, a place for teens to get new and gently used clothes.

Judy Pellow Flemming


Nominated by Daniel Fratini

Judy is a tireless activist in support of homeless, hungry both in organizing support and direct support herself. She is actively involved in support, both material and physical of women’s rights issues. She is also a supporter of persons with disabilities, through Special Olympics and other groups.

Leanne Donley

Teacher, Central Valley High School

Nominated by Krista Larsen

Leanne Donley has worked in public education since 1996 and has been involved in student leadership at the state level for the past 20 years. She dedicates her time year-round to the betterment of young leaders. From programs and camps at Central Valley High School to statewide retreats, the focus is always inclusion and love.

Latrice Williams

Nominated by Carmen Pacheco Jones

Latrice is an up-and-coming realtor that works diligently to support her community by mentoring to youth, actively engaging in programs that support education and employment and by sharing her talent of song and performance.

Mary McDirmid

Managing director and special care planner, MassMutual Northwest

Nominated by Rose Backs

Mary is a tireless advocate for her daughter and children like her who suffer from rare disease. She is an advocate and educator who continually offers support to others. Her honest, raw and humble approach to sharing her family story is both heart wrenching and inspiring.

Hadley Morrow

Director, Better Health Together

Nominated by Kathryn A Neraas

Hadley Morrow is an extraordinary young woman, a community organizer and storyteller, and at the age of 28 already a leader in Spokane. Her current work, and passion, is focused on building a whole person care health system in Eastern Washington as a Director with Better Health Together. Impressive.

Kaylee Mellgren

Suicide prevention, racial and gender equity, and human rights activist

Nominated by Joshua Porter

Kaylee Mellgren, a young and driven indigenous woman with a propensity for science … strives for social justice and equity, bolstering those efforts with hard science. Kaylee recently graduated from North Central High School … and accepted to the University of Washington. … She seeks out creative ways to protect our environment, connect with those in need, and help her community.

Debra J. Rauen

Communications professional, community volunteer

Nominated by Linda Safford

She has served as the director of communications for Itron, Inc. and Providence VNA Home Health. Her volunteer community leadership includes service to the Sacred Heart Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors, Holy Family Adult Day Center Board of Directors, the Providence Health Care Continuum Board of Directors, and the Partners with Families & Children Board of Directors. In 1992, Debbie joined Spokane Rotary Club 21, where she has 17 years of perfect attendance.

Heather Osborne

Interim CEO/program director, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Nominated by Amanda Chamberlain

I am nominating Heather Osborne for the Woman of the Year Award for many reasons. … She is a hard worker who is fiercely dedicated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters mission of empowering the youth in our community to reach their full potential all while raising two kids of her own. … She has truly proven herself to be a wise, fair and fun leader who has strengthened the unity of our staff.

Maggie Kazemba

Owner/director, Spokane Elite Dance Studio

Nominated by Maggie Kazemba

Maggie has been an important figure in the Spokane and Eastern Washington dance community as a choreographer and coach. She started her career as a choreographer while only a freshman at West Valley High School. Since that time her choreography has won seven state titles for the E-Gals, including the 2019 2A/3A Dance title this past March.

Amy Swank

Director of the Parent and Family Office, Gonzaga University

Nominated by Naseeb Bhangal

Amy has made lasting impacts in the field of higher education and specifically parent and family programs that seem, to me, quite unparalleled. With only a small office at her disposal, Amy has continued to add to her list of services.