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YWomen Leadership Celebration

YWomen logo

A woman alone has power, women together have impact. That’s what YWomen is all about.

Each year at our YWomen Leadership Celebration, YWCA Evanston/North Shore recognizes and celebrates women leaders in our community for their commitment to women’s advancement and racial justice. The films about their lives lift us up and inspire us to do just a little bit more in our own lives.

Save the Date!

YWomen is back in person this Fall at the Palmhouse Evanston. Join us on Saturday, October 15th as we honor 18 years of YWCA’s deepened impact under the leadership of CEO Karen Singer, who will retire from her role this year after nearly two decades of steering the mission-driven work of YWCA to eliminate racism and empower women. Let’s celebrate YWCA’s growth and usher in the future together as a stronger, more resilient organization poised to take the next step in driving systemic change.

Tickets go on sale in early September – stay tuned for more details!

Our Spring 2022 honorees are Marjorie Craig Benton and Nadine Naber. Click the video below to learn more about their work by watching the film by filmmaker Susan Hope Engel.

 

Marjorie Craig BentonMarjorie Craig Benton is a lifelong activist and philanthropist working to support women, children, and community development. She co-founded Chicago Foundation for Women on the belief that investing in programs and organizations supporting women and girls, whole communities would thrive. She has served in numerous civic capacities, including, as US Ambassador to UNICEF, delegate to the UN Special Sessions on Disarmament. Marjorie continues to advocate for those in need, working with Partners in Health in Haiti. She served as Chair of President Clinton’s Commission on White House Fellows for eight years and as Chair of the Board of the Council of Foundations in Washington, D.C. For her service, in government, she received the U.S. Office of Personnel Management Award for meritorious service. Marjorie has received numerous awards and honors, including six honorary doctorates.

 

 

Nadine Naber

Dr. Nadine Naber is an award winning author, public speaker and activist on the topics of racial justice; gender justice; women of color feminisms; Arab and Muslim feminisms; Arab Americans; Muslim Americans; people of color-based activism and solidarity; and international human rights. Currently, a Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Global Asian Studies at the University of Illinois Chicago, Dr. Naber has authored and co-edited five books. A dominant focus of her life’s work is Arab immigrant and refugee women and their struggles with displacement, immigration, and isolation and their path towards defining empowerment, dignity, and liberation on their own terms.

 

 

 

Our thanks to Thermoflex, Allstate, Better, and Wintrust, who continue to sponsor the YWomen Leadership Celebration year after year.

Proceeds help support YWCA Domestic Violence Services and Economic Advancement programs.

About YWomen

Since YWomen’s small but mighty beginnings in 2008, we have had a BIG dream, and that was to bring our communities together to recognize the power of women to change the world.

Over the years, we have celebrated 27 remarkable women and seven powerful organizations for their work in the areas of women’s empowerment, racial justice and social change. And each year, we have been moved by the spirit of activism that is embodied in the women we have honored. And the past year has reinforced the need for all of us to act to protect what we believe in and to fight for what is just.

Human needs are universal. We all want to be treated fairly, to have opportunities to advance, to feel safe in our home and our communities, to build secure and productive lives for our families. It’s what guides us every day in our work at YWCA.

Past YWomen Leadership Awards Honorees

2019 Honorees
Sekile Nzinga-Johnson | Alpana Singh | Cynthia Hartwig

2018 Honorees
Vicky Dinges | Gloria Bond Clunie | Kelley Cambry

2016 Honorees
Julie Smolyansky | Evonda Thomas-Smith | Amita Lonial

2015 Honorees
Sunny Fischer | Delores Holmes | Blair Brettschneider

2014 Honorees
Gail M. Vierneisel | Mary Morten | Kourtney Cockrell | Organization: Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center

2013 Honorees
Mercedes Fernandez | Alaka Wali | Organization: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority

2012 Honorees
Alice Tregay | Kaethe Morris Hoffer | Elizabeth Stanton | Organization: Links- North Shore Youth Health Service

2011 Honorees
Ahlam Ahmed Mahmoud | Ann Feldman, PhD | Precious Wright | Organization: Project Kesher

2010 Honorees
Bernice Weissbourd | Celeste Watkins, PhD | Courtney Wright | Organization: Evanston Women’s History Project

2009 Honorees
Dorothy Roberts | Pushpika Freitas | Ebony Joy | Organization: Junior League of Evanston-North Shore

2008 Honorees
Fay Clayton | Cheryl-Johnson Odim, Ph.D. | Aracely Canchola | Organization: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

At the tenth anniversary of YWomen in 2017, we premiered a beautiful film by filmmaker Susan Hope Engel to recognize the 70th anniversary of the founding of YWCA Evanston/North Shore. Watch the film below and learn more about our work.

Get inspired by the stories of our past YWomen honorees:

(films by filmmaker Susan Hope Engel)

2019 - Sekile Nzinga-Johnson | Alpana Singh | Cynthia Hartwig
2018 - Vicky Dinges | Gloria Bond Clunie | Kelley Cambry
2016 - Julie Smolyansky | Evonda Thomas-Smith | Amita Lonial
2015 - Sunny Fischer | Delores Holmes | Blair Brettschneider
2014 - Gail M. Vierneisel | Mary Morten | Kourtney Cockrell | Organization: Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center
2013 - Mercedes Fernandez | Alaka Wali | Organization: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
2012 - Alice Tregay | Kaethe Morris Hoffer | Elizabeth Stanton | Organization: Links- North Shore Youth Health Service
2011 - Ahlam Ahmed Mahmoud | Ann Feldman, PhD | Precious Wright | Organization: Project Kesher