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November 2, 2012

Nominations open for ‘Women of Influence’

Women in the Wabash Valley are being recognized for the positive difference they have made in the life of their communities.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2013 Wabash Valley Women of Influence, to be honored during a breakfast event on April 11 at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Lisa Johnson, chair of the Women of Influence committee of the United Way of the Wabash Valley, said the mission of the program is to identify and recognize women leaders who have made a difference while growing in their personal development and leaving a positive mark on their community.

Nominations are being accepted for women in Clay, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties in Illinois, as well as Clark County in Illinois, and must be received no later than Nov. 15.

The definition of a woman of influence, as stated on the nomination form, is a “remarkable leader, a passionate visionary, a fearless persuader. She is an open-minded mentor, a role model, always an encouraging moral example. A woman of influence is a humble innovator who accomplishes excellence while making a positive and irreversible impact on the lives of the people she encounters.”

For 2012, eight nominees were selected and honored as Women of Influence.

“These women came from all walks of life and range in age, meaning some honorees are retired, some still contribute in the day-to-day work environment,” Johnson said. “The 2012 honorees came from Sullivan and Vigo County in Indiana and Clark County  in Illinois. This reflects the meaning of Wabash Valley.”

Sally Zuel, who serves in administration at Union Hospital, was among the 2012 Women.

“This award brought recognition to the many talented women of the Wabash Valley and their diverse contributions to the community,” Zuel said. “I was very humbled and honored to receive the award. It was very motivational. I saw this as external validation that my contributions were significant and valued by others.”

Illinois resident Susan Guinnip, who retired this past year from a career as an extension educator, agreed that the Women of Influence experience was humbling.

“When I think especially of the other women who were honored, they have accomplished many important things,” she said. “It was great to be recognized with them.”

The inaugural event occurred this past April, and benefited United Way of the Wabash Valley before it ramped up its annual campaign drive. Johnson said the Wabash Valley Women of Influence naturally pairs well with the long established Power of the Purse event which is conducted annually in October.

All funds raised by Wabash Valley Women of Influence go to Success by 6, a community-based program of the United Way that is designed to provide every child with the opportunity to develop basic reading skills so they can enter kindergarten ready to learn. Success by 6 programs include Mother Goose on the Loose, Real Mean Read, and the Born Learning Trails.

Nominations will close on Nov. 15, and those received will be reviewed by the committee for the final selection process. Johnson said this is a crucial phase for the event as this nomination process is where the 2013 honorees will be selected.

“I strongly encourage the nomination of women who are influential in their company or community, who are true leaders, who have a track record of accomplishments, and we certainly know that there are many women in our community that fit that description,,” committee member Dee Reed said, “and we just strongly encourage anyone to make those nominations so we can recognize those individuals in our community who are really making a difference.”

To make a nomination, a person can complete the nomination form included in today’s Tribune-Star, and available online at Include a brief description of 300 words or less of why this woman is being nominated. The nominator should consider how the woman reflects her leadership skills, and list specific leadership examples using her community outreach activity and possible impact made by her work. Nominations can include:

• What offices has she held?

• Reference boards she may serve.

• How is the nominee a risk-taker?

• Show examples of how she overcomes obstacles or how she leads the way to new efforts.

• Is she a mentor? If yes, give description to this.

The completed form and description should be mailed to Wabash Valley Women of Influence, United Way of the Wabash Valley, 2901 Ohio Blvd, Suite 215, Terre Haute, IN 47803.

Committee members for the 2013 Wabash Valley Women of Influence include Johnson, Kathy Barker, Christi Fenton, Karen Lyles, Kristin Marlin, Dee Reed, B.J. Riley, Jennifer-Isbell Scott, Lori Smith, and Sally Zuel.

Presenting sponsors of the program are Tribune-Star, Vectren, and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at (812) 231-4254 or Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.

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