2021 Women of Distinction

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2021 Women of Distinction

Since 1975, the YWCA Rock County Women of Distinction Awards has honored more than 250 individuals and organizations who have improved women’s lives through community service, professional achievement, integrity, leadership, and dedication to the well-being of others.

YWCA Rock County invites you to participate in our Annual Women of Distinction Awards by nominating a woman, young woman (21and under) who has made a significant impact in our community and achieved personal & professional success.  While the achievements of women in their professional capacity is worthy of celebration, women who perform outside of their professional duties and obligations are equally impressive.  In completing the application, consider how the nominee has achieved personal & professional success that is perceived to be above and beyond what could be expected.

Who will be honored in 2021? Nominations must be received no later than 4pm on Friday, April 23, 2021. Please ensure all nominations and letters of support/recommendation are current to the 2021 nomination process. Letters dated more than 60 days prior will not be considered by the selection committee.

As you decide who to nominate, you should be able to check the following:

  • I am not submitting a nomination of someone who has already received the award.
  • I am not a current Women of Distinction Selection Committee member.
  • The person I want to nominate is not a Women of Distinction Selection Committee member.
  • The person I want to nominate lives, works or volunteers in Rock County.
  • The person I want to nominate has the following characteristics:
    • is a role model for other women and has inspired other women and girls to achieve success while exhibiting qualities of leadership, teamwork, integrity, and dedication
    • has demonstrated excellence, accomplishment and creativity in their profession, community or lives
    • is dedicated to social justice, racial equality, and diversity throughout our community
    • is committed to improving the quality of life in our community


You can help fund the mission to help upgrade YWCA Rock County’s technology. As our world moves more virtual, this has become an urgent need. COVID-19 may be changing the way we operate, but we can get through this together.

Last year, we celebrated our 45th Annual Women of Distinction Awards virtually. We honored Young Woman of Distinction: Gabriella Petruzzello; Women of Distinction: Abbey Donahue, Mary Fanning-Penny, Evelyn Galindo, Ph.D., Lori Stottler, and Dr. Marijuana P. Vandyck; Corporate Award of Merit: Jane Blain Gilbertson, President & CEO of Blain’s Farm & Fleet.

2020 Recipients:

Abbey Donahue

Engineer, SHINE Medical Technologies

Mary Fanning-Penny

CEO & President, United Way Blackhawk Region

Dr. Evelyn Galindo

Spanish Teacher, School District of Beloit

Lori Stottler

Clerk-Treasurer, City of Beloit

Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck

Inclusive Excellence Lecturer, UW-Whitewater

Gabriella Petruzzello

Recent graduate, Janesville’s Craig High School (Young Woman of Distinction)

2020 Corporate Award of Merit Recipient

The award recognizes businesses and organizations in Rock County that work to improve the quality of life in the community. Recipients of this award also must serve as role models and support policies, practices and attitudes in the advancement of women.

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