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Online Event: October 21st, 2021 at 6:00PM

Congratulations to 2021's Women of Distinction!

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Meet 2021's Women of Distinction Nominees

For more than 3 decades, YWCA McLean County has honored women who are trailblazers in their professions, pathfinders for social justice, and women on the rise.

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Posthumous Women of Distinction Award

During our Women of Distinction event, we were privileged to award a special posthumous Women of Distinction Award, and shared a moment of silence in recognition of the incredible life and work of Laura Duvendack.
For Laura Duvendack, community care was a lifelong vocation. As a child, her parents described her as being always focused on helping others and being a good friend. She came to the Bloomington-Normal community in 1998 when she transferred to ISU as a sophomore. During her time in school, Laura worked with many community organizations such as YWCA McLean County and the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal, where she worked as the Program Director for more than ten years. Even when she was in a position of service, Laura still sought other ways to care for the community. In 2008, Laura founded the McLean County Afterschool Alliance and in 2011 began working with the Back to School Alliance as their Resource Fair Chair. Since 2013, Laura had been working La Petite Academy as a Team Lead. All of this work stemmed from Laura's profound passion and love for children - her own children and every child that she encountered. Her care for the community extended into every facet of her life, and her loved ones said "to know her was to love her." After a brief battle with cancer, Laura passed away July 25th, 2021 surrounded by family and friends. Her impact on the community and love for others will never be erased.

Nomination Categories

Business/EducationThe Business/Education award is given to a woman who excels in the business or education field and shows outstanding abilities, accomplishments, and leadership. She will be an innovator in her field, nurturing and inspiring to others, and continually contributing to the vitality of our community.

Community Leadership - The Harriett F. Rust Community Leadership Award will be given to a woman who has made significant contributions as a volunteer to better McLean County. This woman contributes greatly to the quality of life in the community through political involvement, public service, government, or social service. She may be elected, appointed, hired, or be a volunteer.

Human ServicesThe Human Services award is given to a woman who works or volunteers in the human services sector and shows great accomplishments and leadership through direct assistance or advocacy that enhances the quality of life for all, especially those who face disadvantages/challenges, for people in McLean County.

Mission ImpactThe Mission Impact Award is given to a woman who excels at amplifying the YWCA Mission in their work and daily life. The award honors a woman for her academic/career achievements, community service, advocacy, and commitment to the YWCA Mission of eliminating racism and empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)The STEAM award is given to a professional in the field of science, technology, engineering, arts, or math. This woman has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the field of STEAM; helping to break down gender barriers and carve a path not just for herself, but for generations to follow.

PromiseThe Promise Award is given to a woman who has been in their career for five years or less. A woman of Promise is making significant contributions to her community through her leadership, maturity, innovation, volunteer service, or other special achievements and inspires others to follow her example.

Community KeyThe Community Key award is given to a woman who serves McLean County through a job that ensures the function of her community. This award honors a woman for her hard work and dedication to a position critical to the effective, efficient functioning of everyday life. Countless doors – both literally and figuratively – would not be able to open without her.

Celebrating 32 years of recognizing exceptional women.

For more than 3 decades, YWCA McLean County has honored women who are trailblazers in their professions, pathfinders for social justice, and women on the rise.

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2019 Women of Distinction S.T.E.A.M. Category Winner

View 2021 Nomination Categories Below:

Special thanks to 2021's Women of Distinction Sponsors!

Interested in becoming a sponsor for 2021's Women of Distinction?

Learn how by clicking the link below:

Wings Scholarship Award

What is WINGS?

The WINGS award was created and is funded by recipients of the YWCA Women of Distinction award. Winners of the Women of Distinction award have a shared commitment to give back to other women in McLean County so they created this award to encourage development in women, both professionally and personally, through mentoring and financial support. The award is given annually to a Woman to Improve her skills for a Notable purpose which allows her to Grow professionally and to achieve Success.

Who is eligible?

A woman is eligible for the WINGS award who demonstrates her commitment to professional and personal growth and to service in McLean County. Past WINGS winners are not eligible to apply. Please note women applying for a WINGS Award may not be a nominee for the YWCA Women of Distinction award in the same year.

How can the award be used:

WINGS awards, up to $1,500, will be granted to a recipient (or recipients) for a future endeavor that helps them grow professionally and personally. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Workshops and seminars (tuition and class fees)
  • Professional conferences (registration fees)
  • Software, books, and other materials related to the endeavor
  • Certification preparation work, exams, registration or licensing
  • Local opportunities for development, such as the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership McLean County or Multicultural Leadership Program
  • Other costs incurred as a result of the approved endeavor (such as child care, transportation, lodging and meals for out-of-town activities, etc.)

2021 WINGS Award Recipients

Catering for 2021 Women of Distinction Provided by A to Z's Catering & Parties.