posttrib
SLIDING 
Weather Updates

Women honored for their influence in the region

Winners

Influential women in Northwest Indiana included:

Business: Kimberly Broader, manager, NIPSCO business office

Construction: Melissa Neff, president, Mechanical Concepts

Economic development: Dawn Collins, broker/owner, Century 21 Executive Realty

Education: O’Merrial Butchee, Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center director, Ivy Tech Community College

Finance: Rachel Saxon, president, senior trust officer, Horizon Bank

Government: Sen. Earline Rogers, D- Gary

Health care: Jo Ann Birdzell, CEO, St. Catherine Hospital

Law: Sean Kenyon, attorney, Hoeppner Wagner & Evans LLP

Marketing/Media: Chelsea Whittington, communications director, City of Gary

Nonprofit: Maggie Spartz, asset developer, Unity Foundation of LaPorte County

Service/tourism: Lorelei Weimer, director of tourism, Indiana Dunes Tourism

Up and Coming Winners

Business: Theresa Valade, president/CEO, Success Trek Inc.

Construction: Tricia Hanrath, safety coordinator, Superior Construction Co.

Economic development: Tina Rongers, president, Karnerblue Era LLC

Education: Regina Biddings-Muro, interim vice chancellor for advancement, Purdue University Calumet

Finance: Jocelyn Hibshman, COO, chief compliance officer, Lakeside Wealth Management Group

Government: Commissioner Nancy Adams, Porter County Board of Commissioners

Health care: Cynthia Thompson, patient care services Hammond director, Franciscan Physician Hospital

Law: Dana Rifai, attorney, Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP

Marketing/media: Brandi Anstine, marketing and special events director, Lakeshore Public Television & Radio

Nonprofit: Monique Ruiz, administrator, Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce

Service/tourism: Allyson Baughman, marketing director, Duneland Chamber of Commerce

Updated: June 25, 2013 6:43AM



HOBART — Sen. Earline Rogers, D-Gary, has earned a number of awards and accolades during her long and distinguished tenure in the Indiana legislature; still she said Thursday she was gratified to be nominated as an Influential Woman in Northwest Indiana in 2013 in government, an award she was to capture later in the evening.

“I’m very grateful to be nominated for the award and for others to recognize the influence we women legislators have over our rules and laws,” Rogers said.

She encouraged other women to get involved in government. “We have a positive influence and contribute greatly to the quality of life,” Rogers said.

Rogers was one of 11 women named as Influential Women in Northwest Indiana, with 11 others named as Up and Coming Women during the 3rd annual event at Avalon Manor Banquets. One of each winners was named in 11 categories: business, construction, economic development, education, finance, government, health care, law, marketing/media, nonprofit and service/tourism.

Jo Ann Birdzell, chief executive officer of St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, was the winner in health care and overall Influential Woman. Tricia Hanrath, safety coordinator for Superior Construction Inc., was named overall Up and Coming Woman.

Birdzell said being nominated for the award was humbling.

“It’s a very important award because it’s from the Influential Women organization. It’s like your peers and peers can be very critical,” Birdzell said.

She said she has to share the award with past administrators. “I wouldn’t be here without the previous administrators,” she said.

Influential Women organizer Andrea Pearman, president and CEO of Diversified Marketing Strategies Inc. and a finalist in the marketing/media area herself, said influential women give back to other women.

“We want to build strong, independent women who stay within our community,” Pearman said.

She said a steering committee selected 85 finalists from some 170 applications, based on information given them.

She said in addition to the 22 influential and up and coming women, Northern Indiana Public Service Co. was named the Empowering Business of the Year, Denise Dillard of Methodist Hospitals was named Community Leader and attorney Cal Bellamy was named Supporter of the Year.

“Cal Bellamy nominates more nominees than anyone else. He nominated about 170 people himself this year,” Pearman said.

She said NIPSCO won its award for having a sustainable program in place in which women are mentored and promoted at the Merrillville-based utility company.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.