Elgin YWCA recognizes 2024 Leader Luncheon recipients

More than 425 community members attended the 40th annual YWCA Elgin Leader Luncheon Awards at The Seville in Streamwood on Thursday, May 9.

Leader Luncheon general chair Elisa Lara welcomed guests and expressed appreciation to the event’s major sponsors for their support with congratulations to all of the 2024 nominees.

Following an invocation by Elgin Salvation Army Corps Major Melissa Viquez, the keynote speaker, Linda Siete, former general manager of Reflejos Publications, spoke of her journey in business and the importance of understanding and appreciation of cultural differences.

She noted, “Each of us is here to lend a hand and support each other; it’s how we make our world better for all of us.”

Linda Knight, YWCA Elgin board chair, recognized the Leader Luncheon committee and this year’s judges.

Individual awards co-chairs Dr. Clare Ollayos and Kyla Brittain announced the recipients of the 2024 Leader Luncheon Awards in the following categories.

• Margaret Hillis Award for the Arts: Cristina Colunga Ramirez

• Beatrice Dorsey Award for Business and Professions: Maria Borrero Veaz

• Marguerite Henry Award for Communication/Technology: Karla Jimenez

• Harriet Gifford Award for Education: Amber Peters

• Myrtle Spiegler Gerberding Award for Public Service: Jamie L. Mosser

• Marie Grolich Award for Social Service: Rocio Robledo

• Marjorie Leonard Award for Volunteer & Community Service: Robin Seigle

• Betty Brown Racial Justice Award: Julie Hyun Kane

The new 2024 Youth Leadership Award was presented to Kaitlyn Rose Iverson, a senior at Bartlett High School. The recognition included a $2,000 scholarship for college.

An individual professional portrait of each recipient will be taken by Ruben Ramos Photography in Elgin. The tradition has continued which Cathy Neuhalfen, owner of Interesting Developments in Algonquin and her mother, the late Molly Konitzer, who had taken portraits of every recipient since the YWCA Elgin Leader Luncheon was founded in 1984 through 2016.

This year over 286 portraits were on display depicting the community leader recipient in each category. They filled both sides of the large banquet room in the Seville.

The YWCA Elgin is proud to honor women leaders in the community who strive toward its mission of empowering women and promoting racial justice in Elgin. Visit

Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.