City of Elgin to receive YWCA Elgin Leader Luncheon Corporate Award

Submitted by Pat Szpekowski
Updated 4/25/2019 6:48 PM

The YWCA Elgin is pleased to announce that the City of Elgin will receive the YWCA Elgin Corporate Award. This award will be presented at the 36th annual Leader Luncheon Awards, which will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 9, at The Seville in Streamwood.

"Women play a major role in carrying out the policies set by Elgin's city council," said Rebecca Hardekopf, this year's Leader Luncheon chair. "We are proud to recognize the City of Elgin as many management positions with the City of Elgin are held by women. Of the 154 managers, 45%, or 69 of these positions are women."

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City of Elgin female department heads include the human resources director, the parks and recreation department director, the police chief and the chief financial officer. All of these women were promoted from within. The assistant city manager is a woman (also promoted from within) and majority of the city manager's staff (communications officer, management analyst, cultural arts manager) are female.

The male strongholds of public safety and public works are beginning to become more balanced. Three of the city's five engineers are women. In addition to the chief, fourteen police officers, including two sergeants, are women. Firefighting is a profession that is 95% male, nationally. Five of Elgin's 128 sworn firefighters are women, a number the department vigorously works to increase through an Explorer program aimed at high school students (currently 4 young women are Fire Explorers), attendance at college job fairs, and a broad recruitment strategy.

The YWCA Leader Luncheon will recognize female community leaders who have been nominated by their colleagues and peers. One woman in each designated category will receive the 2019 Leader Luncheon Award.

• Margaret Hillis Award for the Arts: Jane Erlandson, Madeline Franklin and Ursula Borodzinska.

• Beatrice Dorsey Award for Business & Professions: Aimee Novelli, Mary Martini and Mary Pierce.


• Marguerite Henry Award for Communications & Technology: Margarita Mendoza and Natalie Kiburg.

• Harriet Gifford & Hattie Griffin Award for Education: Abigail Bailey, PhD., Andrea Gaitan-Bustos and Dr. Ushma Shah.

• Myrtle Spiegler Gerberding Award for Public Service: Sgt. Katy Potts and Kim Wascher.

• Betty Brown Award for Racial Justice: Paola Velasquez.

• Marie Grolich Award for Social Services: Lea Conrad and Mary Jo Imperato.

• Marjorie Leonard Award for Volunteer & Community Service: Carri Laird, Patty Aroyo, Nancy Gerner and Wendy Covich.

"In addition to acknowledging our Leader Luncheon recipients," adds Hardekopf, "we are very pleased to announce that business leader Jane Blain Gilbertson, president, CEO, and sole owner of 41 Blain's Farm & Fleet stores, will be our keynote speaker."


Blain Gilbertson leads stores located throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan and Blain Supply Inc., headquartered in Janesville, Wisconsin. The family owned companies were founded in 1955 and currently employ 4,400 associates.

Her recognitions include: Janesville Gazette's "50 Who Matter", 2005; Forward Janesville's "Athena" award recipient, 2006; Craig High School Graduates' Honor Wall of Fame, 2006; YWCA of Rock County's Woman of Distinction Award recipient, 2007; Forward Janesville's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient 2017; Rock County Historical Society Phoenix Award, 2017.

Call the YWCA Elgin at (847) 742-7930 or visit for more information, to purchase tickets, or become a sponsor of this prestigious event.


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