EmBe Announces 2021 Tribute to Women Nominees

(Sioux Falls, March 29, 2021) – Forty-nine women and men have been nominated for EmBe’s 48th Tribute to Women awards. Tribute to Women is the longest-standing award honoring the achievements of women in the region. “Tribute to Women celebrates the work people do to empower our community. For 48 years, Tribute has honored those actively transform our community, making it thrive. Especially after this past year, it’s a great way to come together and celebrate the accomplishments of these outstanding nominees,” said Kerri Tietgen, EmBe CEO.

The honorees were nominated in one of the following categories: Business Achievement, Community Service, EmBeliever Award, Government and Law, Healthcare and STEM, Humanities and Education, Sylvia Henkin Mentoring Award, Young Woman of Achievement.

The following people have been recognized by their peers for their outstanding achievements (nominees listed with their employer):

Business Achievement

  • Lisa Esser, Papa Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza
  • Sara Henderson, Avera Health
  • Laurie Karlson, Lauriebelles Boutique
  • Kristy Laue, Lawrence & Schiller
  • Nikkee Rhody, Central Payments
  • Brenda Schmidt, Sioux Falls Federal Credit Union
  • Stephanie Wilde, Say Anything…Jewelry by Stephanie Wilde

Community Service

  • Nona Bixler, Sanford USD Medical Center
  • Carolyn Dodson, Sioux Falls School District, Birth to Three Program
  • Angela Drake, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Fight Like A Ninja, Two Men and a Truck
  • Cindi Johnson, Grand Falls Casino & Golf Resort
  • Kira Kimball, Marsh & McLennan Agency
  • Jean Lipetzky, Alzheimer’s Association of South Dakota
  • Melissa Maxwell, Citibank
  • Sara Romeo, City of Sioux Falls Health Department, Falls Community Health
  • Jessica Wells, LifeScape Foundation

EmBeliever (open to women, men and organizations)

  • Jeremy Brech, DJ Jer
  • Healthcare Workers & Caregivers, Avera Health and other organizations
  • Alisha Grove, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls
  • Taneeza Islam, South Dakota Voices for Peace
  • Angela Kennecke, Keloland Media Group, Emily’s Hope
  • Erica Varcoe, The Table Ministry
  • Susan Williams, The Transformation Project & The Transformation Project Advocacy Network

Government and Law

  • Allison Blake, Sanford Health
  • Nikki Gronli, South Dakota Democratic Party
  • Erin Healy, South Dakota State House of Representatives and Sanford Health
  • Dana Vuong, Vuong Law

Healthcare and STEM

  • Sharon Hunt, Sanford Research
  • Brooke Jones, Sanford Medical Center Child’s Voice
  • Andrea Polkinghorn, Sanford Health
  • Molly Satter, Sioux Falls School District
  • Katie Shuck, Dakota State University, CybHER Security Institute & DigForCE Lab, SD Fusion Center
  • Tamera Sturm, Avera McKennan Hospital
  • Lauren Thum, Urology Specialists
  • Julie Ward, Avera Health

Humanities and Education

  • Courtney Anderson, Sanford Health
  • Abby Bischoff, Stockyards AG Experience
  • Cindy Heidelberger Larson, Groundworks, SD Agriculture in the Classroom
  • JJ Johnson, ACE Academy
  • Sierra O’Donnell, Sioux Falls School District
  • Patti Ward-Maguire, Sioux Falls School District

Sylvia Henkin Mentoring Award

  • Valerie Hearns, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine
  • Gwenneth Jensen, Sanford Health
  • Marla Meyer, Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons
  • Lori Popkes, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center

Young Woman of Achievement

  • Christina Early, Avera Cancer Institute
  • Christa Friedrich, Avera McKennan, Avera Research Institute
  • Amy Moore, Lemonly
  • Jocelyn Smith, LifeScape Foundation

This year’s Tribute to Women ceremony will be a virtual event broadcasted on EmBe’s Facebook and YouTube pages on Thursday, April 15 beginning at 7 pm. Follow EmBe’s Facebook event page to stay up-to-date on all the upcoming details.

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