Women of Influence


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2 | WO M E N O F I N F L U E N C E Welcome to the inaugural Insight Women of Influence Awards special section. e genesis of the idea to honor women leaders from both businesses and nonprofits began about a year ago. While many chambers of commerce throughout the New North recognize women leaders in their own communities, there wasn't really a way to acknowledge those leaders on a regional scale. It was that idea that led to the Women of Influence Awards. Originally, we planned a special luncheon at the end of March to honor the winners and nominees. But the COVID-19 pandemic put an end to those original plans. Initially, we tried to reschedule the in-person event, but with the uncertainty surrounding when large groups will be allowed to gather once again, we decided to make the awards a virtual event. We didn't want to wait until all restrictions were lied to celebrate these outstanding women who have made a positive impact in the communities we call home. When Insight Publisher Brian Rasmussen announced the Women of Influence Awards at the Women's Leadership Conference last October, I wasn't sure how things would go. How many nominations would we get? Would we receive any from nonprofit organizations, and would all the nominations come from Green Bay and Appleton? I have to say I was pleasantly surprised — and nearly over- whelmed — by the response. By the time nominations closed, more than 80 women from throughout the New North, from Fond du Lac and Sheboygan in the south to the Northwoods, were nominated. As the judges (impartial and chosen from throughout the area) began to review the nominations, it quickly became apparent the original plan of five awards would not work, so we created three more categories to honor additional women. For me, the coolest part of the entire process was when I began to contact the winners and the nominees. ere were so many who had no idea they had been nominated by co-workers, friends and other business leaders. I could defi- nitely tell how honored every woman was to be recognized. We wanted to do something special for the award winners, so we worked with Shane Van Boxtel of Image Studios, the man behind all of Insight's covers, to photograph the winners during a special event last January at the new Oshkosh Corp. headquarters. With lots of natural light and open spaces, it was the ideal location for the photographs, and we thank Oshkosh Corp. for hosting us and providing us with lunch. In addition to the photo shoot, Associ- ate Editor Jessica iel and I interviewed the women for the profiles in this special section. A special thank you as well to Shane and Insight's lead designer Bryan Aschenbrenner, who worked closely together to create the two-page profiles for each winner found in this section. Gratitude also goes to Image Studios owner Donna Gehl for mounting and framing the winners' two-page profiles and for helping us take this event virtual by welcom- ing the award winners and the sponsor presenters to Image so they could record their portions of the presentation. A thank you, too, to our event sponsors that helped make all this possible. Since nominations closed in mid-December, this special section and its online presence, plus the event planning for first the luncheon and then our virtual event has consumed a lot of time and energy. I hope when you look at the following pages, you'll agree it was worth it. P.S. Nominations for the 2021 Women of Influence Awards will open in mid-October. MaryBeth Matzek, E D I T O R W E L C O M E Welcome

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