'Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay'

program to join YWCA Women of Achievement Awards

Saginaw Valley State University Athletics established the Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region program in 2011 to recognize women in Bay, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties for their commitment of time, talent and experience to make the region a better place to live, work and dream.

At the time, organizers saw a need to honor women making extraordinary contributions, as other such programs were seen to be lacking.

In 2012, the YWCA of the Great Lakes Bay Region began its Women of Achievement awards program, establishing another opportunity for deserving women to receive recognition for their accomplishments.

Following the 2014 recognition programs by SVSU and the YWCA, organizers from the two groups began discussions about how to complement one another's efforts. Those conversations resulted in a decision to join forces.

Beginning in 2015, the YWCA Women of Achievement event will serve as the premier awards program to honor leading women in the Great Lakes Bay Region. SVSU will no longer hold a Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region program, but all past recipients - including student recipients from Central Michigan University, Delta College, Northwood University, and SVSU - will be accepted as past honorees by the YWCA.

"We welcome the opportunity to merge with the Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region to continue honoring students in our region," said Lisa Grills, executive director of the YWCA of the Great Lakes Bay Region. "As an organization focused on women's empowerment, this seems a natural transition and a great addition to the existing YWCA Women of Achievements awards."

The Graff Chevrolet dealership in Bay City served as the leading sponsor of the SVSU event, and its general manager and part-owner Lisa Rechsteiner originated the idea for the program. She believes the joint effort will do more to benefit women throughout the region.

"It has been an honor to have worked side by side with SVSU Athletics to create the Great Women of the Great Lakes Bay Region event," she said.

"From the inception, this event brought awareness to some of the wonderful women and students in our community who make it a better place to live, work and dream. As we join with the YWCA Women of Achievement recognition event, I believe the caliber of this venture to honor our local women will be second to none."

College students honorees are nominated through their respective institutions. For community members, nominations are now being accepted. Forms are avaiable online at www.ywcaglbr.org; the deadline is Thursday, January 8. The YWCA Women of Achievement banquet will be held on Wednesday, March 11.

Visit the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region Website


2014 Women of Achievement Award Recipients


Linda Cline - Midland Public Schools 


Angelia Williams-Welch - Health Delivery, Inc.


Dr. Tracy Weber - Kaleidoscope Learning Circle

Young Woman Leader

Lyndsay Edmonds - Populace Café


Lisa Rechsteiner - Graff Chevrolet

Community Leader

Suzanne Greenberg - CAN Council of Great Lakes Bay Region


2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients

Roselyn Argyle - CEO of A&D Home and Health Care and Chair of A&D Charitable Foundation

Bonnie McManus - CEO of Family and Children's Services of Midland, Retired

Dee Dee Wacksman - Community Volunteer


2015 Nomination Form


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