Outstanding Achievement Awards

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What are the Outstanding Achievement Awards?

Outstanding Achievement Awards are presented at YWCA Utah’s LeaderLuncheon to remarkable women who have demonstrated their commitment to advancing the well-being of Utah women and girls, and whose work and achievements exemplify the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Nominate a woman leading the way in our community for our 2023 awards using the form below:



2023 Outstanding Achievement Award Winners


On November 4, 2008, Senator Luz Escamilla was elected to the Utah State Senate to represent Senate District 10, becoming the first Latina elected in the Utah State Senate and the first immigrant elected in the Utah State Legislature. She is serving her fourth term in the Senate and serves in the Senate leadership team as the Senate Minority Leader.  

Senator Luz Escamilla received a Bachelor of Science in Business Marketing and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Utah. In 2005, she was appointed by Governor Jon Huntsman as the first director for the State Office of Ethnic Affairs. In this position, she oversaw the directors of Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latino and Pacific Islander Affairs. She was the vice president for Zions Bank in the Community Development Group, representing Zions Bank in community relationships across the state. At Zions Bank she worked as director of the Business Resource Center and the Hispanic/Latino market manager.  

In 2020, Senator Escamilla was the Chief Operations Officer at MiCARE Network, a Utah-based healthcare startup focused on solutions to care management. Currently, she is the co-founder and managing partner of ESCATEC Solutions, which focuses on improving customer experiences for different organizations and entities utilizing technology and innovation.. 


Nubia Peña is the Senior Advisor on Equity and Opportunity to Governor Cox and the Director for the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs where their mission is to promote an inclusive climate for Utah’s growing diverse community through training, outreach, youth leadership development, and policy and research efforts. During the unprecedented pandemic, Ms. Peña was assigned by Governor Gary R. Herbert to oversee the Multicultural Advisory Committee of Utah’s COVID-19 Response in partnership with Byron Russell and Ze Min Xiao.  

During that year, she was selected as one of 25 law students in the nation to be recognized and highlighted for her social justice activism in the National Jurist, a leading news source in legal education. Ms. Peña was also named in Utah Business Magazine’s 2020 40 Under 40 award recipientss. 

Ms. Peña is immensely grateful for the extensive experience acquired during the past 15 years working as a community organizer, advocate, and ally for underrepresented populations. She has the great opportunity to facilitate dialogues amongst local and national leaders on complex topics of inclusion and justice 


Deborah Colimon is a first-generation Haitian-American from West Palm Beach, FL. She is currently a senior at Utah Valley University, pursuing a degree in Psychology. Upon graduation, she will be attending grad school to obtain a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. 

Deborah currently works as a Presidential Intern for the office of People and Culture at UVU. As a Presidential Intern, Deborah focuses on advocating for underserved and underrepresented groups at UVU. She now sits on several committees such as the UVU’s Women’s Council, MLK Commemoration Committee, Inclusion Task Force, and the Executive DEI Team, to ensure that the students and faculty feel safe and represented at UVU. 

She is very passionate about social action and serving the members of her community. She currently serves as the president of the Black Student Union at UVU, is a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and is a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., an organization dedicated to public service with a primary focus on the Black community. In her free time, Deborah enjoys facetime calls with her nephew and collecting more house plants than she really needs. 

Jennifer Smith is Executive Vice President and Chief Technology and Operations Officer of Zions Bancorporation. In 2006, Jennifer joined Zions as the Chief Audit Executive after holding various positions at Wells Fargo & Company, including Senior Vice President Operations Risk Management and Senior Vice President and Director of Technology and Operations Audit.  

Most recently, she was honored as one of American Banker’s Most Powerful Women in Banking in 2022 and 2021; and one of their Women to Watch in 2020, 2019, 2018 and 2017; won the Women Tech Council’s Technology Leadership award in 2018; and was one of Utah Business’s CxOs of the Year in 2019. In 2013, she was globally selected as an International Women’s Forum Leadership Fellow; in 2014, she was selected to the first cohort of Harvard Business School’s Young American Leaders.  

Jennifer is committed to the community as a strategic advisory Board Member for FTV Capital, Advancement Board chair for University of Utah’s College of Social and Behavioral Science, Advisory Board member for Utah State University’s Data Analytics and Information Systems Department, and the Board for the Children’s Center of Utah. She was previously a member of YWCA Utah’s Board of Directors, United Way of Greater Salt Lake’s Board of Directors, and was a previous Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Utah mentor. 

Dr. Isabel Teresa Molina-Avella works with west side Salt Lake residents in different capacities. Her  interests are community capacity, mental health and substance use. The intersectionalities of these fields give her insights on the protective and risk factors for individuals and families in Utah. 

She has taught for the Westside Leadership Institute, and  for refugee and immigrant background community-based organizations. She helps grow local residents’ organization capacity to respond to their own cultural and linguistic strengths and needs. As Associate Director at University Neighborhood Partners, her mission is to nurture the development of UNP’s community capacity and wellbeing, education pathways, and community leadership supported-partnerships. She works closely  in conjunction with Latino Behavioral Health Services, NAMI, URLEND, University of Utah Health, and Hartland Community 4 Youth & Families.  

Isabel has an appointment as assistant professor/lecturer at the College of Social Work. She earned her PhD and MSW degrees from the University of Utah; her MBA degree from Lake Superior State University; and her BS in Economics at UNAM, Mexico. 

Lori is Senior Vice President/Principal of Aspen Consulting Group, a management-consulting firm that works with financial institutions to elevate their customer stewardship and customer experience. Her financial industry experience spans 30+ years and includes senior marketing and sales management positions at several financial institutions in the northeast, as well as positions on national and regional financial services boards.  

She is passionate about her work with two Utah non-profits. For over 20 years, she’s served in volunteer leadership roles with YWCA Utah, including Chair of the Board, Committee Chair for YWCA Utah’s Centennial Celebration, and, currently, Chair of the Community Advisory Council.  She completed two board terms for Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Intermountain Area and now serves as Director Emeritus for the charity.   

In 2019, Lori was appointed by the Salt Lake City mayor to co-chair the Outcomes Committee for the United Nations Civil Society Conference, which brought 5,000 people to Salt Lake City from around the world.  The conference had never before been held in the U.S. outside the UN headquarters in New York.   

Originally from eastern Pennsylvania, Lori spent many years in New England prior to moving to Utah in 1998. She has a BS in Marketing from Boston College and her MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. 

Outstanding Achievement Award NominationsMarch 10th Deadline

Past Outstanding Achievement Award Winners

2021 OAA Winners

Marian Dora Howe-Taylor, Candyce Fly Lee, Sarah McClellan, Lynne Nilson, Katie Kern, & Margarita Satini (YWCA Heart & Soul Award)

2020 Extraordinary Woman Winners

Sandra Hollins, Neylan McBaine, & Dr. Angela Dunn

2019 OAA Winners

Deanna Kepka, Mara Rabin, Amy Rees Anderson, Rosie Rivera, & Kendra Tomsic

2018 OAA Winners

Sheryl Allen, Mary Beckerle, Patricia Christensen, Cristina Flores, Yasmen Simonian, & Paula Green Johnson (YWCA Heart & Soul Award)

2017 OAA Winners

Lisa Gentile, Carol Osborn, Lorena Riffo-Jenson, & Joan Smith

2016 OAA Winners

Jackie Biskupski, Sherrie Hayashi, Nedra Hotchkins, Susan Madsen, & Gail Miller

2015 OAA Winners

Rosemarie Hunter, Linda Leckman, Carolyn Goodwin Schubach, Peggy Tomsic, & Olene Walker (Mary Schubach McCarthey Lifetime Achievement Award)

2014 OAA Winners

Martha Bradley, Christina Gallop, Jacqueline Gomez-Arias, Peggy Fletcher Stack, Betty Sawyer, & Yda Smith

2013 OAA Winners

Betsy Burton, Rebecca Chavez-Houck, Harriet Hopf, Kathy Christine Howa, Pam Perlich, Deb Sawyer, & Mary Schubach McCarthey (YWCA Heart and Soul Award)

2012 OAA Winners

Brenda Burrell, Norma Carr, Natalie Gochnour, Libby Hunter, Leigh Neumayer, & Boyer Jarvis (Honorary Outstanding Achievement Award)

2011 OAA Winners

Dolores Delgado Bernal, Emma E. Houston, Anita Kinney, Vivianne Elizabeth Mbaku, JoAnn Seghini, & Geralyn White Dreyfous (Mary Schubach McCarthey Lifetime Achievement Award)

2010 OAA Winners

Deborah Bayle, Cynthia A. Bioteau, Marian Ingham, & Lynne Ward

2009 OAA Winners

Judy Kasten Bell, Marjorie A. Chan, Sanchaita Datta, Ann Millner, & Elaine M. Pace

2008 OAA Winners

Jeannette Misaka, Kaye Richards, Babs DeLay, Michele Johnson, & Maria Garciaz

2007 OAA Winners

Karen Crompton, Shauna Graves-Robertson, Patti Harrington, Colette Herrick, Wilma Johnson, Kathleen Mason, & Margo Provost

2006 OAA Winners

Christina Kim, JoAnn Slama Lighty, Silvia Peña, Lucille Stoddard, Maggie Wilde, & Jeanetta Williams

2005 OAA Winners

Elaine Cohen, Cecelia H. Foxley, Paula Julander, Lucinda Kindred, Aida Mattingley, & Kathleen McElligott

2004 OAA Winners

Frances P. Battle, Bishop Carolyn Tanner Irish, Tibby Milne, Nancy Mitchell, Ruth Novak, & Susan J. Quaal

2003 OAA Winners

Rev. Gwyneth MacKenzie Murphy, Gail Russell, Marilyn Tang, Graciela Italiano-Thomas, & Jan Tyler

2002 OAA Winners

Emma Gross, Lacey Heward, Sue E. Huether, Margaret Jackson, Heather Stringfellow, & JoAnn Jacobsen-Wells

2001 OAA Winners

Khando Chazotsang, Debra Daniels, Roberta Harris, Corrine Hill, Jill Jones, & Helen Papanikolas

2000 OAA Winners

Kathryn Brooks, Val Davis, Joy Hashimoto, Peggy Norton, Chieko Okazaki, Josie Valdez, & Elaine Weiss

1999 OAA Winners

Kay Brown, Preddy Oseguera, Dee Rowland, Janet Harnsberger, Diana Jergensen, & Patty Reagan

1998 OAA Winners

Colleen Casto, Maria Farrington, Leslie Lewis, Agnes Plenk, Sally Smith, & Lynn Trenbeath

1997 OAA Winners

Barb Barnhart, Laura Boardman, Anne Erickson, Brandy Farmer, Elizabeth Hammond, & Eileen Stone

1996 OAA Winners

Maggie Snyder, Luci Malin, Tomiye Ishimatsu, Karen Shepherd, Marie Augustine, & Carol Ann Dunlap

1995 OAA Winners

Jan Graham, Joyce Gray, Reba Keele, Diane McCall Lennon, Abby Maestes, & Donna Land Maldonado

1994 OAA Winners

Frances Hoopes, Alice Kasai, Theresa Martinez, Lucy Osborn, Kathryn Bond Stockton, & Lee Anne Walker

1993 OAA Winners

Pamela Atkinson, Annette Cumming, Barbara Hamilton-Holway, Margaret Peterson, Kathleen Spencer-Christy, & Dorothy Stowe

1992 OAA Winners

Pema Chagzoetsang, Christine Meaders Durham, Karrie Galloway, Florence Lawrence, Lorraine Miller, & Linda Smith

1991 OAA Winners

Ruth Draper, Irene Fisher, Betty Gaines-Jones, Aden Ross, & Emma Lou Thayne

1990 OAA Winners

Frances Farley, Rita Inoway, Marjorie Janove, Jacqueline Nicholes, Kristen Ries, & Phyllis White

1989 OAA Winners

Carol Fay, Lou Jean Flint, Ila Marie Goodey, Helen Ure, & Alberta Henry