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Heartland Community College's director of student counseling, Faye Freeman-Smith, left, talks with keynote speaker Lorie Burch on May 16, 2017, during the 28th annual Women of Distinction Awards Banquet at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, Normal. YWCA announced Tuesday that Di Ann Sanchez, a human services professional who focuses on diversifying the workforce, will be keynote speaker at the 29th annual event on May 22 at the Marriott.

BLOOMINGTON — YWCA McLean County is accepting nominations for the 29th annual Women of Distinction Awards, which recognize local women for their contributions in arts and entertainment, business, education, professions, social service, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and volunteer service as well as a young professional.

The banquet will be May 22 at the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in uptown Normal. Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. and dinner and the program will follow at 6:30 p.m.

One woman will be chosen in each category and all nominees should be women who have demonstrated qualities of leadership, excellence in their professional and personal lives and a commitment to improving McLean County through their work and volunteer service.

Nominees also should support the YWCA mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for everyone, the YWCA said in a prepared statement.

Previous nominees can be renominated.

WINGS Award applications also are being accepted. This financial award — of as much as $1,500 — is sponsored by past Women of Distinction recipients and is awarded annually to women to improve their skills and grow professionally.

WINGS applicants must demonstrate a commitment to professional and personal growth as well as service to McLean County. Recipients also will be recognized at the Women of Distinction Awards Banquet.

Applications/nominations for both awards are available at or paper copies are available at YWCA McLean County, 1201 N. Hershey Road, Bloomington.

Women of Distinction and WINGS nominations are due by 5 p.m. March 30.

For more information, contact Brandi Kimball at or call 309-662-0461, ext. 298.


Health Reporter

Health reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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