Influential, Courageous, and Committed
Celebrating the Impact of Women
By Nick Dmitrovich
It doesn’t matter what type of industry you work within or organization you serve. The profile of your daily life has been significantly shaped by the efforts of powerful women and the companies and communities that enabled their success. Their effect is undeniable, lasting, and has helped develop Indiana’s position as an outstanding place to open a business or raise a family. As a region, Northwest Indiana is in a unique position to recognize this impact with its diverse array of businesses and cities.
Just a few weeks ago, more than 700 people and dozens of prominent businesses gathered in Merrillville to celebrate the achievements of over 20 female leaders at the Influential Women of Northwest Indiana awards banquet. Attendees included representatives from many corporate entities, as well as elected officials, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizers, and more.
“There’s no question that our region would be a very different place without the women that Influential Women celebrates,” said Erica Dombey, president and executive director of the Regional Development Company (RDC) and Influential Women alumna.
Twenty women received accolades in 10 different industry categories: one Influential Woman and one Up & Coming Woman. Also, additional special awards were distributed for overall winners, empowering business of the year, the Torch Award, community leader of the year, and supporter of the year. Winners were selected from a pool of over 200 nominees that were submitted by their peers, colleagues, family, and friends.
The overall Up & Coming Woman of the Year is Michelle Biel Ondas, principal, School City of Hammond. The overall Influential Woman of the Year is Julie Mallers, nurse practitioner, Franciscan St. Claire Clinic.
The Horseshoe Casino in Hammond took home the title of Empowering Business of the Year for its efforts to foster and promote a culture that supports the success of women. The company’s “Lean In Circles” have made a quick but lasting impact on the organization’s culture and the lives of its members, who openly discuss topics in a confidential setting such as gender equality, effective workplace communication, inclusive leadership, and more.
All in all, the stories shared during the banquet provided the clearest examples of the incredible significance of women throughout every regional industry. The Influential Women are truly deserving of their accolades and will serve as role models for future generations to come.Nomination Application Sponsorships & Tickets