Merrillville, IN

2022 Influential Women Award Winners Announced

Building Indiana Business

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NWIIWA

The 11th annual Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards Banquet recently celebrated the region’s top female professionals for the impact they’ve made on their companies and communities. The event is coordinated by the Northwest Indiana Influential Women Association (NWIIWA) to recognize women that are making a true impact across our region.

All of the finalists and winners were individuals that have overcome challenges while elevating themselves and others along the way. They are inspirational people that make Northwest Indiana a better place to live and work.

“This is one of the best events of the year. There’s nothing as amazing as seeing the pure joy among our finalists, winners, and their families and colleagues. Many of our winners have taken on tremendous challenges, defied the odds, and developed promising and influential careers. We’re proud of them, and even more, we’re proud to celebrate the success stories that make NWI women some of the strongest in the world,” said Erica Dombey, NWIIWA board chair.

In total, there were 28 awards given to individuals and other leaders or organizations that promote the advancement of women. Winners come from all kinds of different professional backgrounds, including educators, corporate leaders, hospital officials, government officials, nonprofit heads, caregivers, and others.

Two winners were announced from 12 different industry categories – one Up-and-Coming winner and one Influential Woman winner. Other special awards were given to the Overall Influential Woman of the Year, the Overall Up-and-Coming Women of the Year, the Empowering Business of the Year, the Community Leader of the Year, and the Supporter of the Year.

The 2022 overall Influential Woman of the Year winner is Audra Peterson, executive director of career and technical education with Porter County Education Services. Also, the overall Up-and-Coming Woman of the Year winner is Claudia Jones, director of food and beverages at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary.

Winners were chosen from a group of 120 finalists that were selected from a pool of over 250 nominees. Nominations were submitted by peers and other members of the public and were evaluated by Influential Women alumni from various industry sectors.

2022 Influential Women Winners

  • Influential Women of the Year: Audra Peterson, Executive Director of Career and Technical Education, Porter County Education Services
  • Up and Coming Women of the Year: Claudia Jones, Director of Food and Beverages, Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana
  • Supporter of the Year: Kylee Fraze Norman, Tax Director, CLH, CPAs & Consultants
  • Community Leader of the Year: Kelly Vates, Co-Founder, Executive Director, Fair Haven Rape Crisis Center

Arts

  • Influential Woman: Robin Arvanitis, Dance Department Leader, Patti’s All-American Gymnastics
  • Up & Coming: Alicia Hodges, Owner, Alicia Hodges Portraiture

Business

  • Influential Woman: Stephanie Keller, Manager, CliftonLarsonAllen
  • Up & Coming: Trish Geyer, Agency Owner, Allstate Insurance

Construction

  • Influential Woman: Norma Williams, Owner, Excellence by Design
  • Up & Coming: Julianne Tattersall, Internal Operations Manager, Korellis

Economic Development/Government

  • Influential Woman: Alexius Barber, Public Affairs and Economic Development Manager, NIPSCO
  • Up & Coming: Mary Perren, Executive Assistant, Starke County Economic Development Foundation

Education

  • Influential Woman: Audrey Faith Randle, Instructor of Criminal Justice Education, Hammond Area Career Center
  • Up & Coming: Kristin Burton, Professor of Entrepreneurship, Purdue University Northwest

Finance

  • Influential Woman: Helen Pennington, Senior Vice President of Risk Review, Citibank
  • Up & Coming: Lisa Kuehl, Commercial Loan Portfolio Manager, Horizon Bank in Merrillville

Healthcare

  • Influential Woman: Erica Kaufman West, MD, Medical Director of Infectious Diseases, Franciscan Alliance
  • Up & Coming: Tiffany Conover, Charge Nurse, St. Catherine Hospital

Law

  • Influential Woman: Heather McCarthy, Attorney, City of Hobart; Law Office of Heather A. McCarthy
  • Up & Coming: Allison Pulliam, Associate Attorney, Eichhorn & Eichhorn LLP

Marketing

  • Influential Woman: Angela Spencer, Owner, White Iris Dress; Account Executive, Auburn Supply Company
  • Up & Coming: Samantha Bean, Marketing Manager, Lubeznik Center for the Arts

Nonprofit

  • Influential Woman: Erika Miller, District Manager, Goodwill Industries of Michiana
  • Up & Coming: Juanita Boland, Crisis Contact Quality Assurance Manager, Crisis Center Inc.

Service

  • Influential Woman: Stacey Beal, Wholesale Fuel Sales Support, Luke Oil
  • Up & Coming: Miranda O’Block, Owner, Tavern on Main

STEM

  • Influential Woman: Nasim Azimi, R&D Scientist, Staff Engineer, MonoSol LLC
  • Up & Coming: Brianna Styck, Executive Director, Educator, Newton County Soil and Water Conservation District

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