Recognizing and Celebrating Leaders Across our Community

For the past 15 years, the start of summer has brought hundreds of community leaders, volunteers and members of the business community together to celebrate the accomplishments of women in numerous roles.

The annual Women of Excellence Awards Luncheon was Thursday, June 15, 2017 at the Civic Arena. At last year’s luncheon, over 1,000 guests were in attendance as we honored outstanding women and employers. We not only recognize and celebrate leadership at the event, but we honor the role all of us play in creating a community of vision, hope and strength. The 2017 speaker was Col. Grace Link, Director of Staff for the Missouri Air Guard (Read more in sidebar).


Read Full Media Release Here: YWCA Earns Record Breaking $125,000 at Women of Excellence


2017 Award Recipients: 

Lifetime Achievement Award – Workplace:  Julia Schneider

Lifetime Achievement Award – Volunteerism: Dorothy Wenz

Woman in the Workplace:  Cynthia Blakely

Woman in Volunteerism:  Martha Drannan Clark

Emerging Leader:  Natalie Maupin

Woman in Support Services:  Angela Stone

Future Leader:  Elizabeth Robinson

Employer of Excellence:  St. Joseph Title

2017 Y Woman of Merit:  Marcy Colescott

For more photos click here!


Women of Excellence Keynote Speaker 2017

About Col. Grace Link:  As Director of Staff for the Missouri Air Guard, Col. Grace Link serves as a senior advisor to the adjutant general, coordinates joint military functions and formulates long-term strategic plans in support of nearly 2,300 Citizen Airmen throughout the state – including the 139th Airlift in St. Joseph. A civil engineer and Airman since 1987, Link most recently served as the Deputy Missouri Support Group Commander at the 139th Airlift Wing in St. Joseph and was responsible for programming, coordinating and executing all military construction, fire protection, environmental protection, and emergency management programs.

Link has also led numerous military construction projects including Operation New Horizon in El Salvador, a Wounded Warrior Project in Colorado, and was recently the Commander for a European Reassurance Initiative Humanitarian Civic Assistance orphanage reconstruction project in Latvia. She currently serves as the Wing representative on the State Partnership Program with Panama.

She has a Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering Technology from Missouri Western State University and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Oklahoma State University. She is a graduate of Air Command and Staff College and Air War College.