Posted: Wednesday, 29 January 2014 7:07AM

YWCA Women of Distinction Program Honorees

MANKATO (TEC News), January 29 – Honorees for the YWCA Women of Distinction Event were announced recently and a program will be held in March for them. Social hour and silent auction will begin at the Verizon Wireless Center at 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 20 with a program to follow at 6:30 p.m. (photos & bios online and newsletter)

Cheryl Hamond started her journey 16 years ago at the Mankato Family YMCA and is currently serving as Director of Social Responsibility.  She is passionate about reaching into the community to build relationships and help others take positive steps in their life.  Over the years, she has had the opportunity to grow and develop as a leader and has a remarkable compassion for people- particularly little ones- in danger of being uninvolved or not-noticed.
In 2006, Cheryl was asked to lead and develop the Brother/Sister Mentor Program that provides positive role models for kids in the community.   After receiving a phone call from a mom who was homeless with her teenage son, she took to heart the 2 year wait list.   A group mentoring program was started and is filling the gap for kids waiting for a mentor.  Cheryl continued to expand mentoring by adding a school-based program in 2011.   Under Cheryl’s leadership, the number of kids served has nearly tripled. 
Throughout the years, Cheryl has embodied the YWCA mission of eliminating racism and empowering women through programs she developed like the Real Dove Beauty Workshop helping girls increase their self-esteem and body image, an outreach soccer program for underserved kids, primarily refugee kids, Youth-in-Government that empowers high school students and positive role models for girls in the mentoring programs.  She also started Y-links, for kids who cannot afford or are not engaged in after school programming and is in multiple community collaborations that give out school backpacks, shoes and eye-glasses to families in need.   On a personal level, Cheryl was involved with her church family in bringing awareness to human trafficking, spear-headed a “Simplify Campaign” where the community came together and gave household items, furniture and beds to new immigrant and refugee families that had very little.  She loves connecting with her neighbors, many of them refugees and having “rootbeer” float nights with sometimes up to 20 kids in her backyard.
Cheryl’s biggest accomplishments are first, being a mom to her 4 children and a wife to her loving husband.  She was honored in 2007 by receiving the MAHY, “Spirit of Youth” award and was chosen to be part of an International Leadership Program that was held in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.  As one of her colleagues say, “She challenges herself and the rest of us to be better at what we do.” 

Julie Hawker is the Community Development Manager for Lloyd Management, Inc. here in Mankato.  Not only does Julie spend forty hours per week in her role at Lloyd Management, she gives countless hours to the overall betterment of the community of Mankato.  Julie’s outgoing personality and strong interpersonal skills automatically make her an outstanding leader, regardless of the group she has set out to lead.  The community members Julie works with are not only drawn to her bright smile and welcoming attitude, they almost immediately feel comfortable sharing their joys and concerns with her because she truly cares about the response when she asks someone, “How are you today?” When Julie first started working at Lloyd Management six years ago, her title was Marketing Manager.  Julie stepped right into her position, and then some.  It was not long before Julie’s title included Community Development Manager, because she led our company to be more community-minded.  As the rest of us at Lloyd Management went about your busy, stressful days, Julie would look for ways we could give back to our community.  The first community outreach project Julie coordinated for Lloyd Management was packaging food at Kids Against Hunger.  While we were helping feed hungry kids around the world, we grew closer to each other and became more than just a group of co-workers. Julie’s leadership skills are not limited to her work with Lloyd Management.  At her church, Two Rivers Vineyard Church, Julie is very involved in leading small group sessions and even began a regular luncheon which allowed various business people to gather together and nurture friendships, as well as explore the ways that faith interacts with a life in the business world.  Even more notably, Julie was a key visionary in Two Rivers Vineyard Church launching a new camp through Royal Family Kids.  This particular camp is very dear to Julie and she has been a camp leader for many years.  Instead of stepping into her role as “camp leader,” she used her leadership abilities to foster another group of leaders, who were then able to lead a wider group of people to accomplish a huge goal. Julie is constantly striving to empower women in and around our community.  Most recently, Julie helped promote and fund the Emerging Leaders initiative, which honors women leaders from various backgrounds and promotes networking among the women.  Initially, the goal was to have five Emerging Leaders honored at the ceremony.  Many women submitted worthy applications so Julie decided to go above and beyond the call of duty and reach out to additional funding sources to ensure that all fourteen women could attend the event. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Julie over the past six years while working together at Lloyd Management.  She is truly the epitome of a Woman of Distinction.  I cannot imagine another woman more fitting to win this award—the way she gives of herself and expects nothing in return is beyond admirable.  Julie would truly give the shirt off her back to anyone in need.  Her outpouring of love and respect are evident in everything she does; and, nothing she does is small-scale.  Julie puts her all into any project she sets her mind to.  I am fortunate to call Julie my friend and deeply admire the work she does in and around the community of Mankato. 

Sue Frost is an amazing woman with a free spirit who has been providing health and health education for diverse cultures of women, children and infants most of her life. She is a born leader who has held many leadership positions and eagerly takes on challenges as they arise.
Her lifelong mission of educating,promoting health and strengthening confidence in women with children in their homes, truly mirrors the YWCA's mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. Sue is an active member of the Zonta Club of Mankato, whose mission is to improve the status of women and children worldwide. She has served two terms as president as well as secretary and board member. In 2005 she received the Zontian of the Year Award in recognition of her service in Zonta and the community. She is also a member of the YWCA and serves on the Advisory Committee for the Walking in Two Worlds and the Readiness to Learn Community Outreach programs. She regularly participates in the Colorful Dialogue and Clothes Closet projects. Professionally, Sue has received three nursing awards by the Minnesota Nurses Association in recognition of her leadership, nursing skills and community service qualities during her professional career. When the Open Door Health Center (ODHC), a community health center serving the uninsured and underinsured,opened in 1994 Sue was one of the Nurse Managers providing leadership skills and patient care during those early years . Her input and counsel were paramount to the early success of the ODHC. Another unique quality of Sue is her willingness to open her home to college students of diverse ethnic, race and lifestyle backgrounds. She has enjoyed being a mentor and "Mankato Mom" to well over a dozen students, primarily young women, over the past 20 years. She has continued to be a mom and grandma, mentor and educator to many of these students as they marry and begin their families. Her greatest pride was nurturing and watching the growth of a beautiful young woman,Cecil,from Sudan who lived with her for over 4 years. Cecil often relates that she learned more about family, life, and values in her "American Home" than in her own family home in Sudan. During her retirement Sue continues to use her skills volunteering two mornings a week at her church's day care nursery. She will be completing her fifth year of volunteering this summer. And for age diversity she delivers weekly meals to seniors in her community. Sue's family, friends and colleagues describe her as caring and compassionate. She is an excellent mentor, listener, and behind the scenes advocate helping women who are struggling with personal life issues. Her caring attitude together with her outstanding communication skills generates confidence and success for each woman's life she touches.

Eide Bailly is dedicated to helping diverse employees advance their careers and professional lives. Our “First Focus” Committee was developed for the purpose of ensuring that our women professionals are as likely to succeed in the Firm as their male colleagues. This committee oversees communication within the Firm on issues impacting women, including gender differences, communication strategies and educational opportunities to support Eide Bailly’s female professionals as they navigate their careers from associate to partner level. First Focus also connects women with senior Firm leaders who serve as resources, mentors and educators throughout their tenure. Firmwide, women partners sit on the board of directors and lead industry groups including Non-Profit, Tax Exempt, State and Local Taxation, Dealerships, Financial Institutions and others. Of our 1,200 employees more than half are female, with 44 women partners and 161 managers. Women are increasingly promoted to managerial roles with the expectation that they will continue upward to partner level. Eide Bailly’s strong culture of caring, trust and support foster a warm, welcoming environment for all employees. We are also highly active in our communities with a deep emphasis on volunteerism. Across the Firm, Eide Bailly professionals contribute time and resources to various non-profits in the areas where we work and live. In Greater Mankato, we volunteer with Junior Achievement, Greater Mankato Area United Way, LEEP, Twin Rivers Council for the Arts, Mankato Area Foundation, Greater Mankato Growth, Mankato Symphony Orchestra and the YWCA.  Our employees are also extremely active in area services clubs including Rotary, Zonta, BPW, Lions and Sertoma. As an office, Mankato regularly conducts internal fundraisers to benefit area organizations including ECHO, Salvation Army, Feeding Our Communities Back Pack Food Program and Holiday Sharing Tree.  Most recently, we raised more than $8,500 for the Back Pack Food Program and, just as importantly, we have committed to volunteering at FOCP, creating the packages that are put in the children’s backpacks on a monthly basis. Eide Bailly supports many community events; many of which have an impact on diverse populations.  We sponsor the YWCA Women’s Leadership Conference and are a long-time sponsor of the Women of Distinction event.  We also regularly send participants through the YWCA Elizabeth Kearney Women’s Leadership Development Program.  We have also sponsored and been a recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Pathfinder Award and the Zonta Fall Fashion Show in support of Open Door Health Center. Eide Bailly is proud to be an employer that supports the advancement of each of our professionals. We are passionate about helping our clients and communities succeed.