Congratulations to our 2012 Women of Excellence
Congratulations to our 2012 Women of Excellence Winners:
2012 Woman in the Workplace : Linda Judah
Linda C. Judah has been leading through community service for three decades. A registered nurse, Ms. Judah has served as Director of Buchanan Child Support Enforcement, as a hospital and school nurse and currently is the Executive Director of the Social Welfare Board. Linda has a compassionate understanding of the specific health challenges faced by low-income patients and has worked aggressively to overcome those challenges. She has ensured that the Social Welfare Board achieved the topmost level of care and that clinic now serves as the standard for others seeking to provide high-quality care. In addition to serving as a leader for several overseas medical trips, Ms. Judah has worked diligently to secure funding for the free clinic through a period of economic uncertainty and has earned such respect among nursing students and interns that she was invited to be the keynote speaker at graduation.
2012 Employer of Excellence : Susan J. Campbell Copywriting Solutions
Susan J. Campbell is passionate about her work and she takes every opportunity to ensure that those who work with her are able to tap into a similar passion. Balancing work and family is perhaps that greatest stand-out feature within the company. Every employee and independent contractor working with Susan J. Campbell is allowed to set his/her own work schedule and last minute workload revisions due to family needs are taken in stride. Susan herself sets the pace by working hard to build the company, encourage co-workers, and reach out in service to the community. Susan regularly schedules service opportunities and invites co-workers to join in, including a team event each year at Royal Family Kids Camp. She is open to feedback and the words “how can I help?’ are not uncommon. Commitment to a family-friendly team atmosphere where service is promoted makes Susan J. Campbell an outstanding work environment.
2012 Woman in Volunteerism : Lori Prussman
Lori Prussman is a valuable volunteer leader and has provided faithful service within the PTA for nearly 20 years. Lori has been actively involved in leading PTA projects like the Character and Spiritual Scholarship and has worked to keep the organization solvent through the Major Savers Fundraiser. Ms. Prussman has served two terms as St. Joseph PTA Council President and in that capacity has worked tirelessly promoting new schools and new technology and has patiently addressed hundreds of questions from concerned citizens. Ms. Prussman has led within the organization as well, taking time to mentor and train countless new PTA leaders. Thanks to Lori Prussman, the PTA manages to keep attention focused on advocating for children in the St. Joseph community.
2012 Woman in Support Services : Christi Norris
Christi Norris is the Communications Manager for the Social Welfare Board, a role which she fills with enthusiasm and common sense, but whose influence extends far beyond the organizing and daily operations responsibilities encompassed in her job description. Christi has been responsible for developing successful fundraisers, putting together a quarterly newsletter and promoting a cheerful atmosphere in the organization through birthday celebrations and fun staff functions. Ms. Norris seeks to share her can-do outlook and has been known to post encouraging quotes in prominent places around the office to help keep attitudes pointed in a positive direction. Christi’s faith influences her work attitude and she is recognized as one who interacts with people of every age and socio-economic level with consistent charm and effectiveness. Christi demonstrates the high character coupled with high work standards which constitute a career worth imitating. These qualities make her a from-the-heart leader.
2012 Emerging Leader: Sara Summers Stein
Sara is an intelligent and highly motivated young woman who is considered a sparkplug wherever she happens to be serving. During an outstanding college and post-graduate career, Sara demonstrated strong leadership both in her personal work and her ability to head up major University programs. Since graduating with a PhD in Educational Leadership, Sara has used her considerable talent to improve the lives of others. Sara worked with Empower U to reach out to St. Joseph youth. She has also been pivotal in the success of the parent-child reading program Read from the Start. Sara is currently working to build awareness and action through Clean Air St Joe. Sara’s list of civic involvements is extensive and well-rounded. She is married and the mother of two young children.
2012 Future Leader : Morgan Brand
Morgan Brand is an outstanding Lafayette High School senior whose high level of performance combined with a winning personality endears her to all. Morgan has consistently earned high marks within a challenging college preparatory schedule and will be named to the Scholastic Honor Society at its May induction ceremony. In addition to top academics, Morgan has provided leadership for fellow students through Student Council and student mentoring. Morgan has participated in a variety of school activities from athletics (tennis) to the arts (theatre and choir). Those who work with Morgan describe her as highly organized and able to win the participation of others through her own example and dependability. Morgan’s leadership extends to the broader community where she has worked part-time and was central to the organization of the Senior Citizen Prom. Morgan Brand has a bright smile and a bright future both in terms of personal success and community service.
2012 Lifetime Achievement : Workplace – Leechia Jones
It seems perfectly fitting for anyone who knows Leechia Jones or who has worked alongside her that this Lifetime Achievement Award winner was once an Olympic Torch Bearer, a symbol of her deep integrity and lasting impact on our community. Leechia’s contributions to the fields of behavioral health and social work during her remarkable career will continue to improve the lives of families for generations to come, and are part of the extraordinary spirit she demonstrates as a 2012YWCALifetime Achievement Award winner.
A graduate of Central High School in 1964, Leechia continued her education at St. Joseph Jr. College, Northwest Missouri State University and Missouri Western State College (prior to its declaration as a University). Her certifications include a Zenger/Miller certification in Supervision; Adoption Specialist; Journey Facilitator and HIV counselor. She has shared her rich knowledge base with multiple organizations across several decades, including providing training to groups, facilitating a parent/child sex education program for Family Guidance Center and also serving as a Families in Transition facilitator for Family Guidance Center for children experiencing a divorce. She is also credited with outstanding respect, compassion and resilience toward helping individuals who have addictions to substances or alcohol to reach recovery, and making significant contributions toward reducing stigma for those who battle the disease of addiction.
Leechia is humble regarding her numerous accomplishments she has earned through her leadership and dedication, which include the Communicator of the Year award from Southwestern Bell; the Sullivan Award from Catholic Charities; the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Association for Community Leadership and from Leadership St. Joseph. Often called upon to help with new initiatives, Leechia extended her wisdom and leadership as coordinator for the St. Joseph Youth Alliance during its beginning phases, serving there as a loaned team member from Family Guidance Center for three years.
Like a symbol of the light she brings to so many lives, Leechia was an Olympic Torch bearer in 1996. She is also a member of the Black Archives Museum Hall of Fame. Recently retired, Leechia is enjoying spending time with her children. Known for her compassion, strength of character and remarkable respect with which extended to all her clients and coworkers during her career, Leechia says “I believe that people are valued, and we all need to be able to show them how much we value them.”
2012 Lifetime Achievement : Volunteerism : Diane Watson
Few women represent the quote “bloom where you’re planted” as remarkably as Diane Watson. As a child, this Colorado native began sharing her wisdom and kindness along a journey that included frequent moves as her father searched for work before World War II, then additional moves later as a teacher and minister’s wife. Landing inSt. JosephfromCincinnati,Ohio. Since 1970, Diane’s education and volunteer career has certainly entered full blossom.
Diane’s recent retirement from the St. Joseph School District Board of Education represents more than 40 years of total service to the public school system as a teacher and volunteer, including 12 consecutive years as a Board member. The foundation for her service comes not only from her genuine desire to make a difference, but also her dual degrees in both elementary education and religious education from the University of Denver, graduating in 1953.
Diane began her career in St. Joseph as a teacher in 1970, bringing with her a desire to put down roots and make strong contributions toward helping children have the best educational opportunities possible. When her husband of 57 years, John, put his Yale Divinity School degree to work as a minister, Diane held several teaching positions including a time in Denver, Colorado, Short Beach, Conn., a private school in Cincinnati and St. Joseph’s Washington, Pershing, Skaith and Coleman elementary schools. She retired from her elementary teaching career in 1998. She was then recruited to teach at Missouri Western State University in the Education and English departments.
Fellow teachers and students recall how she was always creative and energetic, going out of her way to make learning interesting and to connect with students – skills she utilized for four decades. During her first term on the board, she helped lead a $36 million bond project for school improvement; her later term service included the establishment of personal computers for students. Seven years ago, Diane was on the forefront of pushing formorenutritious lunches for students, even before federal leaders took up this charge and opening the door for other schools inMissourito take similar steps. Along her journey, she served as Board President of the St. Joseph School Board, elected to two-year terms both in 2006 and 2008, and served as the board liason to the P.A.C.T. Committee. As a member of the Missouri School Board Association Board of Directors, Diane served as the Governmental Relations Chair from 2003 through 2011 and a time on the Executive Board.
Diane’s volunteer career extends across the community, including roles as a docent at the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art; Chapter andi Reciprocity President of P.E.O.; and an elder, deacon and committee member to the First Presbyterian Church. As Area Coordinator for Phi Delta Kappa she traveled the western part ofMissouriencouraging quality education. She has also contributed her time and talents to the Calla Varner Board, the Junior League, the Flower Society, the St. Joseph Symphony and the Performing Arts Association, among others.
With an enthusiastic personality and a “can-do” attitude, Diane Watson has become an outstanding community volunteer and an admired friend to many – all of which she humbly attributes to “going wherever the Lord leads.”
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