(BLOOMINGTON) - Mayor Mark Kruzan announced today that four local women will be honored during March for their outstanding service to the community.
Marcia Veldman has been named Bloomington's Woman of the Year; Linda Simon and Sophia Travis will receive the Lifetime Contribution Award; and Shelli Yoder has been chosen to receive the Emerging Leader Award.
The recipients were selected by members of the Commission on the Status of Women's Woman of the Year Subcommittee. The Woman of the Year and Lifetime Contribution Award recipients will be honored at the Women's History Month Luncheon on Wednesday, March 27 at the Bloomington-Monroe County Convention Center, 302 S. College Ave. The Emerging Leader recipient will be honored at the Women's Leadership Development event on Tuesday, March 5 in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
The lunch is an opportunity to recognize the individual and collective accomplishments of women in Bloomington. In addition, organizations for women and women-owned businesses will be on exhibit at the luncheon. The exhibit reservation form is available at www.bloomington.in.gov/csw.
The theme of this year's lunch is "Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics." The Indiana University chemistry department's Clinical Assistant Professor Cathrine "Kate" Reck will be the keynote speaker.
Doors will open at 11:15 a.m. for the Luncheon; food will be served starting at 12:15 p.m. The cost is $20 per meal and seats must be purchased in advance. Please send the attendee's name and a check made payable to "City of Bloomington - Women's History Month Lunch" to Women's History Month Lunch, Commission on the Status of Women, P.O. Box 100, Bloomington, IN 47402. Seats also can be purchased at the Department of Community and Family Resources' office, located in suite 260 at City Hall, 401 N. Morton St. The deadline for purchasing a seat is Friday, March 22. Scholarships are available for individuals who need assistance purchasing a seat
For more information about the lunch contact Sue Owens at 349.3468 or at
Woman of the Year Marcia Veldman is an advocate for food justice, food security and food sustainability within communities. Veldman has been a leader in a variety of different sustainability and food projects that promote healthy lifestyles. As the City's point person and coordinator for the farmers' market, she has increased shoppers' access to fresh, healthy foods. Veldman has been an active force at the Hoosier Hills Food Bank, where she helped to establish the Meal Share food rescue program. In addition, she initiated a collaborative effort to establish the Plant a Row project and helped raise sponsorship levels for the Soup Bowl. Along with being an avid supporter of Mother Hubbard's Cupboard and serving on the Hilltop Educational Foundation's board, Veldman is one of the founders of Green Drinks, a monthly lecture series where people work toward sustainability goals. Veldman's work with the Green Sanctuary Task Force played an integral role in securing funding for installing solar panels at the Unitarian Universalist Church.
Lifetime Contribution Award winner Linda Simon has used her community devotion and
business savvy to be a mentor, friend and inspiration to countless women. In the late 1960s Simon moved to Bloomington, where she completed an MBA at IU's Kelley School of Business. From there, she became a role model who provided encouragement and support for women pursuing careers in the accounting field. She continued to foster personal and professional growth for career-oriented women when she opened her first accounting firm in 1991. She has played an active role in the community, devoting time to healthcare services at the Bloomington Hospital, Southern Indiana Physicians and Volunteers in Medicine; to education at Ivy Tech, the Monroe County Public Library and Community Leaders for Education; and to economic development at the Chamber of Commerce. Simon has been president of both the Volunteers in Medicine and Girls, Inc. boards. She currently sits on the boards of Indiana Health Bloomington Hospital, Southern Indiana Physicians and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. Furthermore, she is a founding member of Community Leaders for Education.
Sophia Travis will be honored posthumously with a Lifetime Contribution Award. She will be celebrated and recognized as a community activist, government official, musician, devoted wife, mother and friend. Travis impacted the community in many ways. She was dedicated to providing a voice for the underserved and concentrated many of her efforts on women's health and accessibility issues. Travis served on the Monroe County Council from 2005 to 2009. She advocated and secured funding for Options for Better Living and the Monroe County Futures Family Planning Clinic. Sophia was an advocate for the Monroe County Women's Commission and became the Commission's first chair in 2011. Always active in the community, Travis was able to tie her love for fine arts, music, and public service together to establish Tango & Beyond, a fundraiser for the Monroe County Youth Services Bureau and Project Safe Place. She lived fearlessly and was a true role model for women of all walks of life.
Emerging Leader Shelli Yoder first caught the public's attention after filing as a candidate for the 9th Congressional District race. She inspired thousands within the community, men and women alike, with her plans to help build a stronger state and nation. While the race was Yoder's first foray into politics, she has a long history of public service. Throughout her professional career - from her time as the Executive Director of the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee to her time as the Director of Hannah's House for Girls in Mishawaka, Ind. - she has been focused on women's issues. Yoder currently serves at IU's Kelley School of Business as a Visiting Lecturer in Business Communications and Professionalism. She formerly served on the board of the Monroe County NAACP.
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