2023 Influential Women Award Winners Announced

INDIANA – The 12th-annual Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards Banquet celebrated the outstanding achievements of the region’s most accomplished female professionals. Each of this year’s winners has left an indelible mark on both their organizations and communities.

Organized by the Northwest Indiana Influential Women Association (NWIIWA), this event continues its tradition of acknowledging the remarkable contributions of women who are driving positive change throughout our region.

Each finalist and winner has journeyed through personal challenges while simultaneously lifting themselves and those around them. These individuals serve as powerful sources of inspiration, significantly contributing to the betterment of Northwest Indiana as both a thriving place to live and a dynamic hub for professional growth.

“This event never fails to light up the year. Witnessing the unbridled joy in our finalists, winners, and the people who support them is a true testament to the exceptional spirit of our NWI women. Our winners have faced daunting challenges, defied the odds, and carved out influential, promising careers. We’re not just proud of them; we’re ecstatic to revel in the stories that showcase NWI women as some of the world’s fiercest forces,” remarked 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 Community Leader of the Year, and the Supporter of the Year.

The 2023 overall Influential Woman of the Year is Jessica Kish, a broker and the owner of New Chapter Real Estate. Also, the overall Up-and-Coming Woman of the Year is Teri Wallace, partner and tax manager with Wallace Consulting.

Winners were chosen from a group of 165 finalists that were selected from a pool of over 320 nominees. Nominations were submitted by peers and other members of the public and were evaluated by Influential Women alumni from various industry sectors.

-Nick Dmitrovich

The 2023 Influential Women Award Winners

About NWIIWA: The Northwest Indiana Influential Women Association (NWIIWA) is a 501c3 nonprofit and the leading regional group for the professional development of women and their careers.

2023 Influential Women Award Winners

Special Awards

  • Influential Woman of the Year: Jessica Kish, Owner, Broker, New Chapter Real Estate
  • Up and Coming Woman of the Year: Teri Wallace, Partner, Tax Manager, Wallace Consulting
  • Community Leader of the Year: Sherri Ziller, President, CEO, NWI Regional Development Authority
  • Supporter of the Year: Deanna Chase, Corporate Paralegal, Horizon Bank


  • Influential: Gloria Rose Tuohy, Founder and CEO, Indiana Ballet Theatre
  • Up and Coming: Brittany Robinson, Owner/Head Coach, Famous Athletics


  • Influential: Lynn Duttlinger, Senior Director, CLH, CPAs and Consultants
  • Up and Coming: Lisa Harrington, CEO, Mermaid Straw


  • Influential: Robin Witte, Lead Architect, Facet Architecture
  • Up and Coming: Linda Monge Guerrero, Manager Operations Planning, NiSource

Economic Development/Government

  • Influential: Jane Jordan, Clerk-Treasurer, Town of Burns Harbor
  • Up and Coming: Wendy Mis, Clerk Treasurer, Town of Munster


  • Influential: Shaunna Finley, Senior Advisor of District and Community Engagement, Communities In Schools
  • Up and Coming: Lydia McNeiley, College and Career Coordinator, School City of Hammond


  • Influential: Karin DeVries, AVP Commercial Loan Officer, Horizon Bank
  • Up and Coming: Angelica Arambula, Senior Financial Analyst, University of Chicago


  • Influential: Kristen Jeppeson, Director Surgical Services and Community Surgery Center, Community Hospital
  • Up and Coming: Jervai Dumas, Healthcare Consultant/Adjunct, Casa/IUN


  • Influential: Carly Brandenburg, Partner, Eichhorn & Eichhorn
  • Up and Coming: Rebecca Goddard, Chief Deputy Prosecutor, Newton County Prosecutor’s Office; Associate Attorney, Ryan Law Offices


  • Influential: Lauri Keagle, Communications & Media Relations Specialist, Franciscan Alliance
  • Up and Coming: Melissa Bohacek, Development & Marketing Officer, Paladin


Service & Tourism

  • Influential: Deborah Bachmann, Administrator of Honors Student Leadership and Programming, Purdue University Northwest
  • Up and Coming: Natalie Paton, Commercial Account Manager, Luke Family of Brands


  • Influential: Erin Bemis, Laboratory Superintendent, bp
  • Up and Coming: Gianna Gomez-Mayo, Manager Asset & Risk Management, NiSource