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Women of Distinction Awards Gala Friday

April 4, 2017
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Eighteen finalists have been named for a new award aimed at recognizing women throughout Lee County for giving back to the community through their time, talent and efforts.

Earlier this year, the Republican Women of Cape Coral Federated's Ladies Leading Right began accepting nominations for its first-ever Women of Distinction awards. The annual program aims to honor and celebrate local women of distinction, according to Pati Smith, chair of the committee.

"What we are trying to do is recognize women throughout Lee County," she said.

Some of the finalists' names are recognizable, while others are not.

"We wanted to have a cross-section of absolutely amazing women," Smith added.

Any Lee County resident who exhibited leadership, teamwork, integrity, compassion and dedication to her community in her field of expertise was eligible for nomination. Individuals could self-nominate.

Fact Box

Women of Distinction finalists

* Lisa Barnes

* Dina Comer

* Joyce Easton

* Rana Erbrick

* Elizabeth Feliciano

* Mary Hess

* Sally A. Jackson

* Rosalie "Roz" Lesser

* Melissa Meehan

* Xiomara Mora

* Dr. Carol Nabatoff

* Hathor "Tori" Renza

* Robin Dawn Ryan

* Marjean Sage

* Gloria Raso-Tate

* Shannon Treece

* Connie Ramos-Williams

* Dr. Krista Zivkovic

If you go

What: Women of Distinction Awards Gala

When: Friday, April 7, at 6 p.m.

Where: Lake Kennedy Center, 400 Santa Barbara Blvd.

Details: Tickets are $50 per person

According to Smith, the committee received a total of 54 nominations.

"Which, frankly, amazed us since this is the first year for this event," she said.

"Nominations came in from all over Lee County," Smith added.

The nominees had to fall into one of nine categories: Charitable/Community Steward; Volunteer; Creative Artist, Media Person or Entertainer; High School/College Student; First Responder; Business Woman; Educator; Health Care Professional; and Political/Elected Leader.

A selection committee whittled the nominees down to the final 18.

"We redacted all of the names," she said of the nominations.

A weighted rating system was also used.

"Our youngest finalist is 17 years old and a senior at Oasis High School," Smith said. "We have several women who are in their 70s, who just continue to give and give to Lee County."

"We have people from all walks of life," she added.

There are educators and business professionals, those involved in charity events and ministries.

"We have people who give of themselves through artistic ways," Smith said.

"This is across the board," she added.

On Friday, the inaugural Women of Distinction Awards Gala will take place at 6 p.m. at the Lake Kennedy Center. There will be a keynote speaker, entertainment and the reveal of the winners.

"The selection committee has made their decision for the six women who will be named our Women of Distinction for this year," Smith said, noting that one of the six will be named the overall honoree.

Trophies will be awarded to all of the winners.

The keynote speaker for the gala will be Christin Collins, the system health and wellness strategic business partner with Lee Health. Collins will talk about inspiring women, according to Smith.

"This is going to be a wonderful fun evening," she said. "We want everybody who comes there to be truly inspired."

"Lee County is blessed with a lot of women of distinction," Smith added.

Tickets to the gala are $50 each and can be purchased online.

"We have a few left," she said on Tuesday. "We do expect that we will be selling out."

The deadline to buy tickets is Thursday at noon.

To purchase tickets, visit: Tickets are also available by calling Pati Smith at 307-870-7250.



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