YWCA Rock County on Monday announced the winners of its 43rd annual Women of Distinction awards.
The recipients will be recognized at a banquet April 5 at the Pontiac Convention Center.
Money raised at the banquet will help the program’s Economic Empowerment Center in the Transitions for Women program.
Stephanie Klett, the secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Tourism, will guest emcee the banquet.
YWCA Rock County gave the award to five women and awarded the Young Woman of Distinction and gave its Corporate Award of Merit.
Award winners are nominated by the public, according to an email from Katrina Carlson, YWCA Rock County communications director.
“The YWCA Rock County has honored more than 180 women and organizations who have improved women’s lives through community service, professional achievement, integrity, and leadership and dedication to the well-being of others,” Carlson said in an email.
YWCA Rock County provided biographical information on the winners.
Kristin Fillhouer, Women of Distinction honoree
Fillhouer, who was born and raised in Janesville, works as the UW-Rock County campus administrator and regional associate dean for student affairs and enrollment management. She has advocated for access to education in her 15 years at the university.
Fillhouer is a two-time winner of the Kaplan Award, which she won for her contributions in financial aid and other services to underserved students. She has also won the University of Wisconsin Colleges Chancellor’s Award.
After earning her degrees from UW-Whitewater, Fillhouer worked with Holocaust survivors at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. She later returned to Janesville to be the executive director at the Voluntary Action Center and workshop facilitator at the Rock County Job Center.
Sue McGinniss, Women of Distinction honoree
McGinniss has lived in Janesville since 1973 when she started working at General Motors.
The Cuba City native went on to work for Woodman’s, where she spent 18 years and helped start its United Way campaign.
McGinniss then moved to volunteer management at HospiceCare Inc./Agrace, where she created the Faith in Action program. She also developed the volunteer department and gift shop for SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Janesville.
McGinniss retired in 2014 but is still involved with various organizations. She holds board positions with Blackhawk Community Credit Union, Decatur Lake Mill Race Association, Bower City Garden Club and the YWCA. She is also involved in numerous other nonprofit organizations.
Judy McRoberts, Women of Distinction honoree
She was raised in Milwaukee and moved to Janesville in 1977, but she has lived in Stoughton for the past 30 years.
Still, McRoberts has felt compelled to help Janesville.
“She has always felt in her heart that Janesville is the place she needs to focus her energy, and even more so after the recession and the subsequent closure of the General Motors plant threw this hardworking city a curve ball,” according to the YWCA.
McRoberts’ organizational involvement includes HealthNet, Project 16:49, Gilda’s Club, UAW Local 95, Salvation Army, Great Lakes Morab Horse Association and the YWCA.
Cecilia Ramirez, Women of Distinction honoree
Ramirez is the coordinator of the Latino Service Providers Coalition and president of the Beloit League of United Latin American Citizens Council.
She is also a member of S.O.S. Latin@, the School District of Beloit’s Equality Committee and Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative, Beloit Crime Stoppers, and Youth2Youth4Change.
The Beloit Police Department gave her the Citizen Award in 2016.
“She continues to learn every day, and enjoys sharing her knowledge with her clients,” the YWCA wrote. “She has a passion for volunteering and giving a voice to those who may not be able to express themselves.”
Kendra Schiffman, Women of Distinction honoree
A professor at Beloit College since 2013, Schiffman has taught classes in political sociology, social policy and education policy, focusing on how social and institutional structures can reinforce inequality.
She has researched domestic violence, sexual violence and sex trafficking in Beloit and Rock County.
She has a Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University and in 2015 and 2016 was a member of the Beloit College President’s Inclusive Living and Learning Task Force. She is also co-chair of the Beloit School Board Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Achievement, a member of the NAACP Education Committee and a member of the School District of Beloit’s Equality Committee.
Anne Runde, Young Woman of Distinction
Runde is a senior at Janesville Craig High School who was born in Janesville. Her extracurricular involvements include National Honor Society, National Science Honor Society, National Spanish Honor Society, Rock County Fury girls hockey and the FFA, of which she is president.
In one of her FFA projects, Runde planted and distributed pink pumpkin seeds before harvesting them in the fall and selling them at the Janesville Farmers Market. She donated the profits to the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation, which raises funds for breast cancer research.
Runde plans to study dairy science at UW-Madison. She hopes to eventually become a large animal veterinarian.
Jax Custom Printing, Corporate Merit Award
Jax Custom Printing often gives in-kind donations and discounts to local charities, schools, civic groups and fundraising groups and helps them market events and causes.
Dennis Vindedahl and Rick Mueller “exemplify the spirit of the award through their own personal service, leadership, and dedication to the community,” according to YWCA.