Women In Leadership
Awards Luncheon
June 8, 2017

CONGRATULATIONS to the WIL 2016/2017 Annual Award recipients!

 (Pictured left to right) 
Woman of the Year – Sara Horn 
Career Leader of the Year – Jessica Ford 
Outstanding New Leader of the Year – Lindsey Kerr

Community Leader of the Year – Kim Martin 
Scholarship winner – Nicole Heinz  


Each year, Women In Leadership of Central Illinois recognizes members at the Awards Luncheon. WIL members are invited to nominate themselves or other members. The WIL Awards Committee receives nominations and  award submissions. After award submissions are received, they are given to a panel of judges of women outside of WIL membership. Awards are then presented at the Annual Leadership Conference.


The Woman of the Year award recognizes Sara Horn for her outstanding professionalism, her community service, and her leadership and participation as a WIL member.

From the age of 10, Sara knew she wanted to work in communications specifically as a journalist.  But after realizing journalism wasn’t the right career path, she discovered her love for radio/video communication.  Quickly taking classes in studio production, field productions advanced video editing, etc.  She landed her first job as an engineering intern with WTVP during her senior year at college. Upon graduation she was hired at WMBD as an Operating Engineer where she continued to learn a variety of positions that further shaped her career. Before she was 25 years old, she was the Master Control Supervisor of WYZZ, the local FOX affiliate! Which meant she was in charge of the on-air operations of a television station.  Sara continued to learn and grow and within 10 years of graduating from college she was the station manager for WAOE.  While Sara may spend many nights and weekends working, she has quite the impressive track record of building upon skill sets that have promoted her through the channels (literally) of television management.

As a leader, Sara relies heavily on respect, communicating clearly, and being able to admit mistakes.  She acknowledges that it takes a team to make all operations happen.  She is quick to let them do the jobs they were hired for, to be there for them when needed, and to provide a simple "Thank You".  If her team doesn’t do their job, then she will not be able to do hers.  Sara believes in owning up to her own mistakes. She has made a few (and I am sure we all have) and is quick to recognize, apologize and fix what happened. She quotes Dr. Phil "You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge."

Sara volunteers her time with the American Cancer Society and Aon Step Up for Kids.  At the age of 22, Sara was diagnosed with cancer. After successful treatment and the loss of a family friend, she and her brother-in-law started a team for American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Fundraising efforts brought in nearly $10,000 each year and over 10 years, accumulated almost $100,000!! 

Additionally, in 2012, her nephew was born with a form of Cystic Fibrosis and she started yet another team to participate in the Aon Step up for Kids event – climbing 1,643 steps / 80 floors of the Aon Building downtown Chicago!  Together, over the last 5 years, they have raised nearly $10,000 and they are just getting started! 

Through Sara’s time with WIL, she never imagined when she was walking into her first luncheon, that she would someday lead the organization as President.  She served as the VP of Awards implementing a "spread the wealth" campaign where the Toot Your Horn funds raised were donated to a local non-profit organization. Throughout her time as a WIL member, the experiences, contacts and friends she made helped her know she wasn’t alone. Working in management can be stressful and lonely.  However, being here with all these amazing women who are full of confidence and success has been so empowering. 

The Community Leader Award recognizes 
Kim Martin for her outstanding community service and leadership.

Kim has been a volunteer for over 18 years and raised over $19,000.00 for a variety of organizations! Her volunteer time is spent: 
as a St Jude Runner, volunteering time at the St Jude Annual Walk and leading the Zumba warm ups for the attendees.  She also leads Zumba warm ups and participates heavily with the Susan G. Koman organization.  Another group that is near and very dear to Kim’s heart is PUP (People with Unlimited Potential).  PUP is a non-profit designed to provide opportunities for special needs individuals through social activities, post high school education and a website to provide information on available services to families and community members.  PUP is unique in that the parents and friends have a significant role in making things happen and is run by volunteers. Kim donates a percent of her proceeds from her I’ve Decided business to this organization. 
Her goal is that one day, her PUP donations will help support the building of a school for their attendees. Kim believes in giving back to organizations and to support sisterhood and each other.  

The Career Leader Award. This award recognizes Jessica Ford for her outstanding leadership in  her business or profession, her professional organizations, and her WIL participation.

Education is something that cannot be taken away from you.  Jessica worked several jobs to put herself through Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa with a degree in Finance, and quickly earned her Series 7 and 66. Shortly after, she received the Wells Fargo Advisor Service Distinction Award and was then recognized the next year with the Service Distinction Award and team member of the month.  Jessica believes that continuous education helps one to look at things differently and allows her to provide her clients with the best knowledge and experience.  She is currently studying for yet another certification.
Integrity, dedication, stewardship and magnanimity are four traits essential to the continued success in the world of finance.  She loves working with her clients and helping build their trust and rapport to make what can sometimes be ‘difficult’ decisions but overall helps those families for generations to come.  
Jessica has also served as a guardian on the Honor Flight escorting two transgender Veterans (one a Purple Heart recipient).  Together they all had a fantastic day and she was honored to make sure these two Heroines got the day of honor they deserved.  She has maintained a close relationship with this couple and enjoys getting together with them each month.
And as we look back at Jessica’s time with our WIL organization, we see the significant changes she has helped implement.  She was instrumental in transforming the membership application/renewal process to completely electronic. No more paper!!  She worked diligently to help with the transformation of the WIL website (which if you haven’t see – you need to log on and check it out).  And finally, she helped bring back together the annual joint conference between WIL and NAWBO (to be held this September).
Jessica takes time to mentor her peers and in return looks at WIL as an organization that helps mentor her!  As Jessica says, “They say sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  WIL provides a space to meet great women who are bound to impact your life and your career.”


Chosen by the women in leadership board of directors, the outstanding new leader of the year award is an award honoring the member who has made the note noteworthy contribution to WIL over the last year and has actively demonstrated her commitment and enthusiasm to the organization and our membership.

Endless Potential
True leader

Those are just some of the words used by her peers to describe this year’s Outstanding New Leader.

For nearly a decade this Outstanding New Leader has dedicated her career to working with Non-profits.

She is a familiar face at every monthly luncheon…and has served this organization immensely through committee obligations as well as a board position.

Before moving to the United States from New Zealand, she thrived as the project coordinator for the Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Society of Canterbury while also serving as President of the Rangiora Toy Library which was a complete volunteer obligation.

Now currently serving as Director of Fund Development and Marketing at the Greater Peoria YMCA and our VP of Annual Conference, Lindsey continues to put service before self making us all better to have meet her, and our community better off then then where she found it.

We are overjoyed that she crossed the Pacific and moved over 8,205 miles to our Greater Peoria home and found her place here in Women in Leadership.

It is my distinct pleasure to introduce the 2016-2017 Outstanding New Leader of the Year award winner……Lindsey Kerr.




© 2017 Women In Leadership of Central Illinois, PO Box 1521, Peoria, IL 61655  

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