GLEN ELLYN – Friends, family and community members gathered to honor 12 influential women at Suburban Life Magazine's Women of Distinction Awards event Thursday at College of DuPage's Waterleaf Restaurant.
It is the first year Suburban LIfe has given out the awards, extending a tradition started by Shaw Media and McHenry County Magazine in 2012.
Suburban Life solicited nominations from the community for inspiring women who should be honored. The winners were chosen by an outside selection committee.
"I can, without a doubt, tell you that we are surrounded by some pretty outstanding women," said Suburban Life Media General Manager Laura Burke.
Each recipient was given a chance to speak about their inspirations and thank those who helped them achieve success.
Yvonne Agnello-Adams, Lombard
Distinction: President, YDAA & Associates, Inc.
Quote of note: "Develop yourselves personally and professionally. Because, overall, not only will you become better, but you'll be happier and you'll get more out of your own life because of it."
Luz Canino-Baker, Clarendon Hills
Distinction: Founder and president, LNC Coaching
Quote of note: "To be recognized for something I just do naturally is an honor."
Adrian Mary Charniak, Riverside
Distinction: Volunteer with Trinity Community Church and member of National Committee of Grandparents for Children's Rights
Quote of note: "I accept (this honor) not for myself, but for the thousands of grandparents across this country that are raising grandchildren."
Gina Cunningham-Picek, Woodridge
Distinction: Mayor of Woodridge and 30-year professional in banking sector
Quote of note: "Truly the greatest gift is what we receive when we (volunteer)."
Lisa Drake, Wheaton
Distinction: Executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates of DuPage
Quote of note: "I've been able to accomplish a lot in the community, but I haven't been able to do that by myself."
Leah Gerlach, Carol Stream
Distinction: Rehabilitative counselor at Spectrios Institute of Low Vision and Deicke House, legally blind since birth
Quote of note: "I owe a lot of thanks to some very, very special people. Funny enough, many of those people are people who told me 'I don't think you can do this.' Because, if you really want it done, tell me I can't do it, and I'm going to find a way to do it."
Joelyn Kott, Lombard
Distinction: Communications and marketing coordinator, The DuPage Community Foundation
Quote of note: "I'm not a president. I'm not a mayor. I didn't found anything. I'm just me."
Barbara Matt, Westmont
Distinction: Cofounder of the Apraxia Connection
Quote of note: "That's why we (created the Apraxia Connection). Because it's passionate to us. And with passion we can spread the love."
Phyllis Muccianti, Addison
Distinction: Cofounder and vice president of Packaging Personified and board member at Metropolitan Family Services DuPage
Quote of note: "If you looked in the dictionary next to an ideal board member for Metropolitan Family Services, you'd see Phyllis' picture," said Metropolitan Family Services DuPage Board Chairman Gene Malloy, accepting the award for Muccianti.
Jennifer Rosato Perea, Naperville
Distinction: Dean of Northern Illinois University College of Law
Quote of note: "I have a 16-year-old daughter, and I'm so glad that she has women of all shapes, sizes, careers that she can look up to, she can admire, she can be like."
Theresa Nihill, West Chicago
Distinction: Executive director of Metropolitan Family Services DuPage
Quote of note: "I am where I am, and who I am, in large part by the people in my life and the relationships that I have."
Anna Weselak, Lombard
Distinction: CEO of Weselak and Associates
Quote of note: "I hope you have been inspired by all the things that we have done and I'm sure we will continue to do."