Three 2020 Women of Distinction winners, from left: Jeanette Laster for community service, Kirstin Kilmer for arts and culture, and Marilee Wallace for the business and professional category. Last year's event was canceled by COVID-19, so Soroptimists visited each winner at her workplace.
Photo courtesy of Barb Bradley
Honored for her extensive work in Kootenai County, Maggie Lyons won a 2020 Distinguished Woman community service award.
Staff Writer | October 29, 2021 1:00 AM
COEUR d’ALENE—Barb Bradley has been finding inspiration with the Soroptimist International organization since 1997.
“Listening to the stories of the winners over the years shows that there are many unsung women in our community performing good works and changing lives,” Bradley said.
November marks the 39th annual Women of Distinction luncheon. Local women are nominated by peers who recognize the achievements and dedication to community service that mark them as distinguished.
Winners are chosen in seven categories: arts and culture, business and professional, community service, education, health, public service and the senior category.
This year’s honorees are Leanne Campbell, for her work in the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s traditional arts, Dana Bellefeuille with The Village Bakery, Rosa Mettler for her service at Children’s Village, Michelle Lippert for her work in education, Ann Ealy, Kootenai Health nursing operations director, Kim Edmondson, a retired Kootenai County Sheriff's Office captain, and Pat Krug, for her enduring dedication as a volunteer, teacher, coach, mentor and business owner.
Michelle Lippert began her education career as a high school teacher in the Seattle area before returning to school for a graduate degree. Following that she graced the Philosophy department at North Idaho College for 26 years. Lippert has also been a dedicated Post Falls School Board member since 1999.
Nominated by 2020 education winner, Superintendent Dena Naccarato, Lippert said, “If anyone deserves to be called a distinguished woman, Dena does.” A first time distinguished woman winner, Lippert said she's very excited to join the long line of honorees.
Realtor Marilee Wallace was recognized in 2020 for her achievements.
“It was an extreme honor to be chosen the Business and Professional Woman of Distinction,” Wallace said. “So many women in our community are so deserving and to be singled out and awarded by a group I hold in high respect was one of the highlights of my career.”
Chartered in 1948, Soroptimist International was one of the first civic groups for women. With the intent to “better the lives of women and girls in the local community” and across the globe, college scholarships are given yearly. The ‘Dream It, Be It’ mentorship program serves girls ages 14 to 17.
Tickets for the Nov. 5 luncheon are available for $40 at sicda.org. The ceremony begins at 11:30 at the Best Western Plus Coeur d'Alene Inn, 506 W. Appleway Ave. A portion of the ticket price supports "Live Your Dream" scholarships and the mentorship program.