Each year, YWCA Mohawk Valley honors amazing women throughout our community. These women have made significant contributions to the Mohawk Valley, and for that, they deserve to be recognized.

Since the beginning of Salute to Outstanding Women in 1989, YWCA has honored 248 incredible women from Oneida and Herkimer counties. The award officially welcomes each year’s new honorees to our Salute Academy, a collective of all the women we have honored through the decades.

Due to the pandemic, the events held last year were postponed, and the outstanding women selected in 2020 will be recognized for their accomplishments in 2021, making them the first ever dual honorees.

Each of these women have made incredible contributions on our shared community and will leave a positive impact for years to come. We are proud to have them join our YWCA MV family!

The luncheon celebration and official Reveal ceremony are typically held in-person but will be hosted in a virtual format this year.

Here's the lucky ladies being honored this year:

  • Education: Meredith Madden, Ph.D. 
  • Entrepreneur: Ari Gaeta
  • Healthcare: Shannon Cayea
  • Human & Public Service: Stephanie Dulak-Eghigian
  • Outstanding Youth: Maria Htoo
  • Professions/Business & Industry: Laura Powers
  • Social Justice: Dawn Carter Laguerre
  • STEAM: Maria Smith

The ceremony will be held on Thursday, April 22, and tickets can be purchased by visiting ywcamv.org/Salute.

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The 32nd annual Salute to Outstanding Women Awards is presented by Baird Private Wealth Management. The virtual Reveal ceremony honorary sponsor is Valentino’s Banquet Hall. Award sponsors for this year’s event are Kristin’s Fund for Education, Staffworks CNY for Entrepreneur, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield for Healthcare, Scalzo, Zogby & Wittig, Inc. for Human and Public Service, Adorino Construction, Inc. for Outstanding Youth, Bank of Utica for Professions/Business & Industry, Fort Schuyler Club for Social Justice, and Indium Corporation for STEAM.

LOOK: Milestones in women's history from the year you were born

Women have left marks on everything from entertainment and music to space exploration, athletics, and technology. Each passing year and new milestone makes it clear both how recent this history-making is in relation to the rest of the country, as well as how far we still need to go. The resulting timeline shows that women are constantly making history worthy of best-selling biographies and classroom textbooks; someone just needs to write about them.

Scroll through to find out when women in the U.S. and around the world won rights, the names of women who shattered the glass ceiling, and which country's women banded together to end a civil war.