2023 Influential Women Award Winners Announced

2023 Influential Women Award Winners Announced

Women across Northwest Indiana have been transforming our region in remarkable ways. Recently, the 12th annual Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards Banquet honored the region’s outstanding female professionals for their significant contributions across a variety of industries and local organizations.

As one attendee put it, “These women aren’t just making waves; they’re causing a tsunami of positive change.”

Each finalist and winner has journeyed through personal challenges while simultaneously lifting themselves and those around them. These individuals serve as powerful sources of inspiration, adding to the betterment of Northwest Indiana as both a thriving place to live and a dynamic hub for professional growth.

The event is coordinated by the Northwest Indiana Influential Women Association (NWIIWA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that promotes the advancement of women and their careers.

“Witnessing the unbridled joy in our finalists, winners, and the people who support them is a true testament to the exceptional spirit of our NWI women. Our winners have faced daunting challenges, defied the odds, and carved out influential, promising careers. We’re not just proud of them; we’re ecstatic to revel in the stories that showcase NWI women as some of the world’s fiercest forces,” remarked Erica Dombey, NWIIWA board chair.

Two winners were announced from 12 different industry categories – one Up-and-Coming winner and one Influential Woman winner. Other special awards were given to the Overall Influential Woman of the Year, the Overall Up-and-Coming Women of the Year, the Community Leader of the Year, and the Supporter of the Year.

The 2023 overall Influential Woman of the Year is Jessica Kish, a broker and the owner of New Chapter Real Estate. Also, the overall Up-and-Coming Woman of the Year is Teri Wallace, partner and tax manager with Wallace Consulting.

In total, there were 28 awards given to individuals and other leaders or organizations that promote the advancement of women. Winners come from all kinds of different professional backgrounds, including educators, corporate leaders, hospital officials, government officials, nonprofit heads, caregivers, and others.

Winners were chosen from a group of 165 finalists that were selected from a pool of over 320 nominees. Nominations were submitted by peers and other members of the public and were evaluated by Influential Women alumni from various industry sectors.

Companies and individuals that are interested in becoming NWIIWA members are encouraged to check out NWIIWA.org. The association hosts numerous professional development, networking, and learning opportunities throughout the year.


2023 Influential Women Award Winners


Special Awards

  • Influential Woman of the Year: Jessica Kish, Owner, Broker, New Chapter Real Estate
  • Up and Coming Woman of the Year: Teri Wallace, Partner, Tax Manager, Wallace Consulting
  • Community Leader of the Year: Sherri Ziller, President, CEO, NWI Regional Development Authority
  • Supporter of the Year: Deanna Chase, Corporate Paralegal, Horizon Bank


  • Influential: Gloria Rose Tuohy, Founder and CEO, Indiana Ballet Theatre
  • Up and Coming: Brittany Robinson, Owner/Head Coach, Famous Athletics


  • Influential: Lynn Duttlinger, Senior Director, CLH, CPAs and Consultants
  • Up and Coming: Lisa Harrington, CEO, Mermaid Straw


  • Influential: Robin Witte, Lead Architect, Facet Architecture
  • Up and Coming: Linda Monge Guerrero, Manager Operations Planning, NiSource

Economic Development/Government

  • Influential: Jane Jordan, Clerk-Treasurer, Town of Burns Harbor
  • Up and Coming: Wendy Mis, Clerk Treasurer, Town of Munster


  • Influential: Shaunna Finley, Senior Advisor of District and Community Engagement, Communities In Schools
  • Up and Coming: Lydia McNeiley, College and Career Coordinator, School City of Hammond


  • Influential: Karin DeVries, AVP Commercial Loan Officer, Horizon Bank
  • Up and Coming: Angelica Arambula, Senior Financial Analyst, University of Chicago


  • Influential: Kristen Jeppeson, Director Surgical Services and Community Surgery Center, Community Hospital
  • Up and Coming: Jervai Dumas, Healthcare Consultant/Adjunct, Casa/IUN


  • Influential: Carly Brandenburg, Partner, Eichhorn & Eichhorn
  • Up and Coming: Rebecca Goddard, Chief Deputy Prosecutor, Newton County Prosecutor’s Office; Associate Attorney, Ryan Law Offices


  • Influential: Lauri Keagle, Communications & Media Relations Specialist, Franciscan Alliance
  • Up and Coming: Melissa Bohacek, Development & Marketing Officer, Paladin


  • Influential: Vickie Rainwater, Program Specialist, Mental Health America of NWI
  • Up and Coming: Buffy Adams, Donor Relations Manager, NWI, Indiana Youth Group

Service & Tourism

  • Influential: Deborah Bachmann, Administrator of Honors Student Leadership and Programming, Purdue University Northwest
  • Up and Coming: Natalie Paton, Commercial Account Manager, Luke Family of Brands


  • Influential: Erin Bemis, Laboratory Superintendent, bp
  • Up and Coming: Gianna Gomez-Mayo, Manager Asset & Risk Management, NiSource
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