Over 25 of NWI’s Top Female Industry Leaders Honored

Over 25 of NWI’s Top Female Industry Leaders Honored

More than 750 people and over 300 businesses gathered to celebrate the achievements of more than 25 of NWI’s female leaders at the 2016 Influential Women of Northwest Indiana awards banquet. Attendees included representatives from many corporate entities, as well as elected officials, entrepreneurs, nonprofit organizers, and more.

22 women received accolades in 11 different industry categories; one Influential Women and one Up-And-Coming Woman. Also, six additional awards were distributed for overall winners, empowering business of the year, the Torch Award, and supporter of the year. The 2016 winners were selected from a pool of over 200 nominees.

This year’s Overall Up & Coming Woman of the Year is Kristin Johnson of SecurMAR LLC, and the Overall Influential Woman of the Year is Leane Cerven of Northwest Indiana Bancorp/Peoples Bank.

“The Influential Women alumni have impacted NWI region in many inspiring ways,” said Mary Ann Shacklett, Senior Vice President of Finance & CFO with Community Healthcare System and 2015 Influential Women winner. “Many of us are the first women in our organization that broke through the glass ceiling to reach the top management rung. We were able to achieve that status by working hard, proving ourselves, and making our companies more successful.”

Additionally, throughout its history, Influential Women has donated over $80,000 to charities and non-profits that are dedicated to assisting women and children.


2016 Influential Women Award Winners



Influential – Anita Marie Kozlowski – Screw Conveyor Corporation

Up & Coming – Kathy Neary – Ivy Tech Community College



Influential – Teresa Iaquinta – Matrix North American Construction

Up & Coming – Jessica Vargas – Holladay Properties


Economic Development

Influential – Lori Tubbs – Commercial Advantage, Inc.

Up & Coming – Lorri Feldt – Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center



Influential – Dr. Marsha King – University of Saint Francis

Up & Coming – Dr. Karen Bishop Morris – Purdue University Northwest



Influential – Karen Candiano – Eley-Graham Financial Advisory Services, Inc.

Up & Coming – Lauren Trumbo – St. Catherine Hospital



Influential – Merrilee Frey – Lake County Coroner’s Office

Up & Coming – Maria D’Ambrose – Newton County Board of Commissioners


Health Care

Influential – Lori Postma – Franciscan Alliance, Inc.

Up & Coming – Julie Bombacino – Real Food Blends



Influential – Leane English Cerven – NorthWest Indiana Bancorp/Peoples Bank

Up & Coming – Dana Zivkovich – Zivokvich Law Offices LLC



Influential – Kris Falzone – Purdue University Northwest

Up & Coming – Kristin Johnson – SecurMAR LLC


Non Profit

Influential – Dr. Sharron Hightower-Liggins – Continuum of Care Network of NWI, Inc.

Up & Coming – Mackenna Schon – United Way of Porter County



Influential – Polly Rossi – Meeting Achievements

Up & Coming – Lydia Ramos – Hammond Horseshoe Casino

2016 Community Leader of the Year – Sue Reed, Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce
2016 Overall Up & Coming Woman of the Year – Kristin Johnson, SecurMAR LLC
2016 Overall Influential Woman of the Year – Leane Cerven, Northwest Indiana Bancorp/Peoples Bank
2016 Empowering Business of the Year – Strack & Van Til
2016 Supporter of the Year – Ed Kasza, The Little Guys Home Technology
2016 Torch Award – Ellen DeMartinis, Opportunity Enterprises, Inc.