March 23, 2018

KANKAKEE – As part of Women's History Month seven leaders who have impacted the city of Kankakee were honored.

It happened Thursday, March 22, 2018, during the inaugural Phenomenal Woman Ceremony. About 100 guests attended the event at the Kankakee Public Library. Nina Epstein who broke the glass ceiling becoming the first female Mayor for the city of Kankakee was honored. Deb Baron accepted the award on her behalf.

Lorenia Lara, an advocate for the Hispanic community; Pastor Grace Gordon-Smith of Kingdom Life Church mentor’s young girls through her "Diamond in the Rough" program; Lt. Nancy Estensen was the first female firefighter in the history of the Kankakee Fire Department; Edith Bender-Petty, a bi-lingual educator and administrator for Kankakee School District 111; Barbi Brewer-Watson, President & CEO of the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce and Cheryl Lewis, an  orthopedic/neuroscience nurse manager at Riverside Medical Center. Lewis encouraged attendees. "No matter the obstacles or challenges that come before you, never give up on your dreams or yourself," said Lewis.

Barbi Brewer-Watson was both humbled and inspired by the event. "Being acknowledged for my leadership skills and dedication to my work keeps me energized and motivated to keep going. I was also very inspired by the other six women recognized. I was very proud to be in their company." 

Mayor Wells-Armstrong shared the late poet Maya Angelou's famous poem, "Phenomenal Woman" during the ceremony.

The Mayor added "Women are strong and resilient, tough and compassionate, smart and beautiful. Those characteristics make great leaders.”

For more information, contact the Mayor's office at 815-933-0500.

Visit Site