Improving the quality of life for women and girls in Waukesha County


Thank you to all who attended the 2017 Women of Distinction Luncheon! Nearly $105,000 was raised to support the Women and Girls Fund of Waukesha County. We look forward to seeing you again in 2018.

The Women of Distinction Awards Luncheon began in 1984 through the YWCA. The annual event honors the extraordinary accomplishments and leadership of women in Waukesha County. The Women and Girls Fund of Waukesha County is proud to recognize the talents, skills and accomplishments of our honorees, whose efforts have improved the quality of life in our community.

Through 125 individual grants, the Women and Girls Fund has donated nearly $835,000 to more than 50 non-profit organizations that support women and girls. The proceeds from the Women of Distinction Awards and from our endowment fund investments will help us continue our efforts in Waukesha County.


The Women of Distinction Award recognizes a woman living or working in Waukesha County who has demonstrated sustained excellence, accomplishments, and creativity through community and/or work-related involvement.

The Young Woman of Tomorrow Award recognizes a young woman currently in high school, college or advanced training in Waukesha County, under the age of 25, who has demonstrated sustained excellence, accomplishment, and creativity through academic and extracurricular involvement.

If you would like to nominate an individual for one of these awards, you may do so online here.

Submit a Nomination

All nominations for the 2017 Women of Distinction and Young Woman of Tomorrow have been received.  Check back for 2018 nomination information in the fall.


Honorees were selected by a panel of Waukesha County community leaders. Selection was based on professional leadership, civic and philanthropic achievement in family, education, public service, community life, and arts and culture.


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Pamila Brown

Retired Community Investment Manager, Manpower Group

During a career at ManpowerGroup that spanned nearly three decades, Pamila Brown developed a passion for helping people – both within her industry and in her community. As ManpowerGroup’s Community Investment Program Manager, Brown became a skilled mentor who won praise for her professional dedication and commitment. She used her considerable talents to help others develop their own skills and gain meaningful employment. For 10 years, she helped organize ManpowerGroup’s annual Ready, Set, Work! Women’s Job Seminar in Milwaukee, a full-day workshop to help women overcome barriers to employment. The project was so successful that the United Way in Waukesha County, with Brown’s help, replicated it.

Brown’s passion also inspired her to community service. A recognized leader in corporate volunteerism, she ran employee giving campaigns for United Way and the United Performing Arts Fund, and organized her colleagues to spend countless hours volunteering for a wide variety of community groups, including Junior Achievement, the Next Door Foundation, Hunger Task Force, and the United Community Center.

Brown had a special desire to help vulnerable populations. She worked tirelessly with Easter Seals to help people with disabilities develop job skills, and partnered with Pearls for Teen Girls to organize a workshop to educate girls on career planning and education paths.

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Christine Fenske-Eben

Partner, Baker TIlly Virchow Krause LLP

Christine Fenske-Eben is a partner at Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, serving as the firm’s asset management practice leader, as well as the New York market leader. In addition to her role in providing outstanding client service, Christine is a member of Baker Tilly’s Board of Partners, and she is a founding member of the firm’s women’s initiative GROW (Growth and Retention of Women). This highly successful program provides opportunities for Baker Tilly’s female professionals to network, share information, acquire skills, and develop rewarding professional relationships to help them advance toward leadership roles.

While Christine has spent significant time building a stellar professional career, she believes in the value of giving back to the communities in which she lives and works. She has been consistently dedicated to utilizing her professional expertise to help numerous individuals and community groups reach important goals. Beginning as a donor in 2003 to ProHealth Care Foundation, she decided that wasn’t enough and eventually became a board member. She now serves as chair of the foundation’s board of directors and co-chaired multimillion-dollar fundraising campaigns for the UW Cancer Center, Community Dental Clinic, Sixteenth Street Clinic and CyberKnife®. In addition, she has served in leadership roles heading substantial fundraising efforts for the Milwaukee Art Museum, the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, the American Heart Association, the YMCA of Greater Waukesha County and Milwaukee Women Inc. Christine was named a Woman of Influence in 2012 by the Milwaukee Business Journal. She is a widely respected and knowledgeable business professional who embodies the positive attributes of leadership and integrity making her an outstanding role model.

Cathy Kozlowicz

Founding Executive Director, Literacy For All, Inc.

Cathy Kozlowicz spent more than 12 years working at the Literacy Council of Greater Waukesha (LCGW), developing and expanding  the basic literacy and the English as a Second Language program. But she had an idea for taking basic literacy a step further, focusing on those who have general skills, but are not performing at a competitive level. That idea became Literacy for All (LFA), a nonprofit she founded in 2014.

She now has many partners, but in the beginning, she was it –  fundraising, communicating to potential students , and writing the curriculum. LFA helps people gain higher paying jobs, change careers, improve academic skills, and understand wealth management. One goal is to teach women, many of them in low-paying jobs and saddled with debt, how money works. What these women learn has helped them pay off debt, save for emergencies and retirement, and improve their quality of life.

Literacy is central to Cathy’s life. She is a national ProLiteracy trainer and coordinated book discussions for Waukesha Reads. She worked with instructors at Waukesha County Technical College to help students earn their high school diploma, and improve math, reading and writing skills through the Literacy Council of Greater Waukesha. Since 2003, she created a countywide Dr. Seuss event, and organized a community book drive to provide more than 300 Dr. Seuss books to needy children.  She coordinated this event eleven years, and it has become a community event.


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Annie Bartosz

Arrowhead High School Freshman

Stung by cancer twice in her young life, Annie Bartosz decided to turn her personal sorrow into a mission. Now a freshman at Arrowhead High School, Annie, at only 10, lost her twin brother Jack to neuroblastoma, a deadly form of pediatric cancer. Dreaming that no other family suffers the same devastation, she decided to take on the fight against childhood cancer. Understanding the impact of pink and October for breast cancer, Annie asked about the color and month representing childhood cancer. “Gold,” her mother Sarah replied. “And September.” And so, Gold In September (G9) was born.

Since 2014, G9 has raised more than $2 million for pediatric cancer research at G9 Centers of Excellence hospitals, including Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and to help turn the world gold for every child everywhere.

In 2016, Annie’s father John unexpectedly died from the long-term side effects of  the cancer treatments he received as a young man. Though the cancers that struck her brother and father were completely unrelated, Annie well understands the devastating ramifications of cancer and remains focused on her goals to change the outcome. A Kohl’s regional scholarship winner, she hopes to be a doctor. She is an Arrowhead High School peer tutor, high school leadership representative, and member of the lacrosse and field hockey teams. She also leads the Milwaukee Field Hockey Club as a team captain. In 2015, she was chosen as one of Massachusetts General Hospital’s The 100, an initiative that honors those around the world whose commitment to the fight against cancer inspires others to take action.

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Emina Halilovic

Carroll University Senior

A childhood in war-torn Bosnia inspired Emina Halilovic to devote her life to improving the lives of others. A Bosnian refugee who emigrated to the United States with her family at the age of eight, Emina, a Waukesha resident, is a student at Carroll University.

Lauded for her passion, perseverance and positive attitude, Emina’s life story has inspired Carroll students and staff. In 2015, she started a fundraising walk, Walking in Their Shoes. With participation by students, Carroll employees and community members, the walk raised $2,300 in 2016. The funds will help provide meals and transportation to school for eight children in Bosnia.

Education is a priority for Emina. Carroll staff and faculty note that she is an excellent student, and is interested in the education of others, too. This summer, she will return to Bosnia to implement a tutoring program she created, and she has mentored first-generation college aspirants through two Carroll programs.

Emina’s dream is to be a pediatrician. She has volunteered more than 3,000  hours at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and has accepted a research job at the Medical College of Wisconsin. After her 2018 graduation from Carroll, she will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine.


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Linda Kowalewski


Linda Kowalewski earned her bachelor’s degree in art education at Mt. Mary College and her master’s degree at National Louis University. She taught in the Waukesha School District from 1981-1987. After starting her family, she taught drawing part time at Milwaukee Area Technical College, ceramics at Waukesha South High School and art at the Alternative High School Program in Waukesha. During this time, she also facilitated and worked on painting murals with artist Renaldo Hernandez at all three Waukesha high schools and exhibited her ceramic textural creatures in galleries in the Milwaukee area.

In 1997, Linda accepted a full-time position in art education in Oconomowoc. In 2013, she took a class in ceramics at Carroll University as an independent student, and decided this is where her heart belongs. In the summer of 2014, she started her head series.

In 2016, she had her first solo exhibit at Gallery 2622 in Wauwatosa, participated in a four-person exhibit at the Joyce Paddock Bliss Gallery at Carroll University and participated in a ceramic show at the Portrait Society Gallery in Milwaukee. Earlier this year, she was in the Statement Art Show in Muskego, where she was the recipient of one of two awarded grants.

She is still teaching art in Oconomowoc, is an antique dealer in Milwaukee and Oconomowoc, and expresses herself in clay at Carroll University’s clay studio.


Dr. Patricia DeKlotz

Superintendent, Kettle Moraine School District

Dee Mellor

Retired GE Healthcare Executive

Karen Tredwell

Executive Director, Food Pantry of Waukesha County


Elizabeth Jorgensen

Oconomowoc High School Senior


Vanessa Devaki Andrew


Laura Cherone

Director of Program & Clinical Services for Family of Waukesha

The Honorable Kathryn Foster

Circuit Court Judge, Waukesha County Branch 12

Kay Ruekert Lettenberger

Community Volunteer


Rebecca Dalum

Senior, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School


Andrea Skyberg


Lillian Boese

Special Assistant to the Dean and CEO of UW-Waukesha

Christy Brown

Chief Executive Officer, Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast

Deanna Tillisch

President and CEO, United Performing Arts Fund


Genevieve Rohrer

Senior, Oconomowoc High School


Virgilyn “Virgi” Schaetzel Driscoll


Sara Carpenter

Division Administrator, Court Services & Community Alternatives, Wisconsin Community Services, Inc.

Kathy Gale

Executive Director of Waukesha Interfaith Senior Programs

Renee Ramirez

Executive Director of the Waukesha County Community Dental Clinic


Kelly Riordan

High school senior at Kettle Moraine School for Arts & Performance

Please click here to view a full list of our Women of Distinction Honorees: A 32-Year Tradition.

Become a Women and Girls Fund Grantee today.

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