The Zonta Club of Beloit Area is inviting the public to celebrate the accomplishments of nine outstanding women to be honored at the 37th Annual Tribute to Women Awards Dinner.
The awards dinner is set for April 29 at the Country Club of Beloit. The event raises funds for scholarships. Cost is $50. To make a reservation, call 608-365-9573. Reservation deadline is April 20.
As program director of the Beloit Domestic Violence Survivor Center, Corita “Cori” Forster sets protocols which help clients transform their attitude from victim to empowerment. She shares her time and expertise with other area organizations by doing presentations, working with the Homeless Intervention Task Force, the Rock County Brighter Future Initiative, and more. She is a member of Zonta Club and has held several offices including that of president, attended almost every district conference and served as delegate to the Zonta International Convention in New York. She now serves as chair of the Program Committee.
Forster also used grant funds to implement a project aimed at preventing teen girls from becoming victims of domestic violence.
Therese Mueller McLain
A communications manager for Regal, Therese Mueller McLain insures that the Regal brand is communicated correctly on everything from websites and videos to catalogs and truck signage. Mueller McLain also serves as vice chair of the Merrill Community Center Board of Directors, and conducts Real Colors and other training for team building and organizational development. She also volunteers with many other community groups including the Beloit International Film Festival and the National Alliance of Mental Illness serving as a family to family facilitator and regional board advisor. She and her husband lead 12 classroom sessions for NAMI, three hours each night, donating three-ring binder notebooks and refreshments for participants. She is a member of Central Christian Church and takes pride in being a mother, wife and daughter.
As vice president of operations for Blackhawk Bank, Linda Palmer oversees 21 employees in five departments. She is an accredited banking professional with comprehensive knowledge and certification.
Palmer also leads the bank’s Tech Steering Committee in selection, testing and launch of innovative new technology for the bank. She is a mentor and leader to those with whom she works. She has served several years on the Stateline Family YMCA Board of Directors, and the past few as chair for the Membership and Marketing Committee. She volunteers for the Beloit International Film Festival, delivers Meals on Wheels and has rung bells for the Salvation Army.
Through her job at Visit Beloit and Beloit Travel Wisconsin, Linda Ross has been an ambassador for the state and community. She headed up Beloit’s efforts to support the Wisconsin Department of Tourism “Big Bundle Up” Campaign which collected 508 gently used pieces of warm clothing for the Beloit Domestic Violence Survivor Center, Hands of Faith and Salvation Army. Ross developed her leadership skills in the Leadership Development Academy of Rock County and then used those skills to spearhead installation of a new kitchen and furniture at the Domestic Violence Center. At Rock County Christian School, she has been vice president of the school board and chaired the Spiritual Maturity Team for four years. She also leads the school fundraising project to make and sell more than 2,000 pies. She and her family have helped serve Thanksgiving dinners for the Salvation Army and to ring bells at Christmas.
There is a saying that no one can succeed without the help of others, and that is how Joe Simmons felt about his wife, Dorothea Simmons. In 1951, Joe laid the foundation for Anatowind Music Clinic, which teaches proper use of muscles in playing musical instruments. His wife was critical to the process as secretary, as well as in the complicated task of applying for a patent for this new teaching technique. “Can you imagine the plight I would have been in trying to record data and writings without her?” he wrote before his death in 2008.
She worked as choir director in churches and schools where Joe was teaching his music, and she would pick up or deliver instruments, as needed. She did all this while still being a mom to four. Sometimes she took dictation from her husband while a toddler stood at her side nursing on a bottle. Dorothea, 94, remains involved in the business yet today.
Jackie Spafford may be best known in the community as a waitress and cook. She began her work career at Freeman Shoes while still in high school and tried other small ventures before waiting tables at the Dutch Kitchen and A&W, former Beloit establishments. She has worked for the Mouse for 28 years, famous for her chicken and dumplings. In 2006, she purchased Dawn’s Diner on State Street, where she had been a waitress for eight years. She called the restaurant Hometown Diner, serving home-cooked, traditional foods until 2009. Her life experience and managerial skills helped her land a job in 2010 as manager of Burton Ridge Apartments Complex. She is on call 24-7, is a skilled mediator, counselor and friend, ruling with a gentle but iron hand, requiring all tenants to respect their neighbors and property. She has earned many citations for her management skills and other accomplishments over the years.
Mary Stuedemann is a reading specialist in the School District of Beloit, having worked K-12 throughout her career. At Hackett School, Stuedemann was instrumental in changing reading instruction, helping students gain better reading skills. At Beloit Memorial, she and a team of reading specialists created a literacy intervention program geared toward helping high school students read better which became a model for the state and beyond. In addition, it is not uncommon for the Stuedemann family to house a student, feed students at their dinner table or tutor students who are struggling.
After her 2004 retirement from Ecolab Inc., Nancy Vance became a volunteer for the Beloit Domestic Violence Center. Soon after, she was hired as a client support specialist and eventually became shelter manager, retiring in 2013. As a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, she served on the board and then joined the DAR Rasey House board and facilitates tours. She has been cataloging historic items that furnish the museum house and has taken photos and archived them for the museum. For the past two years she has been coordinating volunteer interns from Beloit College to continue the cataloging.
Vance also served on the volunteer board of Visit Beloit for two years. She regularly attends BIFF presentations and local theater presentations and has participated as an artist in Plein Air events.
Carol Wickersham is a faculty member in the Beloit College sociology department and also an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church. On campus she is the coordinator of the Duffy Partnership, as well as director of Community-Based Learning through which students have contributed 59,180 service hours to the community. She is a founding member of No2Torture and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. She spearheaded an interfaith effort to end the U.S. use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and other violations of the Bill of Rights in the fight against terror. She also enjoys family, painting and gardening.