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The YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region Women of Achievement Awards is set for February 6 at the Horizons Conference Center. Pictured is last year's awards ceremony.
Photo by Cathy Koebke
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YWCA Honors Nine Women from Across the Great Lakes Bay Region

December 31, 2012       Leave a Comment
By: Cathy Koebke

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A "total surprise" and "great honor."

This was the response of two women who will be honored at the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region's second annual Women of Achievement Awards dinner and ceremony set for Wednesday, February 6 at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw.

The Women of Achievement Awards honor women who have demonstrated volunteer or professional activities and have made outstanding contributions in the categories of business, healthcare, entrepreneurship, education, community leader, young woman leader, and lifetime achievement award.

"The nine women chosen this year exemplify the extraordinary talent we have in the Great Lakes Bay Region. The YWCA is honored to recognize these women as true role models for the advancement of women in the Great Lakes Bay Region," said Lisa Grills, executive director of the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region.

The 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients include:

  • Dorothy McKandes, Community Volunteer

  • Dr. Kim Prime, Prime Educational Counseling and Retired from Bay City Public Schools

  • Dr. Mamie Thorns, Saginaw Valley State University


  • The 2013 Women of Achievement Award recipients and their categories include:

  • Melissa Barnard, Grace A. Dow Memorial Library, Education

  • Cheryl Burzynski, Bay Special Care Hospital, Healthcare

  • Barbara Engelhardt, Farm Bureau Insurance- Engelhardt Agency, Entrepreneurship

  • Alicia Flynn, Swan Valley Middle School, Young Woman Leader

  • Linda McGee, Wildfire Credit Union, Business

  • Jenee Velasquez, The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation, Community Leadership


  • Barb Engelhardt, award recipient under the entrepreneurship category, has been in business for 12 years as a Farm Bureau agent. Her passion and commitment to her business led her to opening up her own Farm Bureau Insurance agency office in 2006, located at 903 Saginaw Street in downtown Bay City. Not only is she passionate about her career, she has been an avid volunteer, always believing in giving back to the community she feels so fortunate to be a part of.

    "I am deeply honored by this special recognition," Engelhardt said.

    Cheryl Burzynski, president of Bay Special Care Hospital, is an award recipient under the healthcare category.

    "I'm extremely honored to receive the award and kind of surprised. It's a huge honor to get recognized with so many deserving people in our community," she said.

    Burzynski began her career as a licensed practical nurse in 1971. Eight years later she became a registered nurse and in 1980 began her career at McLaren Bay Region. Her current position as president of Bay Special Care Hospital is one she feels lucky and blessed to have.

    "Surround yourself with really good people, and that's how you achieve things. I really believe that," she added.

    The awards dinner is open to the public and begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $45 each and include dinner and the awards ceremony. To purchase tickets, contact the YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region at (989) 894-9055 or visit www.ywcaglbr.org.

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    Cathy Koebke

    Cathy is a friend, sister, mother and multimedia account executive at the Midland Daily News

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