GSSI is excited to announce our 2023 Women of Distinction Awards recipients! The awards recognize two women and one company who work to advance women and girls in our community through leadership and civic engagement. The awards ceremony will be held on Friday, April 14, at 11:30 AM CST at Venue 812 in Evansville. The event will feature keynote speaker Linda White, Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer, Deaconess Henderson Hospital.
The Woman of Distinction Award honors a woman who brings tremendous value to our community and recognizes her lifetime achievements as a business, community, and civic leader dedicated to supporting opportunities for women and girls. The 2023 Woman of Distinction is Tara England Barney, CEO of the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership (E-REP). In her role, Barney works with 28 staff members to serve over 1,200 chamber members. She joined the Southwest Indiana Chamber in March 2018 as its President & CEO. On April 1, 2021, the Southwest Indiana Chamber merged with the Growth Alliance of Greater Evansville and the Economic Development Coalition to form the Evansville Regional Economic Partnership.
A former Girl Scout, Tara is a long-time mentor and enabler of women in business and community engagement. In October 2021, Tara was awarded the prestigious Woman of Empowerment Award from the Junior League of Evansville. In July 2022, she was recognized as one of Indiana's top 250 most influential business leaders.
The Rising Star Award honors a young, emerging female leader who is just getting started on her leadership achievements. She reflects Girl Scouts' mission of leading with courage, confidence, and character and is already an inspiration to girls in the community. The 2023 Rising Star is Kim Wren, Financial Advisor at Baird Private Wealth Management with the Berger Wealth Services team. She is also the first African American woman to hold the title of Financial Advisor at Baird. She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ candidate, recently completing her coursework and exams through Howard University. Before her work in finance, she was a middle school orchestra teacher at Thompkins Middle School from 2014-2019 and served as the Orchestra Director for the EVSC/PEF Summer Musical program for four of their annual productions.
Kim is passionate about making Evansville an attractive city to work and live in for young professionals and people from diverse backgrounds. As such, her community involvement includes regularly volunteering with the Haynie’s Corner neighborhood events committee and serving on the Board of Directors for the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, the Evansville Parks Foundation, and the YWCA. She is also a member of A Network of Evansville Women (ANEW) and the Association of African American Advisors (AAAA).
The Advancing Women Company Award is a company or organization that has demonstrated a proven commitment to promoting the advancement of women in the workplace. The 2023 Advancing Women Company Award winner is Toyota Indiana. Since breaking ground in southern Indiana in 1996, Toyota Indiana has been committed to giving back to the community. This commitment includes many deep partnerships with women’s organizations and initiatives, especially programs that promote interest and careers in STEM to girls. Recent community partnerships include the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana’s Diamonds Program and STEM Camp for Girls, Girl Scouts of Southwest Indiana’s Unleashed Strong community event, and The Women’s Hospital Mobile Maternity Training Program.
President Leah Curry considers it a responsibility to help women succeed in the manufacturing industry and see themselves as leaders, which she takes very seriously. Through advocacy, support, inspiration, and primarily by example, Curry has blazed a path for the next generation of female leaders in manufacturing at Toyota Indiana and beyond. “Creating opportunities for advancement and promoting developmental programs for women in manufacturing has always been important to me. I believe that not only is there a place for women in manufacturing; we are essential to the industry’s growth and success,” said Curry.
"As positive role models for the girls and women in our community, these honorees embody the true essence of Girl Scouts. They dedicate time and effort to making our community a better place. Women of Distinction Awardees are chosen for their leadership, community contributions, and professional achievements. Honoring their accomplishments will help inspire girls to achieve their own goals and dreams,” said GSSI Chief Executive Officer Aimee Stachura.
Proceeds from the event support GSSI's Girl Scout Leadership Program, ensuring that girls in our community develop essential life skills and gain the confidence they will rely on throughout their lives. For over 100 years, Girl Scouts has empowered girls to chase their dreams, explore the world, and take action to improve their communities. Join us as we champion the changemakers of today – and tomorrow.
To become an event sponsor or purchase tickets to the awards ceremony, contact Mary Fee, Director of Fund Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (812) 421-4970.