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Thursday, March 25, 2021

2021 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky Honorees Announced

Rachel DesRochers, CEO of Grateful Grahams/Incubator Kitchen Collective. 

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The Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Women’s Initiative has announce the 2021 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky honorees. Sponsored by St. Elizabeth Healthcare, the awards honor women who exemplify notable achievement, outstanding service in their professions or to the Northern Kentucky community, and the qualities of personal integrity, perseverance and leadership.

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“As always, selecting the nominees from the many nominations received was extremely difficult for the judges because there are so many notable women who are making a positive impact on our community,” said Mary Lynn Brunemann, Assistant Vice President, St. Elizabeth Foundation, Chair of the Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky awards. “We hope that recognizing these outstanding women helps to show our appreciation for the positive influence they make every day in our region.”

The 2021 Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky honorees include:

Emerging Leader Honoree: 
Rachel DesRochers, CEO of Grateful Grahams/Incubator Kitchen Collective

Outstanding Women of NKY Honorees
Nancy Grayson, President of Horizon Community Funds of NKY
Danielle Amrine, CEO of Welcome House Northern Kentucky

Helen Carroll Champion of Education Honoree:
Irene Encarnación, Senior Lecturer of Spanish at Northern Kentucky University

Henrietta Cleveland Inspiring Women Honoree:
Presented by St. Elizabeth Healthcare
Lee Ann Ernst, Coordinator of the Infectious Disease Response Team at St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Judith Clabes Lifetime Achievement Honoree:
Susan McDonald, Vice President, Chief Nursing Quality Officer at St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Nancy Janes Boothe Scholarship Recipients:
Jean Schirtzinger, Gateway Community & Technical College
Shawntae Taylor, Northern Kentucky University
Anissa Bradley, Thomas More University

“Given the unique challenges we all faced in 2020, it’s important to celebrate the power, strength, and leadership of the inspiring women who stepped up despite the year we’ve had,” said Brunemann. “Their consistent contributions to the region are commendable and I look forward to celebrating each of them in June.”

The awards will be presented virtually on Tuesday, June 8. More information about the Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky awards, past honorees, and more, can be found online at

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The Outstanding Women of Northern Kentucky Awards were established in the fall of 1984, by the late Nancy Boothe, wife of then-NKU President Leon E. Boothe. Since 1985 nearly 200 women have been recognized for blazing trails, opening doors, or demonstrating leadership in their homes, their professions, their communities, or their state. The honorees are selected by a confidential diverse group of women leaders in the NKY community.

Sponsors include:

Title Sponsor: St. Elizabeth Healthcare
Presenting Sponsor: PNC
Silver Sponsor: Humana

Media Partner: Northern Kentucky Tribune
Education Partners: Toyota, Gateway Community & Technical College, Northern Kentucky University and Thomas More University.

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