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Once known as “Salute to Women,” YWCA Helena is bringing back a centralized event,
now called “Empowered” to acknowledge women’s leadership, advocacy, and excellence.

An awards event that will pay tribute to the accomplishments

of women in the Greater Helena Area.


Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 12:00 PM

Helena Civic Center

Want to attend the Empowered event and celebrate the accomplishments of women in Helena? Buy a ticket or sponsor a table today!

Award Categories

Maria Dean Woman of the Year Award

The Maria Dean Award of Excellence awards a woman who exemplifies a commitment to the Helena community, provides leadership and mentorship to help advance the welfare of women and children, and lifts the voices of others in her efforts to eliminate racism and empower women.



The Innovator award is given to women who are utilizing their sector and profession to innovate and create change. This nominee has a demonstrated professional commitment to the advancement of women and gender equity.


She Speaks Power

The woman who is awarded the “She Speaks Power” award will embody the mission of YWCA Helena. Their advocacy and analysis will be centered around social and racial justice, their voice will amplify the voices of those seeking and needing justice, and their efforts will seek to create systems change.



The Pathmaker Award pays tribute to a woman who has broken boundaries, shattered glass ceilings, and made paths for other women. She is a mentor to those in her sector and community and in doing so, she has created a path for others to dare greatly in their own path-making legacy.


Woman of the Future

Woman of the Future celebrates the accomplishments of women younger than 30 who are demonstrating dedication by creating, participating, or adapting innovative programs to meet the community’s needs.


All outstanding women and girls in the Greater Helena Area are eligible for nomination. The following are ineligible for recognition at this event: 

  • YWCA Helena staff and current members of YWCA Helena’s Board of Directors.

  • Posthumous nominations will not be considered.

  • Individuals running for political office.

Nomination deadline is

Friday, March 22, 2024 at 5:00 pm. 

Awards Committee

  • Sam Offerdahl
    YWCA Helena Board Member, Public Relations Manager, Windfall Inc.

  • Mary Rutherford
    CEO of Montana Community Foundation and former Woman of the Year awardee

  • Callie Aschim
    CEO of Helena Area Chamber of Commerce

  • Sandy Schull
    Owner of Birds & Beasleys

  • Ann Waickman
    retired Nonprofit Executive, former Woman of the Year awardee

  • Barb Harris

  • Nicole Gomez
    Justice Initiative Director at Montana Women Vote

  • Rick Hays

A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

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Aidan Myhre
Effertz and Kueffler
Friends of Holly Luck
Stacey Otterstrom
Kim Abbott and Tara Veazey
Pat Kemp and Christine Kaufmann

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