YWCA Women of Achievement event to feature 'Voice' competition

Left to right: (top) Amanda Bingheim, Jeri Conboy, Nikki Finney, (bottom) Liza Hayashi, Gretchen McDonald and Rhonda Murry.
Posted: Mar. 30, 2013 3:44 pm Updated: Apr. 13, 2013 9:15 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Six women who have made a positive difference in their community will be honored for their contributions at the 22nd annual YWCA of Quincy Women of Achievement Gala.

Being recognized will be Jeri Conboy, Nikki Finney, Liza Hayashi, Gretchen McDonald, Rhonda Murry and Amanda Bingheim.

The April 6 festivities are scheduled for the Oakley-Lindsay Center. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50 apiece.

In addition to the honoree ceremony, the YWCA will present "A Voice for all Women," based on the popular NBC program "The Voice." Nine local singers and three celebrity judges will be on hand for vocal competition, which is scheduled for start at about 7:15 p.m.

"Last year, we had vocal entertainment and received a lot of positive feedback," YWCA Executive Director Mary Muehlenfeld said. "This year, we wanted to do something like that again and had a lot of suggestions to do something along the lines of ‘American Idol' or ‘The Voice.' We decided to go with (the format of) ‘The Voice'

"It should be a fun night to honor the women who have made a difference and enjoy some of the great singing talent in our community."

Guest singers will be Kathy Brink, Curt Kelty, Amy Looten, Mark Goodwin, Matt Miller, Theresa Taylor, Kris Bentley, Anita Failor and Jenna Hull. The singers will each do a minimum of two numbers and as many as three, depending how far they advance in the "competition."

Celebrity judges will be Jeff Dorsey of radio station Y101-FM and WGEM-TV personalities Rich Cain and Natalie Will.

"We chose the title of ‘A Voice for all Women,' because that is what we do," Muehlenfeld said.

The YWCA sponsors programs and community initiatives that strive to empower women and eliminate racism.

Conboy will be presented the Woman Moving Healthcare Forward award, given to an individual who worked creatively and collaboratively to develop programs and initiatives that impact their patients' communities in immediate and meaningful ways.

Finney will be named the Woman of Educational Excellence. This award is given to a woman who through her position in the local school system has excelled at helping children living in poverty or at-risk youth reach their full academic potential.

Liza Hayashi will be named the Woman of Social Impact. This award is given to a woman who has made a social impact toward youth development, racial justice or advancement of women through their church, employment or community organizations.

Amanda Bingheim will receive the Young Woman of Achievement award. This acknowledgement is given to a young woman who is pursuing or furthering her education at an accredited college or vocational school.

Murry will be the recipient of the Phoenix Award. This honor is given to a woman who has overcome obstacles to rise from poverty to self-sufficiency. Priority is given to women who have overcome multiple co-existing barriers to economic self-sufficiency.

McDonald will be singled out as the Woman of Economic Impact. This honor annually goes to a woman who through her business ownership has provided community service, philanthropy and/or opportunities for women to advance economically.

Questions should be directed to the YWCA at (217) 221-9922.