YWCA Madison

Women of Distinction FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About the Nomination Process

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  1. Can I nominate a deceased person?
  2. Can I nominate my partner/spouse if they are my business partner?
  3. What does it mean to eliminate racism and empower women?
  4. What should I include in the nomination packet?
  5. Can the cover sheet be completed by hand?
  6. Can I include double-sided copies?
  7. Can I use bullet points to answer the nomination questions?
  8. Should I focus on the nominee’s volunteer work or paid work?
  9. What information should support forms contain?
  10. Why will the name of the supporter be removed from the support form?
  11. Should I include the nominee’s resume or articles written by or about the nominee?
  12. Should I include a photo of the honoree?
  13. Should I spend time on the design of the nomination packet to make it more interesting for the committee?
  14. How long should the responses to the nomination questions be?
  15. Will you only choose six categories to honor?
  16. Can more than one person from an organization receive the award in the same year?
  17. Who can I contact if I have questions?

1. Can a deceased person be nominated?
No. This award is intended to recognize living members of our community.

2. Can I nominate my partner/spouse if she is my business partner?
No. The committee does not accept nominations from a partner or spouse, even if you work together as business partners, co-business owners, etc. We suggest you talk with others in your community who know your partner/spouse and ask if they would be willing to nominate your partner/spouse. Chances are, your partner/spouse will have other supporters who would be happy to nominate her for a Woman of Distinction Leadership Award.

3. What does it mean to eliminate racism and empower women?

The YWCA Madison believes in creating an equitable society for all. We have lots of work to do to make this a reality for women and people of color. 

Eliminating racism means taking a look at policies, practices, attitudes and actions and changing them in order to produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all. Racism operates historically, institutionally, and culturally to produce preferential treatment, privilege, and power for white people at the expense of people of color.

Empowering women means enhancing a women's ability to:

  • make strategic choices at all life phases,
  • obtain the career of her choice,
  • improve the economic situation of women individually and collectively, and
  • alter existing power structures that previously denied or underutilized women’s strengths.

The YWCA works towards these goals by:

  • Advancing justice through race and gender equity programs that aim to eliminate racism, keep kids in school, and close the leadership gap,
  • Helping people find and maintain employment by delivering job training and transportation, and
  • Working to end homelessness by providing housing and shelter to ensure that families have a safe space in which to live and grow.

Women of Distinction Leadership Award recipients should support this vision and reflect that commitment in their achievements. Recipients actively advocate for policy changes that are intended to produce equitable outcomes for all. They serve as role models, mentors, and sponsors for other women and girls to help close the leadership gap. 

4. What should I include in the nomination packet?

  1. Please fill out the nomination form.  Each section has a word limit, so please be clear and concise.
  2. Include 2 to 3 support forms (no more than 1 can be from an immediate family member). Each section has a word limit, so please be clear and concise.
  3. Nomination formatting notes:
    1. Handwritten materials and faxes will not be accepted.
    2. Please no binders, laminations or paper clips. Staple only.
    3. Please do not submit additional materials other than those requested. Resumes and articles are not required.
  4. Submit an electronic copy of the nomination form and support forms by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 to nominations@ywcamadison.org or submit ONE paper copy at 101 E. Mifflin Street, Suite 100, Madison, WI 53703.

5. Can the cover sheet be completed by hand?
No. Please complete this Word version of the nomination form.

6. Can I include double-sided copies?
Yes. In an effort to minimize the use of paper, please double-side your materials.

7. Can I use bullet points to answer the nomination questions?
Yes. Using bullet points can help the committee evaluate the nominations more efficiently and can help you make your point in a clear and concise manner.

8. Should I focus on the nominee’s volunteer work or paid work?
Both. While individuals can make significant contributions to the community in their paid position, the selection committee expects to read a significant amount of information about the nominee’s volunteer work.

9. What information should the support form contain?
Support forms should be filled out by people who are familiar with the nominee's contributions to the Madison community.  Support forms should complement, but not repeat, information included in the nomination form's required information section. A maximum of 3 support forms will be accepted for each nominee.

10. Why will the name of the supporter be removed from the support form?
The names of individuals filling out these forms will be removed from the nomination packet to ensure that the content of each nominee’s recommendations is given priority, rather than the name recognition of the person completing the recommendations. We request contact information in case there are any questions.

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11. Should I include the nominee’s resume or articles written by or about the nominee?
No. Due to the quantity of information already submitted, the committee asks that you do not include supplementary materials.

12. Should I include a photo of the honoree?
No. If the honoree is selected, the YWCA will arrange to have publicity photos taken.

13. Should I spend time on the design of the nomination packet to make it more interesting for the committee?
No. There is no need to add color, borders or graphics to your nomination packet.

14. How long should the responses to the nomination questions be?
Answers to questions 1 and 2 are limited to 100 words. As you are answering question 2, remember that this biographical summary will be used as an overview of the nominee by committee members during the selection meeting. Please be specific and give concrete examples here. For example, state "Mary is the owner of XYZ products. She mentors three teenage students enrolled in X School. She serves on the board of X and Y." etc. This response to question 2 will be more helpful to our committee members than "Mary is a wonderful woman who does so much for her community. She always thinks of other people before herself and is a shining example to everyone."

Answers to the remaining questions are limited to 750 words and should be specific and concise.

15. Will you only choose six categories to honor?
No. Nominees will be considered in all categories. However, not all categories will be represented by each year's slate of Women of Distinction honorees, as we only honor six women each year. 

16. Can more than one person from an organization receive the award in the same year?
No. Only one person from an organization can be chosen for the award. Should two people from one organization rank in the top six, the nominee with the lower score will be held over to the next year and considered again for the award.

17. Who can I contact if I have questions about the nomination process?
Contact Jay Young, Marketing Coordinator, at 608.257.1436, option 2.

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