Date: May 21, 2021
Time: Starting at 7:00 PM
Location: Virtually on Facebook Live
Event Co-Chairs: Shiva Bider and Carola Gaines
Committee Members: Angela Arrington, Murphy Dunne, Enid Glenn, Lynn Green, Monica Mims, Verona Morgan, Erika Rosales, Julia Stanley, Grace Welham, Brenda Yang
About Women of Distinction
YWCA Madison is proud to have recognized 238 women since the first Woman of Distinction was bestowed the honor in 1974. Their community services, professional achievement, integrity, leadership, and dedication to the lives of others and to the quality of life for all stand as a reflection of YWCA Madison’s historic mission and values. These awards were established to increase community awareness and appreciation of the diverse contributions of women in the workforce and in the community.
Jannet Arenas Pineda is a first-generation Mexican immigrant who grew up in Madison, WI. She is a bilingual community social worker for Dane County Human Services-Joining Forces for Families. Before working for Joining Forces for Families, she was a school social worker at Midvale Elementary School and remains a member of the MMSD Core Mindfulness Team. Jannet earned her Masters of Social Work with a double major in environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014. As a former undocumented woman, she is passionate about promoting social justice, collective liberation, and wellbeing.
Dr. Roxie Hentz is the Founding Executive Director of CEOs of Tomorrow, Inc., a non-profit organization where youth innovators and problem solvers become young social entrepreneurs who shape and influence their world. Extending her commitment to social entrepreneurship education, she authored It’s My Business: Inspiring Students’ Ideas for a Better Community, a fully developed curriculum resource aligned to academic and entrepreneurship education standards. The book arms educators and youth leaders with engaging social entrepreneurship lesson plans, student activities, and assessments.
For 30 years Dr. Hentz has worked diligently in both the entrepreneurial and education fields. In addition to founding and overseeing two youth nonprofit organizations, she has served as a state education consultant, culturally responsive teacher leader, district-wide teacher mentor, university teacher-in-residence, adjunct professor, and classroom teacher. Among her many awards and recognitions for her work in urban education, and community leadership is the Fulbright Distinguished Teacher Award, Sr. Kliebhan Graduate Student of the Year Award for Service, Achievement, & Leadership, Jammin’ 98.3 Black History Maker Award, V100 Radio’s Positively People, Channel 18’s Inside/Outside Milwaukee, and being named one of Wisconsin’s Most Influential Black Leaders. She has recently been featured in BRAVA Magazine, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison Magazine, Madison365, The Cap Times, Capital City Hue, WisBusiness.com, NBC-15 Weekend Morning Show, and The Morning Show on Botswana Television.
Dr. Hentz earned a bachelor’s degree in education, a master’s degree in business administration, and a doctorate degree in leadership for the advancement of learning and service.
Jacquelyn Hunt works as a Mental Health/Clinical Substance Abuse Specialist and has over 20 years of experience. Jacquelyn has made it her life’s mission to bring awareness and acceptance of the disease of addiction and mental illness that plagues many in our society, especially in predominantly marginalized communities and BIPOC. She has dedicated her life’s work to bridging the gap between those living in those marginalized communities and the much-needed access to health/mental health and addiction services.
Jacquelyn’s own struggles and personal testimony of overcoming addiction, poverty, homelessness, incarceration, and losing her children to the foster care system, and much more, to become the caring compassionate service professional that she has become. It has laid a foundation for her, her approach to assisting others, and helping to build them up to believe that they too can overcome!
She is a fierce advocate for those who are experiencing Substance Use Disorders and works to find the appropriate levels of treatment to combat their addictions. Jacquelyn has created her own unique approach to helping her community by providing services, programs, and events that promote overall wellness especially at critical times when people may be at a greater risk of increased life stressors, triggers related to trauma, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and in some instances suicidal ideation.
Through many partnerships with other communities, social service agencies, and her church Fountain of Life Covenant Church, she has been able to assist individuals and families by providing resources that help families move from HOPELESS to HOPEFUL! Especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic, her work is critical to the communities which she serves and families are able to thrive as a result.
Currently, she is growing her private practice Cultural Recovery Options For Families ( CROFF) Case management, Consulting, and Counseling, where she is the primary Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorder Therapist. Her practice provides culturally relevant interventions and counseling. Jacquelyn is also the CEO/ Founder of the newly established Non-Profit FOSTER (Families Overcoming Struggles To Encourage Restoration) where she has created events that provide additional support at critical times in the lives of the marginalized. The Pre Mother’s Day Brunch honors mothers, especially those with young children who lack the resources to shower them with gifts. The Back 2 Skool Bash is a big Labor Day Cookout that provides a new backpack filled with all the supplies needed at the appropriate grade level, new shoes, new outfits, new hair salon services, and empowerment speakers to prepare marginalized children for the new school year. The Black Education Matters Summit, brings school administrators, teachers, parents, and students together to hear about the school district’s policies, allow parents/students to share concerns and expectations, and meet teachers. And finally, the Dinner w/Soul Santa. Provides a soul food dinner, family arts, and craft activities, songs, dance, and a visit from a rapping 6’6” Santa in shades com-let’s with gifts and goodie bags.
She also works as a Community Engagement Specialist in Southwest Madison communities through the Justified Anger Initiative under the Nehemiah Center for Leadership Development, and as a Case Manager at Arc Project Respect. She brings her voice and that of the community which she serves to the many committees which she serves through the City of Madison, including Dane County Equal Opportunity Commission, Madison Police Civilian Oversight Committee, and the African American Opioid Coalition.
Jacquelyn has received many awards and honors, including but not limited to the most recent being honored at the 2021 International Women’s Day Celebration as one of their Community Trailblazers; named as the 2020 Nan Chaney March For Justice Award Recipient; in 2017 she was named one of Madison 365’s Most Influential African Americans in the /State of Wisconsin, and in 2016 she was awarded Madison Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc’s Humanitarian Award.
Jacquelyn is the mother of seven (all adults), grandma to seven amazing grandchildren,2 grand dogs, and 1 great-granddog. She loves Old Skool R&B music and dancing, she loves to travel, kicking back with family and friends, playing Bid Whist, and bowling. Amongst her favorites is indulging in self-care with a pampering a massage/facial, and chillaxin in the hot tub!
Adrian Jones is a public health leader and reproductive justice advocate with over 15 years of experience in community health. Adrian joined UW Health Office of Population Health in November 2018 as a Program Manager for Community Health Improvement. She manages a comprehensive portfolio of strategic initiatives that aim to improve health outcomes for our most vulnerable communities in Dane County through community collaborations and targeted programming. Previously she served as a Training Manager for State-wide Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Programming, a Community Health Educator for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, and a Program Coordinator for the Goodman Community Center’s Girls Inc Program.
Mrs. Jones is committed to equity, reproductive justice, and Black maternal and child health. Adrian’s mission is to see a true change in the trajectory of the health of her community. She is an active board member for the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness and the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health. She is the Maternal and Child Health section Co-Chair for the Wisconsin Public Health Association in addition to serving on WPHA’s Racial Equity Committee. Adrian is a member of the African American Opioid Coalition and the Black Maternal and Child Health Alliance of Dane County.
Adrian is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in African American Studies and Women Studies with a certificate in Sexuality Education. She is currently a Master’s in Public Health student at Tulane University-School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. She is a proud mom to daughters, Vanessa (8) and Olivia (5), and wife to husband, Todd Jones. She is a Miami, Fl native, but has lived in Wisconsin since 1996. Adrian credits much of her passion for the work she does to her late mom, Deborah Yvette (Aaron) Adekola who succumbed to Sickle Cell SS in June 2019.
Jenny Pressman is a passionate community activist, accomplished nonprofit fundraiser, and proud Jewish lesbian mother who has fought for gender justice, racial equity, peace, freedom, and workers’ and immigrant rights for fifty-five years. Born in New York City to refugee parents who survived Nazi concentration camps and the Holocaust, Jenny was raised to speak out against injustice and hatred, crystalizing her activism at an early age. She protested gendered school dress codes when she was 6; organized a neighborhood boycott of table grapes in solidarity with the United Farm Workers when she was 8; raised funds for immigrant children at age 10, and volunteered with her first political campaign in support of Shirley Chisholm for president when she was 12.
After graduating from Hunter College High School, an NYC public school which at the time was for girls only, Jenny interned for anthropologist Margaret Mead, studied labor history at Cornell University and women’s and gender history at UW-Madison, and received her law degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School. She practiced law in Baltimore before returning to Madison to direct a private charitable foundation and clerk for WI Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson (also a Hunter alumna). Along the way she discovered that she enjoys asking people to support causes and organizations she and they care deeply about, first as a volunteer for GSAFE and other groups, then as development director for the Goodman Community Center, and now as the director of development and community partnerships with the UW Odyssey Project. The perfect home for her love of people and passion for equity, Odyssey takes a whole family approach to breaking the cycle of generational poverty through access to education and empowering primarily BIPOC adult and youth learners to find and use their voices.
Jenny dedicates herself to building an intersectional, multi-generational community by volunteering with grassroots organizations such as Voces de la Frontera, organizing direct actions and potlucks in support of women’s, LGBTQ, and other civil rights, and hosting and supporting dozens of political and nonprofit fundraisers. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards, from the Dance County Rape Crisis Center in the early 1980s to the Arts + Literature Laboratory today. Hearing stories from early childhood about people who risked their lives to save Jews when most turned away has inspired her to take action and stand with those who are denied their rights or humanity. Jenny is especially committed to amplifying the voices and supporting the leadership of Black women and other women of color.
When she’s not working or volunteering, you can find Jenny (pre-and eventually post-pandemic) at a concert, play, movie, art exhibit or protest, in her garden, on the Capital City bike path, dancing on the Monona Terrace rooftop, traveling, and enjoying the company of her family and friends. Jenny is honored to receive this award, which she would like to dedicate to her children, sisters, and nieces and in memory of her beloved mother, Alina Kaplan Pressman, who was a woman of distinction in every sense of the word.
Nasra Wehelie is the Founder/CEO of Empathy 4 Equity LLC. Nasra believes that building a culture of empathy weaves people and communities together in a more genuine way. Her consulting supports the deep alignment between individual and organizational aspirations and daily practices. She worked professionally in the Non-Profit sector for 15 years in various capacities and has served on countless community organization boards. Nasra is a passionate community leader and currently serves as alder for district 7 on Madison common Council.