FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Flora Barrón, Daniel Boylan, Lori Morgan, and Sharon Pohly tonight were named the 2023 Champions of Change Award winners by the Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. Women’s Network. The awards, which aim to celebrate those who mentor and empower women in Allen County, were given Wednesday at an awards dinner at Ceruti’s Summit Park.
“These four winners are great examples of what mentorship and servant leadership are all about,” said Meghan Short, director of investor programs at GFW Inc. “They come from different backgrounds, but they work—in their own unique ways—to elevate women in our community. All 39 finalists have made a significant impact and deserve to be recognized for the important work they do every day.”
An award was given in each of four categories: corporate, education, public service, and nonprofit.
Barrón, winner in the corporate category, is the founder and owner of Flora & Lili’s Mexican Kitchen, Kanela, and Pikoso Burrito Co. Prior to her career as a full-time entrepreneur, she was a teacher in Fort Wayne Community Schools for nearly 20 years. In 2019, she was chosen to travel to China to develop and teach a hands-on science/math curriculum for elementary school children. Barrón has been a volunteer at A Hope Center, CASA, International House, and her church. She has also been featured in a variety of panel discussions and keynotes related to women empowerment, immigrant women, diversity, and entrepreneurship.
Boylan, the winner in the education category, is an assistant professor of accounting at Purdue University Fort Wayne’s Doermer School of Business. In addition to his teaching duties, in the last three years he has presented alongside more than 25 students at national and international conferences; these presentations have directly led to students appearing in prestigious peer-reviewed publications, being admitted to graduate school, and obtaining employment. Boylan also works to provide leadership development and scholarship opportunities to local high-school students. At South Side High School, he created the Archer Leadership Academy, a 10-week leadership workshop where students learn from local leaders and leadership activities. At the end of the program, students are eligible for up to $10,000 in scholarships. Additionally, he has activated an essay contest for students to earn scholarships.
Morgan, the winner in the public service category, is judge of the Allen Superior Court Family Relations Division. When appointed as a magistrate in 1995, she was the first Black female to be appointed as a judicial officer in Allen County history; she was appointed to her current position by Gov. Eric Holcomb in 2021. Judge Morgan created the Allen Superior Court’s first internship program through the Indiana Conference for Legal Education Opportunity, a statewide program that supports diversity in the legal field. She regularly speaks to school children and other groups around Fort Wayne, hoping to spark an interest in law. In the last year, she has helped create the first family domestic violence court in the state, working with a variety of stakeholders to break the cycle of domestic violence in local families. This family domestic violence court has received pre-certification status and is on track to be certified this year as the first of its kind in the state.
Pohly, the winner in the nonprofit category, is the CEO of Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana. During her 12 years in that position, she has served an organization dedicated to empowering its 4,000 members across 22 counties. In addition to her work locally, Pohly provides her expertise on various national Girl Scout committees. Last year, she worked alongside the CEOs of five other Indiana Girl Scout councils to win a $15 million grant that will bring Girl Scouts programming to underserved populations across the Hoosier State. She also serves as a Menttium mentor, where high-performing businesswomen are matched to a mentee. Pohly is a board member for the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne, has served on the Erin’s House for Grieving Children governance committee, and has been involved with Habitat for Humanity.
This year’s winners were selected from a field of 39 finalists. Nominations were submitted online by members of the Allen County community, then were reviewed and scored on a blind basis by a panel of leaders from Allen County.
The Champions of Change Awards are given each year to extraordinary individuals from Allen County who:
- Demonstrate an unwavering passion and commitment to our community.
- Are role models making a difference in the lives of others.
- Have made significant contributions that have inspired women to succeed.
- Have made Allen County a better place to live, work, and play.
This is the fifth year the Champions of Change Awards have been presented. Past winners are:
- 2019: Wendy Moyle and John Dortch.
- 2020: Corinna Ladd and Marty Pastura.
- 2021: Leslee Hill and Rachel Tobin-Smith.
- 2022: Alison Gerardot, Jeanné Wickens, and Jeff Roberts.
Thanks to support from the Barbara Burt Innovative Leader Fund hosted at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, each of this year’s winners will be offered a $1,000 grant to assist with continued leadership growth and community impact.
About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Ind., as its primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs, and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention, and community engagement.