Finalists named for 2024 Champions of Change Awards


Greater Fort Wayne Inc. Women’s Network will announce the winners of the 2024 Champions of Change Awards on May 8.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Thirty-three local leaders have been selected as finalists for the 2024 Champions of Change Awards. The awards celebrate those who mentor and empower women in Allen County. Winners will be announced May 8 at a Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. Women’s Network dinner.

The 2024 Champions of Change awards will recognize a winner in four categories: corporate, education, nonprofit, and public service.

The finalists in the corporate category are:

  • Whitney Bandemer, WB Consulting, LLC
  • Lanitra Berry, Believe in a Dream
  • Britney Breidenstein, upLinked
  • Michelle Gladieux, Gladieux Consulting
  • Grayce Holloway, Icing For Izaac
  • Kassee Lamm, Fort Wayne Metals
  • Kathy Rogers, KB Search Team
  • Gwen Ruppert, Raymond James
  • Amy Stauffer, Franklin Electric
  • Carmen Tse, Sweetwater Sound

The finalists in the education category are:

  • Shenita Bolton, Fort Wayne Community Schools
  • Nicole Edmonds, Trine University
  • Dr. Angie Fincannon, Indiana Tech
  • Lisa D. Givan, Indiana Tech
  • Shubitha Kever, Purdue University Fort Wayne
  • Sarah LeBlanc, Purdue University Fort Wayne
  • John Sheaffer, Concordia Lutheran High School
  • Dr. Aisha-Amina Smiley, Indiana University School of Social Work

The finalists in the nonprofit category are:

  • Gaby Aleman, Principe de Paz Fort Wayne, Inc.
  • Amy Binkley, Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana
  • Tomi Cardin, Redemption House
  • Ewelina Connolly, Amani Family Services
  • Vanessa Escobar, Renaissance Pointe YMCA
  • Andrew Gritzmaker, YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne
  • Brittany Hall, Fort Wayne Philharmonic
  • A. Diane Starks, Urban Beginnings Choice Federal Credit Union
  • Tisha Strasser, Bring It Push It Own It
  • Denita Washington, Girlz Rock
  • Donna Wray, The Mom of an Addict, Inc.
  • Angie Zaegel, Neighborhood Health

The finalists in the public service category are:

  • Stephanie Crandall, City of Fort Wayne
  • Kristy Lindeman, Victim Assistance, Fort Wayne Police Department
  • Capt. Ashlee Lowe, 122d Fighter Wing, Indiana Air National Guard

Nominations were submitted online by members of the Allen County community. A panel of leaders from Allen County reviewed and scored the nominations on a blind basis.

“We are proud to celebrate those who have impacted women in Allen County through their mentorship and advocacy.” said Meghan Short, director of investor programs at GFW Inc. “Their dedication serves as an example of support and inspiration as they foster growth and create opportunities for women to succeed. GFW Inc. is delighted to honor their substantial impact and the positive changes they bring to our community.”

Now in its sixth year, previous winners include:

  • 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
  • 2023 – Flora Barrón, Daniel Boylan, Lori Morgan, and Sharon Pohly

The GFW Inc. Women’s Network will present the Champions of Change Awards at a dinner scheduled for May 8 at Parkview Mirro Event & Conference Center. Tables and individual tickets are available through April 29. To register, visit