Gerardot, Wickens, Roberts win 2022 Champions of Change Awards

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Alison Gerardot, Jeanné Wickens, and Jeff Roberts today were named the 2022 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 Thursday at a sold-out awards luncheon at Camp Red Cedar.

“Alison, Jeanné, and Jeff each embody what it means to be a mentor and servant leader,” said Meghan Short, director of investor programs at GFW Inc. “As mentors, they have inspired women to see themselves differently and reach their full potential. All of this year’s finalists have made a significant difference in our community and deserve to be recognized for the incredible work they continue to do.”

This year, an award was given in each of three categories: nonprofit, corporate, and education.

Gerardot, chief impact officer at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne, received the award in the nonprofit category. At various stages of her career, she has counseled families and individuals, coached and mentored aspiring female artists and dancers, and been a driving force in creating the Women’s Fund of Greater Fort Wayne, which is dedicated to closing opportunity gaps for women and girls regardless of place, race, or identity. She currently volunteers on the board of Project Ballet, the Downtown Improvement District, and the school board of her children’s school.

Wickens, the winner in the corporate category, is the chief financial officer at Parkview Health. She has mentored women throughout her career—and, since relocating to Fort Wayne in 2016, has worked to recruit others to move to the community. Wickens started “Women Who Work Hard Play Hard,” an informal group for local professional women to meet regularly. She also served on the steering committee for the “Allen County Together” economic development action plan and has been a board member of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Turnstone, Huntington University, United Way of Allen County, and others.

Roberts, the winner in the education category, is an educator at Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) New Tech Academy. In addition to his teaching duties, he is a founder of two nonprofit organizations: 4WARD and the Pave the Path Youth Leadership Program. These organizations provide mentorship, internships, and networking opportunities to local students, empowering them to lead and succeed in life. Roberts, who has served at FWCS for the last 21 years, was named the district’s Teacher of the Year in 2016. He plans to join the staff at the Amp Lab at Electric Works this fall.

The winners were selected from a field of 24 finalists. Nominations were reviewed and scored on a blind basis by a panel of nonprofit, corporate, and education leaders from outside 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 fourth year the Champions of Change Awards have been presented. Wendy Moyle and John Dortch were the inaugural award winners in 2019. Corinna Ladd and Marty Pastura were the winners in 2020. Leslee Hill and Rachel Tobin-Smith won in 2021.

About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. (GFW Inc.) serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana, 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.