Past Honorees

2018 Woman of the Year : Stephanie Gilchrist

Executive Director of Inspiring Minds of Youngstown

Stephanie Gilchrist, Mahoning Valley native and Youngstown resident is the Executive Director of Inspiring Minds of Youngstown. Inspiring Minds is a nonprofit outreach organization that works with under-represented youth in our community and aims to engage, inspire and empower students through education and exposure to new experiences.

The organization was founded in 2006 in Warren, Ohio by Deryck Toles; and made its first geographic expansion to Youngstown, Ohio in 2015 and in the summer of 2018 expanded to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Gilchrist is a long-time community collaborator. Before coming to Inspiring Minds of Youngstown, she was most recently the Project Coordinator at the Youngstown Business Incubator for Tech Block Building 5, overseeing the $5.7 million project. She then served as the Director of the Women in Entrepreneurship Program, where she assisted over 50 women entrepreneurs with resources to operate their businesses.

Gilchrist earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Youngstown State University. She also completed the Executive MBA program through Strayer University’s Jack Welch Management Institute.

In addition, Gilchrist, alongside her husband of 26 years, own Ryan’s Chair Barber and Beauty Salon which has been in the community for over 20 years. Together they have two sons, Ryan and Ian. They attend Second Baptist Church in Warren, OH and she serves the youth there as well.

2017 Woman of the Year : Shirley Christian, Esq.

Local attorney with Reminger Co., LPA and prior Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge

Attorney Christian was selected due to her years of professional leadership, commitment to our valley and relentless advocacy for women. While maintaining a full law practice, she also served on the Board of Commissioners on Grievances & Discipline; chaired one of the Probable Cause committees of the Grievances Board; served on the Board of Governors with the Ohio State Bar Association; has served as President of the Mahoning County Bar Association; the committee to evaluate Ohio Supreme Court candidates, and was recently honored by Community Legal Aid for her service in establishing a Legal Aid clinic. Shirley has also served as a mentor in the Ohio Supreme Court Lawyer to Lawyer mentoring program for the past five years.

2016 Woman of the Year : Rebecca Keck

Executive Director of SMARTS in Youngstown, OH

Becky was chosen for her years of professional leadership, advocacy for youth education and her ability to overcome obstacles. After the SMARTS program was cut from Youngstown State University’s College of Fine & Performing Arts, Becky was determined to keep the program alive. Through the support of community leaders, families, and donors, she re-opened the program in November 2014. Becky has also served the community in various leadership positions, including the Board of Directors for the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, Mahoning Valley Historical Society, President of the Rotary club of Youngstown, and many other art, youth and civic organizations.

2015 Woman of the Year : Julie Vugrinovich

Licensed REALTOR & Property Professional at Howard Hanna Real Estate

Julie was selected for the her leadership qualities and constant work to improve the lives of young women in the Mahoning Valley. Julie was an active board member for several area organizations, including Northeast Ohio Adoption Services, Homes For Kids – Child and Family Solutions, YWCA Warren, American Cancer Society, League of Women Voters Trumbull County, United Way of Trumbull County, American Heart Association, Betty’s Angels, Warren City Federation of Women’s Clubs, and Trumbull County Federation of Women’s Clubs. She was Advisor of the GFWC Ohio Warren Juniorettes, a volunteer organization for young ladies ages 12 to 18, which she founded in 1996 in memory of her sister who died at the age of 16

2014 Woman of the Year: Becky Dearing Wall

VP, and Treasurer, Dearing Compressor & Pump Co.

Becky was selected for her role in the growth and financial success of Dearing Compressor and expanding its skilled workforce, which had grown from 40 in 2005 to more than 200 in 2014. She is also an active volunteer in the community. She was the 2013 chairwoman of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

2013 Woman of the Year: Liz McGarry

Director of Development, Hospice of the Valley

Liz helped raise more than $7 million to aid in establishing new care centersfor the terminally ill in northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. She also has a long list of professional associations and volunteer work. She is dedicated to improving overall life in the Mahoning Valley.

2012 Woman of the Year: Dr. Cynthia Anderson

President, Youngstown State University

From teaching part time to becoming the first female president at YSU, Dr. Anderson first started serving students in 1968. She has given back to the community through mentorship, her positions on nonprofit boards and all her student programs at YSU.

2011 Woman of the Year: Traci Miller

Owner, Color 3 Embroidery

At the time, Miller’s company had recently expanded into a 12,500-square-foot building in downtown Warren. Miller also does business coaching through the Growth Coach and is president of the board of directors of the YWCA of Warren.