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Helena's 2021 Salute to Women winners announced

salute to women 2021 awardees
Posted at 6:43 PM, Feb 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 12:25:07-05

HELENA — The 2021 Salute to Women Luncheon has gone virtual, but that doesn’t stop the organization from surprising this year’s winners.

Soroptimist International of Helena and the American Business Women Association of Helena continued their annual traditions of naming 2021’s Salute to Women awardees.

The recipient of the Woman Achievement Award went to former Lewis & Clark County Commissioner, Susan Good Geise. She was nominated by her fellow commissioners and the Rocky Mountain Development Council for empowering young women through her career in public service.

“Susan has led a life of public service, from serving in the Montana Legislature, to teaching school in under-served communities, to serving as a Lewis & Clark County Commissioner. I have no doubt that she has empowered many young women throughout her career to achieve more than they thought they could,” says Lori Ladas, the Executive Director at Rocky Mountain Development Council.

“It's mind boggling and humbling to me,” says Geise as she receives your award plaque. “I have absolutely no idea how to adequately convey how grateful I am for the opportunity to serve."

The winner of the YWCA Woman of the Year is Lewis & Clark County Public Health Officer, Drenda Niemann. She was nominated by fellow coworkers for her leadership and commitment to public health over the last year in this pandemic.

“Drenda Niemann supports, embodies, and complements the YWCA mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all,” says Julie Bir, a Referral Coordinator with Lewis & Clark Public Health. “As the Health Officer at Lewis & Clark Public Health, Drenda’s advocacy and leadership in the community has continually demonstrated her commitment to the health and well-being of Lewis & Clark County. Her commitment has been exemplified during this past year during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her compassionate leadership is a true example of leading with a “strong back, soft front” (a phrase popularized by Brene Brown).”

Niemann is honored and also credits community partnerships.

“Because of the partnerships we had built before COVID hit us, it set us up nicely to work together when we needed to the most, and so public health alone can't do it,” says Niemann. “I can't do it alone but together we can, and together we will, and together we do."

This year’s Salute to Women Luncheon will be held virtually on March 11th, 2021.

All proceeds to the virtual event will go to the YWCA and educational scholarships for women in our community.

Click here to register or learn more about the event.