The Grand Ballroom at Little America, filled with Wyoming’s female finery, including award nominees sporting peach rose corsages “looked like a beautiful field of wildflowers,” according to one male attendee. “And we few men are like a bunch of cows coming through. But we’re really glad to be here!” he added.
The sixth annual gathering may have been the largest ever for the Wyoming Women of Influence. The awards seek to honor women statewide for their outstanding work in nine industries, lifetime achievement, best mentor (male or female) and best company to work for.
Earlier this year the public was invited to nominate their favorite Women of Influence, explaining the impact each nominee has had on her industry and on her community. A record-breaking 121 nominations were received by the deadline.
The nominations are then sent to the Women of Influence previous honorees in each category. The Women of Influence alumna then vote on their top three nominees. The votes are tallied, and the three highest scoring nominations are named finalists. The top vote tally is declared this year’s honoree, with the Wyoming Business Report editor breaking any ties.
After opening remarks by conference keynote speaker Selina Hoflund, emcee Sharon Fain got the awards portion of the program moving at a brisk clip.
And the honorees are:
Banking & Finance
Amber Hestla-Barnhart, Owner, Chief Options Strategist, Hestla Research
Business & Business Services
Laura Morrow, Owner, Laura M. Gallery
Wendy Smith, Assistant VP of Strategic Communications and Public Relations, Northern Wyoming Community College District
Energy & Utilities
Deby Forry, Sr. VP of Risk Management, Trihydro Corp.
Government, Military & Law
Lynn Budd, Chief-Security Division, Wyoming Office of Homeland Security
Tracy Garcia, Chief Nursing Officer, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center
Renee Penton-Jones, General Manager, Ramkota Hotel
Manufacturing & Technology
Erin Moore, CEO/Partner, Gannet Peak Technical Services
Donna Sheen, Director, The Wyoming Children’s Law Center
Marjorie Bedessem, Senior Engineer, Trihydro
Best Company to Work For
Hirst Applegate, LLP
Susan McMurry Samuelson, Owner, Warren Livestock Ranch
For a full list of nominees and profiles of the honorees, please watch for the next issue of the Women of Wyoming magazine, which will be delivered to all WBR subscribers along with the September issue. In addition to the Women of Influence profiles, the magazine will include a biography of Mary Mead, who might have been our first female governor save for a tragic accident; and of Harriet Byrd, Wyoming’s first black female legislator. In addition, WOW includes a directory of all woman-owned businesses in the state.
Watch our Facebook page for a photo album of last night's event!