Idaho Business Review’s Women of the Year 2021 event marked several “firsts” in its 16-year history.
For the first time, the Woman of the Year has chosen to be recognized virtually, to ensure the safety of her team and her patients. It was the first time, since the start of the 2020 pandemic in March, that community members had safely gathered in person to support an Idaho Business Review (IBR) event. And, for the first time, a standing ovation was given to a laureate, Lisa Holland, who was recognized posthumously.
“It’s always an honor to shine a light on the amazing women of our state, but this year has been particularly meaningful because last year has presented so many challenges,” said Cindy Suffa, editor of IBR.
Nearly 450 people gathered, with safety protocols in place, at the Boise Center to honor the 50 Women of the Year winners and their guests, who gathered for a dinner and toast to celebrate the great work women leaders across Idaho. IBR observed that all guests and sponsors followed social distancing and safety protocols, and several accepted their rewards within days. Suffa recognized the compassion and commitment of those who serve in healthcare as several of the award recipients are employed in healthcare, including this year’s Woman of the Year, Odette Bolano, who has spoke virtually at the gala.
Bolano thanked the founders, current leaders and employees of Saint Alphonsus Health System, her family and others who inspire and support her.
“To my honored colleagues. It is with great respect and honor that I stand by your side for the difference you are making in our community. Each of you is sharing this award with me tonight, ”Bolano said.
Woman of the Year 2020 Tammy de Weerd, former Mayor of Meridian, delivered the keynote address, acknowledging Holland’s impact on the Kuna and Meridian communities and offering words of encouragement for the future.
“Be a voice for good,” said de Weerd. “The events of the past year have given voice to many, through the protests, COVID and ahead of the 2020 election. We have seen both good and bad examples of the use of our voices. In some cases, this has highlighted why so many people remain silent.
“It’s unfortunate because it is essential to express yourself. Diversity of thought is essential if we are to achieve and create positive results, ”she continued. “The importance of using your voice is how you use your voice. Look around this room tonight. There is so much good here. These women we honor tonight are community builders and agents of change. We can all be, if we choose carefully how we express ourselves, in kindness and using our voices for good.
Those who wish to relive the event, including those who were unable to attend, can purchase images that were taken at idahobusinessreview.smugmug.com/2021-Women-of- the Year/. Nominations for Women of the Year 2022 are currently being accepted at idahobusinessreview.com/events/woy/nominate/. IBR looks forward to continuing the tradition.
“The Women of the Year were so much fun and felt really safe,” said Women of the Year winner Caitlin Copple Masingill.