Tribute honorees nominated by their peers
BY RUTH RICE
Selecting the honorees for the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Awards is a hush-hush process.
Nominees are chosen by those in the community for the arts and letters, business, community service volunteer, education, nonprofit/government and professions awards.
The nomination form is a difficult one to fill out because the nominee’s name, place of work or any other identifying factors cannot be included.
“Our goal is to be very objective,” said Diane Lopez, YWCA board president and this year’s Yellow Rose winner.
“This lends credibility. Someone nominated you. We value our nominators because it takes time to write, and it shows you made an impact on them. You can truly win on merit and credibility.”
Sometimes it might be the nominator’s writing skill that pushes their entry over the top, even by a tenth of a point.
“Maybe someone didn’t paint a complete picture while someone else used more detail in their nominee’s area of expertise,” Lopez said.
“The person could be known in the community for the work they do, and their nominator delves into the details. It can be difficult not to give away who they are.”
Once nominations are received, they are gone over to make sure any inadvertent slips revealing the nominee’s identity are marked out before reaching the nomination committee, which is made up of past honorees.
“We ask past honorees if they want to do it,” Lopez said.
“This is our 27th year, so we have a nice pool to draw from.”
The nominating committee contains no board members, but Lopez said she has gone through the process in an emergency when another member couldn’t be there.
Nominees are rated on the basis of their contributions in three areas – their outstanding achievements in the chosen category, their professional leadership and individual accomplishments and their volunteer efforts and community service as well as their position as a role model for other women.
Copies of the nomination form are given to smaller committees of four, with the winner in a particular category from last year reading the nominations for that category this year.
If a committee member believes she knows the nominee despite the measures taken to insure secrecy, she is asked to excuse herself from reading that nomination and to give the form to another member.
After all the nominations have been read and rated, the chairwoman tabulates the rating and declares the honorees in each category.
Lopez said in the event of a tie, which has happened more than once over the years, a different group is called in to read the nominations that have tied.
The Yellow Rose Award is more subjective with no secret selection process.
Board members choose a recipient who exemplifies the mission of the YWCA by being heavily involved in activities that promote the elimination of racism and discrimination, being a major participant in activities to empower woman and being a role model who inspires other women.