Northwest Indiana Influential Women honorees for 2019 named • Northwest Indiana Business Magazine

Northwest Indiana Influential Women honorees for 2019 named

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Two dozen women form around Northwest Indiana were honored this year as Influential Women for 2019.

The awards are presented by the Northwest Indiana Influential Women Association. Honorees were recently recognized at a banquet at Avalon Manor in Merrillville.

The 24 winners were chosen from 12 different industry categories; one Influential Woman and one Up & Coming Woman from each.

Additional awards were presented for Empowering Business of the Year, Community Leader of the Year, and Supporter of the Year. Honorees were selected from more than 150 finalists, which was narrowed from a field of more than 300 nominees.

This year’s honorees include:

Overall Influential Woman of the Year

Kimberly Blaesing, owner, Tiger Plumbing

Overall Up & Coming Woman of the Year

Vicki Urbanik, auditor, Porter County


  • Up & Coming: Leta Sena-Lopez, director of bands, Kahler Middle School
  • Influential Woman: Michelle Golden of Books, Brushes & Bands for Education


  • Up & Coming: Natalie Krivas, purchasing manager, AM Stabilizers Corp.
  • Influential Woman: Lisa Preston, owner, St. John Animal Clinic


  • Up & Coming: Patty Stovall, property development manager, Hasse Construction
  • Influential Woman: Tannaz Javadi, senior research engineer, ArcelorMittal

Economic Development/Government

  • Up & Coming: Katie Hall, director, Crossroads CASA
  • Influential Woman: Jennifer Gadzala, special projects coordinator, Town of Chesterton


  • Up & Coming: Uzoma Obidike, founder, She Leads Beautifully
  • Influential Woman: MaryAnn Chapko, principal, Eisenhower Elementary


  • Up & Coming: Candice Kouros Logue, vice president/banking center manager, Peoples Bank
  • Influential Woman: Kathy Ireland is the vice president / wealth services, Wintrust Bank


  • Up & Coming: Brittany Owen, family nurse practitioner, Winfield Family Medicine
  • Influential Woman: Sister Marlene Shapley, vice president of mission integration, Franciscan Alliance


  • Up & Coming: Nicole Keith, senior associate attorney, Kreig DeVault LLP
  • Influential Woman: America McAlpin, attorney, Austgen Kuiper Jasaitis / probate commissioner, Lake Superior Court


  • Up & Coming: Jen Soffin, founder, The IN Coast
  • Influential Woman: Marie Forszt, vice president of marketing and corporate communications, Community Healthcare System


  • Up & Coming: Michelle Novak, community liaison, Tradewinds Services
  • Influential Woman: Nupur Arora, director of business administration, FoodBank of Northwest Indiana Inc.

Service & Tourism

  • Up & Coming: Natalie Johnson, executive director, Save the Dunes
  • Influential Woman: Nicole Caylor, president/owner, Aftermath Cidery & Winery/Running Vines Winery


  • Up & Coming: Michele Murday, Northwest Indiana branch manager, EnviroForensics
  • Influential Woman: Megan Glaros, meteorologist, CBS Chicago

Supporter of the Year Award: Cynthia Warner-Lowe of Hammond Adult Education

Community Leader of the Year Award: Andrea Graciano, victim advocate, Hobart Police

Empowering Business of the Year: Jay Marie Salon and Spa


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