When you encourage young women to become the first in their families to attend college and make this dream possible to them by providing scholarships, then you are doing an exceptional job of growing and enriching your community.
Western Nevada College’s Lupe Ramirez and Niki Gladys are doing just that and much more. Soroptimist International of Carson City has taken notice of their dedication to women and girls in the community by recognizing them among its eight “Women Helping Women” honorees for 2021.
Honorees are made up of local employees, board members and volunteers who have provided their expertise, time, compassion and motivation to help other women, as well as girls.
Other women in the community who will be honored are Katie Leao Geiser, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada; Dr. Betsy Card, Tahoe Carson Radiology; Suzanne Crawford, victim and witness administrator for the Carson City District Attorney’s Office; Tiffany Kenison, executive director for Miss Carson City & Outstanding Teen Pageant; Victoria S. Mendoza, executive director and managing attorney for Volunteer Attorneys for Rural Nevada; Jessica Weisser, youth empowerment coordinator for Xquisite. Many may recall that Leao is a former executive director of WNC Foundation.
The eight women will be honored during the “Women Helping Women” recognition event on Feb. 18 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. via Zoom.
Ramirez was tasked with improving WNC’s college graduation rate for the area’s Latino population in 2010, leading to the creation of the Latino Cohort (now the Latino Leadership Academy). The academy eases students’ transition from high school to college by helping them make this a full-time commitment, as well as helping them overcome cultural obstacles. Additionally, the academy provides students with a structured two-year academic plan and helps then access financial aid and scholarships to make this possible.
“Working with every student who joins the Latino Leadership Academy is the highlight of my day at work,” Ramirez said. “When the students graduate, I get a ‘thank you’ from them. I never expected that one of my former students would recommend to her employer that they nominate me for such a prestigious award! I am humbly moved by this recognition!”
For her impact on the community, Ramirez was selected as the Nevada ACT College and Career Readiness Postsecondary Nevada State Champion of the Year for 2018. Ramirez also is a trustee for K-12 students in the Carson City School District and was recently chosen as the 2020 New School Board Member of the Year by the Nevada Association of School Boards.
As the executive director for institutional development at WNC since 2016, Gladys sets the strategic direction for Western Nevada College in fundraising and special events, in alignment with the college’s mission and strategic goals. Gladys and the college’s fundraising efforts provide $600,000 in scholarships to students annually. Prior to leading the foundation, Gladys served as a trustee on the Foundation Board for seven years. In 2019, the WNC Foundation received the Pioneer Award (Boundary Peak Exceptional Nonprofit Award) from the Northern Nevada Development Authority for its extraordinary growth in funding streams, active board involvement, presence in the community and support of workforce development initiatives.
“Working with our talented Board of Directors over the past few years to increase scholarship support for WNC students and grow funding to our Foundation has been inspiring. Being recognized for this work is quite humbling; I appreciate WNC for nominating me and the Soroptimists for creating such a wonderful event,” Gladys said.
The Carson City community is invited to join the celebration of these women who are providing outstanding support, care, mentoring and encouragement to other women or girls. To attend via Zoom, the cost is $25 for one login/attendee. Additional household attendee packages are available for $15 for each additional person in your household who plans to attend. Visit www.sicarsoncity.org for more details and online purchasing.