The historical ballroom of the Medinah Country Club recently hosted the bi-annual luncheon and presentation of the Impresa Award. The event, which took place on August 18, is sponsored by the Women’s Division of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.
About 150 guests, many among the communities most notable, were present to honor and recognize the accomplishments of eight extraordinary women from the Chicago area. The Impresa Award project was initiated in 1983 and continues to preserve and record for history the lives and accomplishments of Italian-American women.
Honored at this year’s event were Channel 9 anchor Dina Bair; attorney and radio personality Karen Conti; Rush University Medical Center Hematology Director Dr. Stephanie Ann Gregory; of Ingredion Corporation General Counsel Mary Ann Hynes; attorney Lisa Ann Marino; Northern Illinois University College of Law Dean Jennifer Rosato, Artistic Home theater Artistic Director Kathy Scambiaterra, and humanitarian and community leader Josette Mentesana Weber.
Women’s Division President Rose Mary Ranallo thanked Co-Chairs Phyllis Schoene and Judy Guzaldo, and committee members Arlene Elia, Velda Davino, Lilia Juarez, Gina Sclafani and Joanne Spata for the magnificent orchestration of the event.
Judge Cecilia Guzaldo Gamrath was the guest speaker, and expressed her congratulations to the “extraordinary accomplishments of today’s recipients.”
The Impresa recipients had many words of wisdom and advise to offer. Josette Mentesana Weber encourages women to “believe in yourself and fight for what you believe. Believe you can make a difference.” Dean Jennifer Rosato’s advise to women was “be comfortable with your decisions, big and small. Don’t feel the need to address all expressions of doubts about your capabilities or other indignities or assumptions. The best strategy is to do your best work every day and prove assumptions wrong.” Dina Bair states that the “beyond my mother, Joan Esposito was an inspirational person in my life. Joan was both a mentor and role model and friend. She nurtured me and showed me how to become a first-class journalist. Twenty-five years later, and we are still best of friends.”
And to quote Phyllis Schoene, “Throughout history, Italian-American women have made significant contributions to society and indeed our recipients today follow in the footsteps of these great ladies in the media, medicine, corporations, education, theatre and philanthropy.”