YWCA Announces 2013 Salute to Women Award Recipients

Seven Honorees to Receive Awards at March 5th Banquet in West Lafayette

The YWCA Greater Lafayette will showcase the achievements and contributions of seven local women at the annual YWCA Salute to Women Banquet on March 5th at Four Points By Sheraton, 3001 Northwestern Avenue, West Lafayette.

The banquet also will include a reception and dinner. Doors will open and the banquet reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. Dinner will begin at 6:30 p.m.

This year’s honorees are:

Woman of Innovation (Woman under 40)

Jamie Proffitt

Women of Distinction

Cindy Houseman

atricia Millard

ane Nichols

Kimber Nicoletti

Betty Rowe

Mary Keller Ade Woman of Wisdom

Barbara Reif

Award recipients were selected based on outstanding and inspirational achievement in volunteer and/or professional roles, community involvement and leadership/role modeling qualities.

About the Honorees

Jamie Proffitt (Woman of Innovation)

Jamie Proffitt has been the Marketing Designer at Unity Healthcare for the last six years.  Prior to that, she worked as a designer at Purdue Federal Credit Union and Sign Experts.  She is organized, efficient, and willing to do whatever is needed to get projects completed.  Because there are often last minute deadlines, her cooperative attitude and good cheer are important and appreciated.  Jamie has completed the Lafayette Community Leadership class which exemplifies her drive to continue to improve herself.  She continues to give back to Leadership Lafayette through participating in their marketing committee and designing their newsletter.  Her desire to excel and to help others by cooperatively utilizing her vast design skills is what sets her apart.

In 2008, Jamie was the Tippy Connect Top 10 under 40 Award Recipient, and in 2012, she was presented the American Advertising Federation North Central Indiana (AAF NCI) Rising Star Award.  The Rising Star Award recognizes an AAF-North Central Indiana member under the age of 32 who has made significant achievement to the advertising and marketing industries, partnered with community service and supports the advertising federation organization.  She has served on the AAF NCI Board as the Hospitality Co-Chair and was a part of the 2008 AAF Community Service Project-Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Jamie’s dedication to the Greater Lafayette community is evident by her countless hours of volunteer work for many local agencies and organizations.  She has served as the Graphic Designer for the Golden Steps Studio, Leadership Lafayette Newsletter, the Ultimate Pink Party and a Toast to Mental Health.  She is also a member of local committees including the Leadership Lafayette – Taste of Leadership Lafayette Event Committee and the Leadership Lafayette Marketing Committee.  Her design expertise has been utilized as a member of the American Advertising Federation Web Team.  Jamie’s work with the Lafayette YWCA Women’s Cancer Program includes her participation with the Annual Swing for a Cure Golf Classic and her position as co-chair of a successful Ultimate Pink Party event that raised more than $50,000 for the program.

Jamie raises the bar for marketing professionals by consistently demonstrating her dynamic expertise, core values and ideas that drive unprecedented collaboration, innovation and achievement to deliver sustainable results.  Her strong sense of purpose transcends the profession, as she is devoted to both professional and community success. 

Cindy Houseman (Woman of Distinction)

Cindy Houseman is a woman who is dedicated to her work and volunteering in activities that allow her to passionately contribute to the betterment of the Greater Lafayette community.  Cindy is the adult child of two alcoholic parents.  At a young age, she chose not to be a victim and attended Al-Ateen and worked the 12-Step Program.  This background gives her the passion to help the people she meets on a daily basis. 

Cindy is a model communicator as Court Services Director.  She is often asked to speak on issues such as addiction, drug and alcohol education, eating disorders, co-dependence and mental illness.  She is also a gifted problem solver and creative in developing programs to benefit clients, thus bettering the community and overall community safety.  As Court Services Director, she saw the need for drug and alcohol education classes to be offered in house.  This change has saved clients time and money, allowed an accelerated response to the clients’ negative behavior and increased public safety. 

In 2006, Cindy recognized the need for a Hispanic Evaluator and Case Manager for court ordered clients.   She assumed this role after completing a six week course to expand her Spanish vocabulary and become more knowledgeable in the Hispanic culture. In 2008, Cindy was presented a commendation for excellent management for six of the Tippecanoe County Judges.  Cindy has a reputation for going above and beyond standard work expectations.

Cindy is consistently available for clients, staff, family and friends with her knowledge, expertise, counsel, empathy and compassion.  She currently serves on the Community Transition Board, Ivy Tech Human Services Advisory Board and the Lafayette Adult Resource Academy Work One Board.  She has facilitated community trainings that partnered with the Drug-Free Coalition, Indiana Judicial Center, the National Drug Court Conference, the AIDS program, Volunteers in Probation Program in London, Home with Hope and is a 2006 Leadership Lafayette graduate. 

Cindy and her husband Norman have two children, a son and daughter. Her career and volunteer work is a reflection that she is not afraid of a challenge to create positive change and is not one to step in the spotlight for the contributions she makes.  She proves how one individual can make a difference in the lives of others and in the community.

Patricia Millard (Woman of Distinction)

Patricia Millard is a master at communication.  Her skills at communication and leadership make her an outstanding volunteer, role model and co-worker.  She has been a member of the Master Gardener Association (MGATC) since 1997 and is currently the Co-President and the Chairperson for the Demonstration Garden.   In 2012, Patricia contributed over 750 volunteer hours to the MGATC, while also volunteering at the Indiana Veteran’s Home (IVH) providing over 1400 hours since 2009.  As a role model, she sets an example by going the extra mile to assess the needs of IVH residents and coming up with creative ways to meet those needs.  Patricia sews on buttons, leads groups to provide holiday decorations, develops relationships with many residents and invites lonely volunteers to her home for holidays. In addition to her volunteer work, she worked in the West Point Post Office for 12 years and then was a Realtor/Broker in the Lafayette area.

Patricia labors in many ways to improve the quality of life for citizens of our community.  She has volunteered to assist members of a very vulnerable subset of our community including the disabled, elderly and struggling military veterans.   She empowers you, encourages you, invites you and helps you.

In every task she commits to, Patricia takes the leadership role.  She rallied the other Master Gardeners to plant, care for, harvest and donate over 1700 pounds of food to our local food banks.  She is busy now planning the 2013 Home Extension Gardens.  She will again be Co-President and is striving to exceed the donations from previous years. 

She is a role model for others through her giving without question; she sees the need then meets it.  She is always dedicated to whatever task she commits to and has been a friend, sister, mother and daughter to many in our community. Patricia was the oldest of nine children.   She and her husband Jerry have been married for 52 years, 20 of those years Patricia spent as a Navy wife.  They are parents of three children and grandparents to eleven.  They have also been foster parents to two brothers, now adults. Her life has not always been an easy one, she has had personal struggles of her own, but she has been blessed because she has blessed so many others. 

Jane Nichols (Woman of Distinction)

Jane Nichols’ achievements are a direct result of her philosophy “to use my talents to improve the lives of my family, my friends and to be as helpful as possible in my community.” Jane and Robert have been married for 65 years and both spent decades in the field of education while raising a son and daughter. They are now enjoying their time with their four granddaughters. Jane’s teaching career spanned nearly 40 years ending with her role as the Head Media Specialist at Jefferson High School which she held for over 19 years.  Jane is past president of the Tippecanoe/Benton Retired Teachers and is a 66 year member of Eastern Star. 

Although retired, Jane is a lifelong educator and continues to offer learning opportunities through Delta Kappa Gamma, a society for key women educators. During her 45 years as a member, she has been the local president, state president, and International Educators Award chair for 2 years.  Governor Frank O’Bannon presented a Distinguished Hoosier Award to Jane and the Daughters of American Revolution awarded her a Medal of Honor for leadership, trustworthiness, service and patriotism. 

In addition to her roles in education, Jane acted as Church Women United Historian for 10 years, Jubilee Christmas chair for 22 years, Trinity United Methodist Women treasurer and Alter Guild chair.  For her dedicated role as historian at Trinity United Methodist Church, she was named Historian of the Year by the Indiana Conference Commission.  She also received a Valiant Woman Award from Church Women United.

Jane has served in a leadership capacity of many local, state and international groups.  She is able to offer ideas from her many experiences while she listens to and encourages the input of others and embraces all plans with energy and wisdom. 

While Jane is successful in the organizations she supports, she also recognizes that there are human needs which are neglected and she is compassionate for all who might need assistance.  Her desire to make things better for others is evident as she volunteers at Church Women United Food Pantry, March of Dimes and the Salvation Army.

It seems that there is not a facet of life in the Greater Lafayette area that escapes Jane’s attention and willingness to add yet another activity to her busy schedule.

Kimber Nicoletti (Woman of Distinction)

Kimber Nicoletti is an energetic woman who is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of the poor, underserved and under-represented members of our community.  As a single working mother of three, she completed her bachelor’s degree in 1996 and in 1998 she received her master’s degree in social work.

There are many examples that demonstrate Kimber’s caring and resourcefulness on behalf of women and their families.  In 1999-2006, she served on the Tippecanoe County Minority Health Coalition and was Board Chair from 2004-2006.  From 2003-2010, Kimber served on the National Sexual Violence Resource Center Advisory Council and served as the Council Chair from 2006-2009, she currently serves on the Advisory Council for the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies department at Purdue.  In 2005, she started a drive for migrant farm worker children and raised over $52,000 worth of school supplies and clothing. Kimber also helped found the National Alianza Campesina (National Farm Worker Women Alliance) and currently serves on the board.

In the Lafayette community, Kimber taught Spanish classes for Medical and Social Service providers at Hanna Community Center and at Riggs Community Health Clinic she provided bilingual mental health services and prenatal care coordination.

Kimber’s accomplishments also include her work as the President of Purdue Latino Faculty and Staff Association (LaFaSA).  Under her leadership, LaFaSA developed the first and second Latino Scholars forum attended by over 100 people.  In 2007, she founded the group, Mujeres del Movimiento (Women of the Movement) as a safe space/support group for Latina women who work in violence prevention.  The group now has over 130 members and continues to grow.

Kimber’s work on behalf of women and families extends beyond the Lafayette area as she developed and founded Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault (MESA), a statewide effort to prevent sexual violence in Indiana communities.  Since 2002, she has volunteered for the Good Samaritan Project in Hamilton County, providing family violence prevention education, clothing, and food and to over 15,000 people annually.

As a survivor of sexual and domestic violence, Kimber uses her personal story to educate, motivate and challenge the people she meets through her work and volunteerism.  A pioneer in Latina outreach in our community, Kimber continues to advocate for women, children and families as she mentors others in the pursuit of their dreams.

Betty Rowe (Woman of Distinction)

Betty Rowe has been a powerful advocate for children and families for a large portion of her adult life.  She has tirelessly served the Greater Lafayette community through her work to help our area’s most vulnerable; the youngest and the oldest. 

Betty was born in 1930 in Alabama, moving to Detroit as a child, then on to West Lafayette in 1962.  In West Lafayette, Betty was a single parent who raised three children and was a mentor to many others.  In her desire to help others, Betty went to work for the Tippecanoe County Council on Aging in the 1970s, and then earned a degree in social work from Saint Mary of the Woods College in 1978 at the age of 48.  At age 60, her drive to help others took her to Thailand for two years of service with the Peace Corps creating day care centers for children and empowering women to develop small businesses. 

At age 83, Betty continues to support families in our community through her work with Bauer Family Resources as an Early Head Start Specialist.  She has been a part of the Head Start organization since 1994 and has shared her passion for Early Childhood Education with hundreds of Lafayette families.  She cares about each and every person she meets and serves through Head Start and is a strong voice for the program in the community. She has been a strong advocate for the needs of children and successfully raised funds to help support the creation of Early Head Start at Durgan Elementary School. In 2011, she funded a Teen Pregnancy Program at YWCA Greater Lafayette in an effort to help pregnant teens overcome some of the barriers in our community that they may face.  Her children established a fund in her name at the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette and the earnings are given to local causes of her choice.  Most recently, her funds and other funds from the Community Foundation went to Greater Lafayette Area Special Schools (GLASS) to purchase a special machine that makes it possible to check the vision of infants.

Betty is an inspiration to everyone she meets and is the example of a good communicator.  She sets the example by merely listening; sitting quietly with her hands folded while looking you in the eye.  After you meet Betty, you leave feeling heard and empowered.

Barbara Reif (Mary Keller Ade Woman of Wisdom)

Barbara Reif has demonstrated many qualities that make her outstanding in both her professional and personal life.  Barbara is married to Gary Reif and they have three children; one daughter and two sons and six grandchildren. She was raised by a single mother who was an inspiration and role model for her, but her home situation also made her aware of the struggles that face women who are on their own.

In the 1970’s the Lafayette YWCA became a special focus for Barbara’s volunteer interest.  She served on committees, the board as president and eventually on staff.  Barbara then moved to Peoria, IL and took her experience to the Girl Scouts.  Besides being the Director of Community Outreach, she was also the Public Relations Director. The Girl Scouts was serving few children from the low economic areas because of working mothers and lack of funds.  Barbara put together a budget for membership dues, supplies and to pay adults to lead the troops. She started with one school and two troops and within a few years, 20 plus troops with over 1,000 girls were organized.  At the close of her work tenure with the council, the Barbara Reif New Horizon Award was established in her honor to recognize others working to promote inclusion and diversity.

When Barbara came back to the Lafayette community in 2000, she resumed her volunteer activities.  She served on the local Girl Scouts Board, Habitat for Humanity Board, the Lafayette Rotary Board, the YWCA Association and Foundation Boards, President of the YWCA Association Board, the United Way Planning/Allocations Committee and Delta Delta Delta House Corporation Board.

Barbara stepped out of retirement to serve as Interim Executive Director at the Lafayette YWCA in 2007 and again in 2011. From her experience in former board and staff positions at YWCA, she was able to bring stability to the organization and encouragement to the staff.  A spirit of optimism and a positive vision for the future are strong assets Barbara brought to the YWCA.   Barbara is currently active in Rotary, a board member at Midland Meals and Wabash Valley Alliance and a volunteer at YWCA.  At her church, she serves on the Mission Board, Bereavement Committee, Prayer Chain and Vice President of Women’s Ministries. In the words of one of Barbara’s supporters: “Our community is enriched by the goodness and dedication of Barbara Reif.”

About the Banquet

Tickets for the banquet are $50 each. The reservation deadline is February 25. Call 765-742-0075 or visit www.ywcalafayette.org/salute to register for banquet.

History of Salute to Women

The first Salute to Women awards dinner was held on March 15, 1974. During its first two and a half decades, the Salute to Women program was coordinated by several local women’s organizations – the Lafayette Women’s Political Caucus, the Purdue Women’s Caucus, the American Association of University Women, Lafayette Business and Professional Women, the Lafayette Altrusa Club, the Association for Women in Communications, the American Business Women’s Association, the Association of Women Business Owners, and the YWCA Greater Lafayette. The YWCA became the sole sponsoring organization in 2000.


After the 2013 awards are presented, 279 women will have received Salute to Women awards.