2023 Rosie Awards honor Northland women
Six winners from various walks of life were honored during International Women's Day for their leadership, mentorship, volunteerism and community-building.
DULUTH — The Woman Today 's Rosie Awards recognized several exceptional honorees during a ceremony on International Women's Day .
The Rosie Award is named after the cultural icon Rosie the Riveter and presented to a woman who gets stuff done.
This year's Rosie Awards were presented Wednesday evening at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. The Rosie Award was presented to Patrice Critchley-Menor, the director of social apostolate at the Diocese of Duluth, where she's worked for 25 years. Critchley-Menor serves on a wide variety of local nonprofit boards, including Life House and the Damiano Center, and is the board chair for CHUM.
"She's always thinking strategically, considering the desired outcome before thinking about what actions she should take," read a statement from her nominator. "Always asking how this will affect the mission or the goal of the organization. She never expects others to do things she's unwilling to do."
Critchley-Menor has also created grant funds to small food shelves and homeless shelters and for emergency assistance. She serves on the Interfaith Committee of Migrant Justice and is working to bring Ukrainian refugees to Duluth.
"Patrice understands the importance of building relationships, working to understand issues from all sides, and spending the time necessary to develop trust in a time of great division," read the nominating statement. "Patrice shows how people have differing beliefs and views can reach common ground, modeling respectful disagreement and inviting input from those not represented. These relationships are key to her ability to get things done."
Most Engaged Volunteer
Joyce Vesel received the Most Engaged Volunteer Award, which is given to a woman who goes above and beyond and works tirelessly in the region for the good of all. Vesel is a key volunteer at the Hibbing Salvation Army who organizes its Christmas giveaway program. She also volunteers at the Salvation Army's soup kitchen; shops for groceries for people who cannot shop for themselves with Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Center; and volunteers at the Precious Paws animal shelter in Chisholm.
"Her willingness to help anyone in need is amazing," read her nomination letter. "She always puts others' needs before her own and she puts in countless hours through the week. She's a wonderful example of how volunteering can affect so many lives."
Sue DeNio received the Mentor Award, which is given to a woman who has acted as an experienced and trusted adviser to those around her. DeNio is a program associate of National History Day in Minnesota who is noted for her mentorship of 1,400 students at 13-18 schools in Northeastern Minnesota. Over the years, 39 of DeNio's former students qualified for the national level of competition. Three of the projects were awarded first place and five were rated in the nation's top five.
Several former students nominated DeNio for her mentorship.
"I first met Sue when I was in the seventh grade while working on my first National History Day project," read one of her nomination letters. "Since then, she has acted as a constant mentor in my life, inspiring my love of historical research and getting involved with political activism in the Duluth community."
ChaQuana McEntyre received the Trailblazer Award, which is presented to a woman who is willing to step out and blaze a new positive path for others to follow. McEntrye is the founder and executive director of Family Rise Together , an organization which provides services to support the stability of fathers who have been incarcerated and single-parent households. She's the newly appointed president of the Duluth Economic Development Authority and has trained and assisted dozens of entrepreneurs who are people of color and helped them start businesses.
"She is the matriarch of her family. She's a daughter, sister, auntie, leader, advocate of the voiceless and an amazing friend," read her nomination letter. "ChaQuana does not run from adversity. She problem solves it. She's an overcomer and a generational curse breaker."
Tonya Loken received the Leadership Award, which is given to a woman who demonstrates outstanding leadership by challenging, motivating and inspiring others in their field of endeavor. Loken is the community relations director for Essentia Health.
"Tonya is highly respected at Essentia for being a community advocate and a trusted resource for community facing work, while motivating and inspiring others to lead with respect, empathy, and equality," read her nomination letter. "She is a leader who learns from her values and is never silent about hard things."
Loken is also noted for volunteering with the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce on the Leadership Duluth steering committee for six years. She's a board member for One Roof Community Housing, Northwoods Children's Services and the Ronald McDonald House Upper Midwest.
Silent Advocate Award
Tina Roberts received the Silent Advocate Award, which is given to a woman who silently helps her community and her neighbors. Roberts is a social worker at St. Luke's who works with patients in the cancer center.
"Tina's warmth makes everyone feel welcomed and appreciated," read her nomination letter. "When I think of someone who is truly a silent advocate for our patients, I think of Tina. She gets to know patients on a level that most involved in day-to-day care do not get the opportunity to. She listens to patients' needs, and is the first to chime in if something in their care doesn't seem quite right."