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Good afternoon. I am so glad to be with you today, recognizing and celebrating the contributions of these outstanding women and Women’s History Month. I am proud to be in your company, enjoying this lovely meal on a beautiful spring day. A lot of people work very hard to bring this event together: the Commission on the Status of Women, our wonderful performers today, all the nominators, the terrific staff of the City of Bloomington Community and Family Resources Department including Beverly Calender-Anderson and Sue Owens, and of course our generous sponsors who make it possible to be here enjoying the hospitality of the Monroe County Convention Center. Please join me in thanking them along with the team of people who prepared and are serving our meal today. 

We are here to honor and celebrate a very accomplished woman as the 2017 woman of the year. I want also to recognize the contributions of every woman in this room and every woman who contributed to their success.  Because that’s what women do. They make things work.

I recently heard the telling story from a female friend, who told me about their 18-year-old son who was getting ready to head imminently off to college, but he didn’t have his paperwork in order and wasn’t sure where he was going to be living that semester. When she questioned her son, he said, “Oh, don’t worry, Mom. Things always have a way of working out.” You can imagine different responses to his laissez faire attitude to this rather urgent situation. Her reaction was priceless, and I think telling, when she grabbed his face, between her hands, looked him right in the eyes and declared, “They work out because I MAKE them work out!”

Women work things out - for their families, for their workplaces, for their community, for their country, and for each other.  I think about the women in Bloomington who keep this city running - not just at the City administration of Bloomington, where we have many outstanding women in positions of leadership, but in local business: Melanie Walker from Tasus, Sarah Rogers at the IU Credit Union and Cindy Kinnarney at First Financial and Liz Feitl with AFL-CIO. At Not-for profits: Kristin Bishay at CASA, Susan Rinne at Life Designs, Leslie Green at Cornerstone, and of course our dear dear late friend Toby Strout, and now Debra Morrow at the helm of Middle Way House. In education: Lauren Robel and Jennie Vaughan and our honoree today, and Sue Wanzer, Jeannine Butler, Martha Street, Lois Sabo-Skelton, Cathy Fuentes Rohwer. And in politics at all levels: with Susan Sandberg, Dorothy Granger, Allison Chopra, Isabel Piedmont Smith, and Nicole Bolden, and Julie Thomas, Amanda Barge, and Cheryl Munson, Lee Jones, Marty Hawk, and Shelli Yoder, and Nicole Browne and Jessica McClellan and Lillian Hennegar and Valerie Haughton and so many more…...  

These are just some of the women making things work out. More examples are seated next to each of us today. Each of you, in your spheres of influence, works things out and makes good things happen.

The world today is a very different place than it was when many of us met in this space to celebrate one year ago. A major shift in leadership in this nation has brought great concern. Immediately after the election, who were the first people to organize? Women. Locally and around the country. Two days following the election, here in Bloomington, women leaders held a lunch meeting to yes, commiserate, and then immediately start planning what their resistance would entail. What their persistence would involve, nevertheless.

From pink hats to social media campaigns to journeys to Indianapolis and Washington, D.C., women are leading this community and this country in efforts to protest unwise, unfair and unlawful policies. I trust and believe it will be women who will be the critical leaders of this nation. To every young woman or girl out there today, remember this is your country, and we all need you to dig in and MAKE THINGS WORK OUT!

And now it is my honor to introduce our 2017 Woman of the Year, a woman who her whole career has dug in and excelled, and made things work out:  Monroe County Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Judy DeMuth.

I won’t read Judy’s bio, which is in the program, where you can see her extraordinary range of education roles, including serving as superintendent at 3 different school districts; her degrees from 3 state universities (which must be confusing on sports weekends). Her tireless involvement in so many civic activities.

Judy you are honored here today by this community as a great leader. Your peers and colleagues and neighbors selected you. They know that the schools you lead are asked to do so much. More and more. And more and more. And they know that you lead this incredibly complex and incredibly important system with integrity and imagination and commitment.

The degree of success of our school system, with every student, determines as much as anything, the future of our community.

No pressure Judy—and we honor Judy as someone who has thrived and excelled in the system as a whole, but also Judy has brought a deep sense of purpose, and equity and fairness. You read or may have known already about Judy’s deep and personal commitment to full opportunity for all, whatever your gender, race, religion, background, economic status or ethnicity. Her belief that secretaries in the MCCSC system should get fair pay. Her commitment to STEM opportunities to young girls. Her ability to bring diverse people along together.

Judy your commitment to the fair and equal treatment of every student in the Monroe County Community School System is a model for every school system in the country. We are all so proud to know you.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the 2017 Woman of the Year, Dr. Judy Demuth.

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