Moving Indiana Women Forward

Posted by: Kelly Sweeney  | Monday, October 5, 2015 8:00 am

Women quietly do extraordinary things every day. To help recognize and celebrate the strength of Hoosier women, each year the Indiana Commission for Women (ICW) identifies those who lead by example and help break down barriers to women’s full participation in society. As a member of the commission, I was honored to salute the eight outstanding recipients of the prestigious 2015 Torchbearer Award during a recent ceremony in Indianapolis. These women have overcome immense challenges with courage, perseverance and compassion.

The recipients of this year’s awards include: Kathy Cabello, Cabello and Associates; Nimbilasha Cushing, author; Sue Anne Gilroy, St. Vincent’s Foundation; Dr. Dottie King, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods; Angie Lewis, Crane Naval Base; Cynthia Newman, Raising Queens Initiative; Kathy Schoettlin, Old National Bank; and Toby Strout, Middle Way House.

Cynthia Newman, the founder of the Indianapolis-based Raising Queens Initiative, is an inspirational speaker, author and entrepreneur who encourages women and young girls. She founded the initiative after she wrote her book, “Raising Queens,” which empowers women through workshops and her annual Raising Queens Summit held in Indianapolis.

Additional awards were given to a few of these women in recognition of their efforts to move the women of Indiana forward. The Heart of Indiana Award was given to Toby Strout of Bloomington, the Trailblazer Award was given to Sue Ann Gilroy of Indianapolis and the Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Nimbilasha Cushing of South Bend.

As a strong advocate for issues directly impacting Hoosier women both in the Legislature and as a commissioner in the ICW, I was so happy to talk with these award recipients and hear their stories. Their lives have been committed to helping others, and not for the purpose of recognition but for the sincere betterment of society. I know their work is far from done and hope the young women of Indiana will look to them for inspiration and motivation.

I want congratulate these amazing women again on all of their accomplishments. The ICW is committed to the full participation of women in all aspects of society in order to make Indiana a better place to live, work and raise a family. These recipients are prime examples of how we can all help advance women’s issues. Visit for more information on the Torchbearer Awards.


Rep. Kirchhofer represents portions of Perry, Franklin and Warren Townships in Marion County.