Meet the Six ‘Women of Distinction’ for 2017 Announced by YWCA Darien/Norwalk

Women of Distinction 2017 invitation 04-05-17
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Six women from Darien and Norwalk who have been active in various causes and institutions meant to improve the lives of people have been named “2017 Women of Distinction” by the YWCA Darien/Norwalk.

An award luncheon is scheduled for May 4 at Woodway Country Club to honor these six women (information below is from the YW website, and we’ve included the full biographical information further down in this article:

Kara Nelson Baekey of Norwalk, founder of the Fairfield County chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

Mindy Garcia of Norwalk, who works at Norwalk Community Health Center “is being recognized on behalf of the hundred[s] of staff members, clinicians and countless patients’ families she has touched […] for over 10 years.”

Catalina Horak of Darien, brought a Mount Kisco, N.Y.-based group, Neighbors Link (now named Building One Community), to Stamford in 2011 to serve an immigrant community that now makes up 37 percent of the city’s population. When she first opened the office, she was the sole employee in Stamford. “To date, Building One Community has assisted approximately 6,000 immigrants from 55 countries and employs 18 people.”

Lisa Koorbusch of Darien has been an active volunteer for several area organizations, including the Alzheimer’s Association CT Chapter. “In 2013, along with five other women, she was pivotal in founding the association’s annual gala, ‘Celebrating Hope.’ To date they have raised $800,000. They also hold a Walk to End Alzheimer’s each fall that the whole family can participate in.” She’s also been an active volunteer for Person-to-Person, the Darien Depot Youth Center and the Bennett Cancer Center in Stamford.

Leslie Pennington of Darien has been an active volunteer at the Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust, which runs the Andrew Shaw Scout Cabin for Darien Boy Scouts, running the giant annual tag sale, serving on the board and as a past president of the organization. She’s also volunteered with the Pear Tree Point School and Royle School parent-teacher organizations and manages the website for the Darien squash team.

Katie Schorr will be honored as a Young Woman of Distinction, recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of a woman under 21 years of age. An active girl scout, she achieved that group’s highest award, the Gold Award, for a project teaching 20 children, ages 6 to 12, about Long Island Sound’s ecosystems, ecology and species. She’s a member of the Gay-Straight Alliance at Darien High School, which encourages tolerance and inclusion for all students and all gender identities, and is an altar server at St. John Roman Catholic Church. She’s also a counselor at Darien Nature Center summer camp.

Here’s the full biographical information about each award-winner from the YW website. has asked the YW to provide text copies that would be easier to read. When those are provided, we’ll replace this version:

Kara Baekey Women of Distinction YW 04-06-17

Mindy Garcia Women of Distinction YW 04-05-17

Catalina Horak Women of Distinction 04-05-17

Lisa Koorbusch Women of Distinction 04-05-17

Leslie Pennington Women of Distinction YW 04-05-17

Katie Schorr Women of Distinction 04-05-17

Here’s the announcement from the YW:

The YWCA Darien/Norwalk is pleased to announce the six honorees for the 2017 Women of Distinction Awards and Luncheon on May 4, 2017 at Woodway Country Club in Darien.

The distinguished honorees are: Kara Nelson Baekey, Mindy Garcia, Catalina Horak, Lisa Koorbusch and Leslie Pennington.  Katie Schorr will be honored as a Young Woman of Distinction, recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of a woman under 21 years of age.

The Women of Distinction Award is bestowed in recognition of the outstanding achievements of a select group of women. Local residents and business owners nominate women who live or work in Darien and Norwalk whose significant and unique contributions have made a difference in our community.

The YWCA Darien/Norwalk Women of Distinction Nominations Committee reviews the nominations and selects the honorees.

“The YWCA Darien/Norwalk Women of Distinction Event is a fantastic event honoring amazing women in our local community.  This is my second year chairing the event and I am excited to introduce our selected Women of Distinction to the luncheon attendees,” said Aidan Welsh, Board Member and Chair.

“We received more than twice the nominations compared to previous years and I can certainly say that this year’s group of nominees included some of the most accomplished, dedicated, and interesting women we at the YWCA have had the honor of being able to recognize,” she said. “We want to congratulate our selected Women of Distinction and all women nominated. You make us proud.”

This event is open to the public. Tickets for the luncheon are on sale now and can be purchased on the YWCA Darien/Norwalk website. For further inquiries about this event or to become a sponsor please contact .

The YWCA Darien/Norwalk is a non-profit organization dedicated to giving women the support and tools they need to transform their lives, be confident in their choices and raise healthy families.  Its national mission, eliminating racism and empowering women, translates locally into a vision to create opportunities for growth, leadership and empowerment for all women and families. The YWCA Darien/Norwalk is located at 49 Old King’s Highway North in Darien, CT.  For more information, please visit or call 203-655-2535.

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