The YWCA Darien/Norwalk will honor six local women who have made significant contributions to the community at the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards and Luncheon on Thursday at Woodway Country Club in Darien.
The Women of Distinction Award is bestowed in recognition of the outstanding achievements of a select group of women who demonstrate the spirit of the YWCA's brand vision to empower women.
This year's honorees are: Susan Daly, Lisa Joyce, Kiki Karpen, Grace Lichtenstein and Jeanne Marconi. Katie Grozier will be honored as a Young Woman of Distinction, recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of a woman under 21 years of age. An additional award, the Distinguished Service Award, will be presented this year to longtime Darien resident and YWCA advocate Anne Flanagan.
YWCA Darien/Norwalk Woman of Distinction Kiki Karpen's distinguished service career began as Darien President of the League of Women Voters in the late 1980s and later served in other local and state roles including president of the League of Women Voters of Connecticut.
Other areas where Karpen has provided leadership include the Board of Finance of Darien, the Darien Library Board, the CT Public Affairs Network, Darien Chamber of Commerce, the Advisory Committee of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, and the UConn Program on Nonprofit Leadership. As the current executive director of the Community Fund of Darien, she has enhanced the mission of the organization beyond raising money and providing annual grants to health and human services agencies.
She has been a driving force in community collaboration by leading several initiatives that address the gaps in human services in Darien including "Aging in Place" and "Thriving Youth Connected Community."
Darien and Norwalk pediatrician Jeanne Marconi has spent the last 20 years as a dedicated doctor at The Center For Advanced Pediatrics. Marconi has advanced the practice from simple check-ups and sick appointments to comprehensive expanded services that include a Breastfeeding Center; pediatric endocrine and diabetes specialists; family travel medicine; nutritional services, including an obesity program recognized by Michele Obama; pre-natal baby classes; child and adolescent mental health services; and concussion management all under one roof.
She also spearheaded the center's Urgi-Kids program which allows any child in need of medical attention to access the same equipment and procedures of an emergency room in a more child-friendly environment.
Darien resident Lisa Joyce's contributions to her community have extended beyond her dedicated volunteerism. Not only is she known for providing thoughtful and insightful leadership, but she is also recognized for her diplomacy and graceful approach to resolving issues.
Joyce has served as board secretary for the Darien Community Association for the past two years and has also brought her energy and enthusiasm to the executive committee and two subcommittees.
She also volunteers for The Community Fund of Darien in several capacities, serving on The Community Fund Board (she served two years as first vice president), the Allocations Executive Committee and The Youth Community Fund as an adult advisor since its inception.
In addition, she held several volunteer roles at the Convent of the Sacred Heart Greenwich from 2003-2008.
Joyce's passion for helping children is exemplified by her advocacy and volunteerism for the past eight years in the Shepherds Program, a nonprofit organization committed to assisting at-risk inner city Connecticut youths.
Joyce facilitated the Shepherd's Literacy program and also served as a sponsor and mentor for several years to two at-risk students who are now pursuing college educations.
Grace Lichtenstein is an honoree who has made numerous significant contributions to the Darien, Norwalk, and Rowayton communities for more than 50 years.
Lichtenstein broke new ground as the first and only woman to serve as commissioner for the Sixth Taxing District (Rowayton), a post she held for 12 years, and received the first annual Sixth Taxing District Commissioner's Award for service.
Lichtenstein also served as the chairman of the Planning Committee that was instrumental to the revitalization of South Norwalk, a role that led to her receiving the National Historic Preservation Award from the National Historic Trust.
She has been dedicated to the local environment and has served as president of "Preserve the Wetlands."
She is a pioneer whose many accomplishments are best demonstrated by her numerous "Grace W. Lichtenstein Day" proclamations, which she has received at both the state and local levels for her many years of dedication, service and contributions to Connecticut, Norwalk and the Sixth Taxing District.
Honoree Susan Daly has been actively involved in trying to better the community since she moved to Darien in 2004.
Daly has been serving as a member of the Darien Parks and Recreation Commission since 2007.
She helped raise more than a quarter of a million dollars from Darien residents and businesses to build a new playground by Weed Beach while she was co-chair of Playground by the Sound.
She also served as a Weed Beach Building Committee member and continues to serve on the committee today to oversee the implementation of the Weed Beach Master Plan and related fundraising efforts.
Since 2005, she has served on the committee for the YWCA Push-n-Pull Parade that draws over 3,000 residents. Most recently, Susan co-founded Foreign Language for Darien's Schools, a committee that lobbied the school board to bring foreign language to Darien's elementary schools.
She has also been very active in the Tokeneke PTA and is receiving this year's Tokeneke PTA's nomination for the Community Fund's Volunteer of the Year.
She was the only freshman to be involved in the organization buildOn, an organization that assists underdeveloped countries further its education systems, and has served as the buildOn vice president for the past two years.
She also was selected for leadership programs with buildOn during the past two summers which included traveling to Africa to build a school for a rural community.
Grozier has also been involved with the organization ChinaCare and has also volunteered locally at the New Canaan and Stamford Nature Centers, Scofield Manor, Chester Addison, the AIDS walk, Pacific House, Darien Book Aid and Stepping Stones Museum.
She is the print editor of Neirad, serves as vice president of the National Honor Society and runs on the Darien track team.
Tickets for the luncheon are on sale at the YWCA website at www.ywcadariennorwalk.org and can also be purchased at the YWCA Darien/Norwalk office at 49 Old Kings Highway North in Darien by calling 203-655-2535 or visiting www.ywcadariennorwalk.org. Event sponsorship is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the YWCA Darien/Norwalk office at 203-655-2535.