Facebook IconInstagram IconSpotify

Women's Leadership Luncheon 2023

Colorful graphic with butterfly and the word, 2023 Women's Leadership Luncheon: Learning Today - Transforming Tomorrow.

Celebrating Our 2023 Honorees

The Women’s Leadership Luncheons celebrate women leaders who are making an impact on our world. Several of our sponsors have named women who they wish to honor for their leadership within their community. Others have named sisters who have impacted their lives. You can read about all of these women honorees and their achievements and positive impacts below. Thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible.

Women Honorees

Sponsor logo for Bayer Honoree

Bayer Crop Science women honoree, Amy Caruano-Yzermans, Ph.D.

Amy Caruano-Yzermans, Ph.D.

Genome Marker Design Lead
Bayer Crop Science

We honor Dr. Amy Caruano-Yzermans, Genome Marker Design lead in the Crop Science Division at Bayer and 20+ year resident of Saint Louis.

An accomplished scientist, Amy consistently creates business value through technical advances that improve crop performance. In addition to her technical contributions, Amy is recognized as a strong leader in Bayer, always prioritizing and ensuring the well-being of her team, peers, and colleagues. Amy ensures that those around her grow and develop as scientists and as individuals. Amy is a passionate champion of inclusion, equity and diversity and has contributed as a leader and participant for many of Bayer's Culture and Business Resource Groups that support professional development of individuals from historically underserved communities.


Sponsor logo for Catholic Housing Initiative, Dallas, Texas Honoree

Catholic Housing Initiative women honoree, Sister Mary Anne Owens

Sister Mary Anne Owens, SSND

Catholic Housing Initiative

Catholic Housing Initiative is honored to present our President, Sister Mary Anne Owens, SSND, as our nominee for the 2023 Women’s Leadership Luncheon.

Service, dedication, and a strong commitment to help the most vulnerable have been Sister Mary Anne’s hallmarks. Born in the magical city of New York City, she grew up in an Irish, Catholic home where an education and a strong faith and love for God were the greatest gifts her parents gave to her.

Sister Mary Anne’s leadership has impacted the families of Long Island, New York, through her work with Catholic Charities. She helped the children and families of the Love Field area as the Principal of Our Lady of Perpetual Help as well as the community of Lafayette, Louisiana, by inaugurating the Justice and Peace office for the Diocese and organizing workshops around racism. She also assisted the families of East Dallas as the Director of the Brady Center and eventually led the Catholic Charities of Dallas, which is a social service agency focused on improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable. As a School Sister of Notre Dame, she served on their provincial council when she and her team orchestrated the historical move of combining four provinces based in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Dallas, and Mankato, as well as the Region of Japan, into one province, the Central Pacific Province.

Today, she sits as the President of Catholic Housing Initiative, a community-based non-profit with a mission of providing quality, affordable housing serving thousands of people in the Dallas area.

Sister’s leadership has impacted communities around the globe! She is an example of servant leadership.

Postscript: When Sister Mary Anne was asked to review the application before submission, she remarked that she didn’t recognize herself, just like a good Irishwoman.


Logo of a blue silhouette of two children and the words Children's Wisconsin Honoree

WLL 2023 Women Honoree Cheryl Brosig Soto, Ph.D.

Cheryl Brosig, Ph.D.

Pediatric psychologist
Children’s Wisconsin

Cheryl Brosig Soto, Ph.D., has been with Children’s Wisconsin since 1997. At heart, she’s a licensed clinical psychologist, with extensive experience working with children affected by chronic illness, particularly congenital heart disease. Across her 26-year career, her influence and leadership have grown. In addition to serving as a pediatric psychologist at Children’s, she is also section chief of Pediatric Psychology and Developmental Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Dr. Brosig was the driving force behind the Herma Heart Institute Developmental Follow-up Program, which is the first program of its kind in the country that routinely follows children with congenital heart disease to ensure they are meeting key milestones. She also plays a critical role in Children’s efforts to improve access to mental health care, specifically working to integrate psychologists into all medical specialty clinics.

As an educator, Dr. Brosig was honored with an Excellence in Professionalism Award. More importantly, she is a tremendous teacher because she has never let go of her passion to continue learning. She is constantly challenging her students and herself to provide patients with the best care possible.

Dr. Brosig received her undergraduate degree at Marquette University, Milwaukee, and her doctorate in clinical psychology at Loyola University of Chicago.


Sponsor Logo for Diamond Hill, Invested in the Long Run Honoree

Heather Brilliant headshot women honoree for the 2023 Women's Leadership Luncheon in Milwaukee.

Heather Brilliant

CEO and President
Diamond Hill

Heather Brilliant is Chief Executive Officer and President of Diamond Hill, an independent active asset management firm in Columbus, Ohio.

Heather’s leadership sets the tone for the firm’s culture and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Heather is incredibly passionate about this topic, not only within Diamond Hill, but she’s a strong advocate for creating diverse and inclusive cultures across the investment management industry.

Heather understands that changes in diversity and demographics do not happen overnight, but she remains committed, knowing that cognitive diversity is a business imperative for success. Through partnerships with Rock the Street Wall Street, SEO and Jopwell, Heather is ensuring the firm is considering diverse candidates at all levels, starting with industry education in high school.

At the community level, Heather has made an initial pledge of $1 million over the next five years to organizations that support anti-racism efforts, diversity and inclusion. She is committed to a future where Diamond Hillis reflective of the communities they serve.

Heather has received numerous awards, including “CEO of the Year” by WealthManagement.com and the Markets Media Women in Finance Award in 2022.


Hoffmann Family of Companies Logo Honoree

Headshot of Jerri Hoffmann, Hoffmann Family of Companies Honoree

Jerri Hoffmann

Hoffmann Family of Companies

Jerri Hoffmann is a philanthropist, businesswoman, mother of three and grandmother to 12. Jerri sits on the Board of Directors of the Naples Downtown Business Improvement District, is a member of the Joffrey Ballet Women’s Board of Directors and was Chairwoman of the 2017 spring gala. She is the past president of the Children’s Home and Aid Society Women’s Board of Directors, where she spearheaded a campaign to raise $10 million to build the Jerri Hoffmann Children’s Home and Aid Center. Jerri also sits on the Board of Directors of the Ragdale (Center for Artists). She has chaired fundraising galas for numerous charity functions, serves on the Sustaining Leadership Council of the Naples Botanical Garden and is a trustee of the Naples Children’s Education Foundation. Jerri is the founder of The Augusta Clothing Company, a boutique with hand-selected collection of clothing and accessories based in Augusta, Missouri, which recently raised money for Central Missouri Honor Flight, a non-profit organization in support of America's veterans. She is truly an inspiration to all.


Jim Butler Chevrolet - www.jimbutlerchevrolet.com Honoree

Jim Butler Chevrolet women honoree, Sister Janice Fennewald

Sister Janice Fennewald, SSND

Transportation Coordinator
School Sisters of Notre Dame Central Pacific Province

On behalf of Jim Butler Auto Group, we are pleased to honor Sister Janice Fennewald.

To know Sister Janice is to know love, peace and God’s grace. Her commitment to Christ and his children along with her undeniable sacrifices are to say the least, exemplary. She brings laughter and joy to all around her.

With all our love, we thank you, Sister Janice. You are a beautiful light in our lives.


Sponsor logo for Mercy Honoree

Mercy women honoree, Bridget Marzette-Bender

Bridget Marzette-Bender

Vice President – DEIB

Bridget currently serves as the vice president of the talent relations center of Mercy Technology Services. While at Mercy, she also served as the human resources director. Prior to joining Mercy, Bridget led diversity initiatives and aligned diversity goals to strategic plans at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Bridget also led the employee engagement diversity and inclusion team at NurseWise, a specialty company for Centene Corporation. She holds a MBA from Fontbonne University in St. Louis.


Logo for Notre Dame School, Dallas Honoree

School Sisters of Notre Dame pin symbol

School Sisters of Notre Dame

Notre Dame School of Dallas honors the School Sisters of Notre Dame for their dedication in educating students with developmental disabilities. Believing that every child is created in the image of God and deserves the right to an education, the SSND opened Notre Dame School in 1963. They were ahead of their time, as it would be another 12 years before legislation required public schools to serve children with disabilities.

Notre Dame School is proud to celebrate its 60th anniversary and continues to uphold the mission of the SSND. Thank you, SSND, for your vision and dedication! We look forward to serving more students and their families for the next 60 years.


Logo for Notre Dame High School, St. Louis Honoree

Sister Jan Berberich headshot Women Honoree, 2023 Women's Leadership Luncheon

Sister Jan Berberich, SSND

Former Teacher
Notre Dame High School, St. Louis

Sister Jan Berberich, SSND, began teaching at Notre Dame High School (NDHS) in the fall of 1986. After 35 years, Sister Jan retired in May of 2022.

Notre Dame High School recognizes Sister Jan as a dedicated educator who fulfilled the mission of the school by educating her students to be confident, compassionate, Christian leaders. Sister Jan is known for teaching in a variety of academic departments including Spanish, Social Studies, and most recently, Theology. A course favorite for Sister Jan’s students was a senior level theology course, Social Justice. In this course, Sister Jan shared her love for the SSND mission and was a social justice role model for hundreds of alumnae. Sister Jan brought global awareness to the NDHS community through her lessons, clubs and faith development.

The Foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger said, “The sun, the light of the world, shines kindly and quietly; it warms so benignly; it is so rich in blessing; my way of life, my example should do that, too.” Sister Jan Berberich was a strong ray of sunshine that filled the halls of Notre Dame High School with such great blessings. NDHS is grateful for her example.


Logo for REDgen Honoree

Amy Lovell, REDgen women honoree of the 2023 Womens Leadership Luncheon

Amy Lovell


For her tireless, compassionate work in the greater Milwaukee community around mental health and addressing the growing issue of trauma, please consider this an enthusiastic nomination of Amy Lovell for recognition at the School Sisters of Notre Dame Women’s Leadership Luncheon.

Amy is the founder and a current founding board member of REDgen, a nonprofit organization consisting of school and university educators, parents, community members, interfaith leaders and health professionals who are committed to working together across systems to promote balance and resiliency in the lives of our youth and families. The group’s hope is to develop a new generation of resilient young people with a healthy understanding of what success means.

Amy and Mike Lovell set the vision for and launched SWIM — Scaling Wellness in Milwaukee — which was formed to increase strategic partnerships between local service providers addressing generational trauma in Milwaukee. Through a collaborative, multidisciplinary model, its mission is to build a trauma-responsive community that heals trauma and promotes resilience.

Strong in her Catholic faith, Amy is generous and kind, and her warmth is genuine and magnetic. Perhaps more importantly, she isn’t afraid to be vulnerable as she lives her life in the service of others.


Logo for Rose Purpero Spang, In memory of Joseph J. Spange and in honor of Gina Spang Honoree

Gina Spang headshot women honoree for the 2023 Women's Leadership Luncheon in Milwaukee.

Gina Spang

Founder & Principal
Spang Strategies, LLC

Gina Spang has 25+ years of experience in the construction industry. Her solid background in both public and private sector provides a unique perspective and approach to her work.

Early in her career, Gina was usually the only female on the construction site or woman in the room. Spang was the first, and to date only, female to serve in the position of Director of Facilities and Maintenance Services for Milwaukee Public Schools. During her tenure, she prioritized projects and directed resources focused on sustainability, green infrastructure, energy conservation, facility modernization and projects that fostered public and private partnerships.

Gina recently launched Spang Strategies, LLC to represent owners as an objective third party to provide guidance on construction projects that they are contemplating or assistance on projects that are currently underway.

Gina is a 2021 Women in Construction Honoree, a 2018 Milwaukee Business Journal’s Woman of Influence, a past recipient of the YWCA Outstanding Woman of Achievement Award and the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award. Gina currently serves on the following boards: Alverno Board of Trustees, Wisconsin Policy Forum, Historic Third Ward Association and the Waukesha YMCA.

Gina credits her parents for her ability to succeed in engineering and construction. “The fact that I was a female, never came up in the conversation when we discussed college or careers. They focused on what I enjoyed (math and science) and said – ok – that sounds great.”

Spang earned her master of business administration from Alverno College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Wintrust Commercial Banking at Town Bank, N. A. Honoree

WLL 2023 Women Honoree Lauren Hess

Lauren Hess

Vice President
Wintrust Commercial Banking

Lauren is a loyal employee of the bank having started her career at Wintrust out of college and earning her way to become the head of Treasury Management for the state of Wisconsin territory at the bank. Lauren is a passionate board member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) having a close family member affected by the disease. She also dedicates her time as a Committee Member of the Waukesha County Business Alliance. Lauren's glowing personality, positive energy and drive to do good for others are just a few reasons that make her an invaluable asset to our community.

Sister Honorees

Sister Celly Ann Amparano

Sister Celly Ann Amparano †

Honored by Claudia Wright

In memory of Sister Celly Ann Amparano who brought joy not only to the SSND community, but the Wright, Neist, Pancella, Moeser and Marton families. We all have happy holiday memories with Celly.

Sister Rose Ann Bacak

Sister Rose Ann Bacak †

Honored by Jack and Georgie Gibbs

The Bacak family was a prominent family in St. Elizabeth’s Parish in Alice, Texas, in the 1950’s. I went to school with the Bacak children at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic School, staffed by the School Sisters of Notre Dame at that time. Rose Ann was two years ahead of me in school, and her brothers, James and Hank, were before and after me. I remember Rose Ann was an excellent student, a very pretty girl, and active in church. Her sister, Barbara, was several years younger and the baby of the family, and also a very pretty girl, and favorite with the Sisters.

Sister Mary Albert Belker

Sister Mary Albert Belker †

Honored by Mary and Leroy F. Ortmeyer, M.D., K.M.

I first knew Sister Albert when she was retired and living in the Motherhouse. We had many conversations and I was impressed with her insight to world affairs and her faith. She came to know my mother when they shared a nursing home room. In spite of increasing difficulties with health, she never lost her optimism and her desire to care for other people. I feel that because of my association with her, I was a better doctor and a better person.

Sister Janise Berberich

Sister Jan Berberich

Honored by Michelle Russo Steeg, NDHS ‘01

I have chosen to honor Sister Jan because of the role she has played in my life. I met Sister Jan nearly 25 years ago and my favorite experience with her was going on a service trip to Honduras. What was so amazing about that trip was that I really got to understand who Sister Jan is as a person. That person is strong, intelligent, and compassionate with unwavering faith. Those are the qualities she then taught to me over the next three years and years after. Sister Jan is an inspiration to me, and I am delighted to be able to call her a friend now.

Sister M. Richtrudis Brauhauser

Sister M. Richtrudis Brauhauser †

Honored by Mary and Leroy F. Ortmeyer, M.D., K.M.

Sister Richtrudis and I met on Tuesdays for many years while I was in practice to care for nuns who found it difficult to come to my office. She was always cheerful and very helpful to me when we met in the infirmary. We grew to be great friends and worked well together. I could see her great love for God and her fellow sisters and will always respect and cherish her memory. She was the perfect example of a Notre Dame sister.

Sister Mary Benilda Dix

Sister Mary Benilda Dix

Honored by Betty Mutza

I met Sister Benilda through my husband, Jerry. Sister was Jerry’s high school English teacher back in the 1950’s. She and I developed a mutual friendship over the years. We never accomplished any great achievements or won any awards, but she taught me about kindness and compassion. She always had time to listen. She cared! I thank her for the gifts she shared with me.

Photo of Sister Patricia Gravemann

Sister Patricia Gravemann

Honored by Joan C. Harris

In honor of my dear cousin for her dedication and extra efforts to support the SSND retired sisters. She is always uplifting!

Photo of Sister Clarea Hotze

Sister Clarea Hotze †

Honored by Jack and Georgie Gibbs

Sister Clarea taught 7th and 8th grade at St. Elizabeth’s Catholic School in Alice, Texas, in the last 1950’s. I attended her classes in 1953-54 and 1954-55. She was a very inspirational teacher and expected the best from her students. She was a joyful and cheerful person, but a strict disciplinarian. She gave me the love of learning and the mastery of good study habits that carried me easily through public high school, college and later in life. Aside from my parents, Sister Clarea was the first major influence on my life.

Sister Linda Jansen

Sister Linda Jansen

Honored by Jack and Georgie Gibbs

In honor of Sister Linda Jansen and her 61 years of service with the School Sisters of Notre Dame. My wife and I traveled from Texas to attend the signature event in 2019 at the Motherhouse and Sister Linda hosted us for several days. She took us to visit the grave of Sister Clarea Hotze, who taught me in Alice, Texas. She also took us to The Sarah Community to visit Sister Mary Helen Hotze, Sister Clarea’s sister. Since that visit, Sister Linda has kept us informed about SSND activity through her continued contact with us.

Sister Leonette Juengst

Sister Leonette Juengst

Honored by Tom Juengst

In honor of my dear sister, Sister Leonette.

Sister Mary Carla Koestner

Sister Mary Carla Koestner †

Honored by Catherine Weide

Sister Carla had a huge impact on my life. I took private piano lessons from her from 2nd grade until college. She also taught me to play the organ in church. Through those years, she and the rest of the sisters were a place of refuge, encouragement and love. She helped me be a strong person and confident in myself. I moved on to college and found a wonderful man to marry. My husband and I lived most of our life on the East Coast and then Florida. On our summer trips to Iowa, we would often stop in Burlington and then St. Louis to see her. At first she was disappointed that my husband was not Catholic, and he was not converting. But after several trips to St. Louis, she told me that he has been, and is, a good husband and father. He cares so much about me to go out of his way to visit a convent on our vacation.

Sister Urban Maureen Molitor

Sister Urban Maureen Molitor

Honored by The Honorable Andrew J. Gleeson

I first met Sister Urban as a grade schooler at Holy Angels in East St. Louis, Il. She was in community with an exemplary group of educators that I was blessed to have been taught by and spiritually led.

These were turbulent times in the East St. Louis community and the year 1972 was a particularly traumatic time in my own life. Sister Urban was always a calming and positive presence at Holy Angels.

Fast forward 30 years or so, I became reacquainted with Sister as I sought to support and affirm the SSND mission that I so greatly benefited from and appreciated.

Sister Urban remains a positive presence in my life as she periodically writes words of inspiration as I grapple with the challenges of my work and life. Her message to me, “sometimes only in God’s grace will you find the answer. Pray and seek it!” Thank you, Sister Urban Maureen Molitor.

Sister Mary Gilda Sturino

Sister Mary Gilda Sturino

Honored by David Barnes

Throughout my life, Aunt Mary (Sister Gilda) has been a role model of devotion, caring and understanding while being a constant source of inspiration and good humor!

Photo of Sister John Ann Zettelmaier

Sister John Ann Zettelmaier

Honored by the Family of Sisters Ara Coeli, Melmarie, and Marie Gabriel

Sister John Ann has been a wonderful, caring, humble friend to the Stoll family for countless years. Sister has the happiest disposition of anyone I know. She can always find the positive in any situation she faces. Her contagious laugh goes hand in hand with her wonderful sense of humor. She prefers to not be in the limelight but still be right in the mix of all that is going on in life. Sister John Ann is truly a humble servant of God and a model for all women. Our family LOVES her and feel she is the 4th aunt of our family. I am blessed to have known her most of my life and honored to have her as my close friend.


Jackson Walker Honoree

Headshot of Julia Dodd, Jackson Walker Honoree

Julia Dodd

Vice President
Lockton Dunning Benefits Associates

With more than 20 years of leadership experience in law, healthcare, risk management, and business development, Julia Dodd is known for her intelligence and partnership within the Dallas community and beyond. Ms. Dodd currently serves as Vice President for Lockton Dunning Benefits.

Prior to her role at Lockton, Ms. Dodd was a former healthcare law section head and partner at a major Dallas law firm, headed Dodd and Associates, and served on the team for the Coalition for Affordable and Reliable Healthcare. There, she led the grassroots effort for both state and federal tort reform, including passing tort reform that resulted in a 90% decrease in medical malpractice litigation in Texas.

Rooted in the humble values she learned growing up in a small country community, Ms. Dodd leads by example, from small town to big city. She is the co-founder of Women in the Know, a C-suite women’s networking group dedicated to bringing awareness and action for local Dallas community charities and needs. Ms. Dodd also previously served on the board of AVANCE, a national organization working to serve families in need. Advocacy for those in need is the cornerstone of her professional and personal goals.


Midwest Bank Centre - www.midwestbankcentre.com Honoree

Photo of Heather Indelicato for Women's Leadership Luncheon women honorees webpage

Heather Indelicato

Senior Vice President, Deposit Operations
Midwest BankCentre

Midwest BankCentre would like to honor Heather Indelicato for the amazing leadership she has provided at our community bank and throughout the community.

Heather Indelicato is Senior Vice President of the Deposit Operations team. She was promoted to this role as a stretch opportunity. Her job was to be a changemaker: to take a team who was well entrenched in their routine to think differently, to be more creative, effective, and efficient in their work.

It takes time to build the kind of trust needed to make a wholesale change. As it turned out, Heather was just six months in her new role when the pandemic hit, and everyone was forced to work remotely-a first for everyone on her team.

Heather relied on her communication and leadership skills to orchestrate a complete paradigm shift. She collaborated with IT to ensure the hardware and security were in place and trained her entire team so they would feel confident in processing critical customer transactions from their new offices, which were now on their dining room tables or in a spare bedroom at their homes.

Heather led her 25-person team through this traumatic change while also caring for her family, including two young children. Because of her leadership, Midwest BankCentre did not miss a beat.


Sponsor logo for Milwaukee Catholic Home, a life engaged Honoree

Headshot of Katie Grant, Milwaukee Catholic Home Honoree

Katie Grant

Vice President of Clinical Integration
Milwaukee Catholic Home

Katie Grant, Vice President of Clinical Integration, has served in a leadership role in a long-term care for over 25 years. Katie has her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, is a Registered Nurse and is also certified as a CPR instructor through American Red Cross and a Community Based Residential Facility Trainer though the State of Wisconsin. Since Katie came to Milwaukee Catholic Home, she has implemented Electronic Medical Records and guided the organization on their Quality Assurance Performance Improvement journey. Katie also serves as a Clinical Consultant, providing support to interdisciplinary clinical teams at MCH, School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSND) and other senior communities. She serves on the Board of Directors for Our Lady of the Angels Convent. She has tirelessly led the nursing team of SSND Elm Grove throughout the past four years with unimaginable clinical challenges related to the pandemic and the changing, reduced work force in long-term care. Katie is currently working to develop a CNA Training and Certification Course to be offered through Milwaukee Catholic Home Management Services. She successfully has transitioned staff and residents to the beautiful new Trinity Woods Community. Her knowledge, energy and giving spirit exemplifies servant leadership.


Want to learn more?


School Sisters of Notre Dame

320 East Ripa Avenue

St. Louis, MO 63125

Phone: 314-561-4100



© 2022 School Sisters of Notre Dame