On Thursday, May 4, the Chicago Defender honored 50 Women of Excellence who were nominated by their various communities where they work, pray and play. The nominations covered a spectrum of types–women in the private and public sectors representing different industries from municipalities, finance, banking, education, Real Estate, Arts and Culture, Non profit, Healthcare, Law, Marketing, Special Events, Journalism, Sports, Energy and more. The women selected represent excellence both demonstrating performance on the job and in their community.

The 50 honorees chosen are amongst Chicago’s most outstanding women whose lives exemplify the spirit of performing at the top of their game and giving back to the community. They are women who exemplify extraordinary  stature, poise and grace. They are women who stare adversity in the face with hand on their hips and a smile on their face, set the pace and finish the race in first place.

1. Women of Excellence 2017

The Women of Excellence Class of 2017. (Photo by Worsom Robinson)

2. Women of Excellence 2017

WOE 2017 Class President makes remarks on behalf of all honorees. (Photo by Worsom Robinson)

3. Women of Excellence 2017

WOE Honoree Dana Phillips Goodum of Illinois Sports Facilities Authority. (Photo by Derrick Triplett)

4. Women of Excellence 2017

Emcees Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner of Windy City LIVE on ABC7. (Photo by Derrick Triplett)

5. Women of Excellence 2017

Chicago Defender Executive Editor Shari Noland, J.B. Pritzker, and Frances Jackson, Chicago Defender Publisher. (Photo by Worsom Robinson)

6. Women of Excellence 2017

The Marriott Magnificent Mile Grand Ballroom was filled with guests. (Photo by Worsom Robinson)

7. Women of Excellence 2017

A champagne toast to the 2017 Women of Excellence. (Photo by Worsom Robinson)

8. Women of Excellence 2017

WOE Honoree Karyn Aguirre, State Rep. Camille Lilly, Midge Kimberly of Champagne and Beyond, singer and perfomer Candice Marie, Melinda Kelly of Chatham Business Association and Mable Buckner of Steeterville Chamber of Commerce are performing to Tina Turner’s Rolling on the River. (Photo by Worsom Robinson)

9. Women of Excellence 2017

Left to right: Dirk Allison, WOE Honoree LaShun James, Darby Anderson, Brad Bickham all of Addus Homecare. (Photo by Derrick Triplett)

10. Women of Excellence 2017

Row seated: Jiquanda Nelson (Walgreens), Charlotte Morgan, and WOE Honoree Dana Holmes. Standing: Tolise Alexander (COLDWELL Banker), Cassandra Holt (Chase Bank), Jill Wolowitz (HCSC), Jackie Jackson (BCBSIL), Deja Holmes and Shelley Long (BCBSIL). (Photo by Derrick Triplett)

11. Women of Excellence 2017

High Tea anyone? The beautiful women are ready. (Photo by Derrick Triplett)

12. Women of Excellence 2017

Chicago Defender Publisher Frances Jackson and WOE Honoree Cassandra Prince-Coachman of KPMG. (Photo by Worsom Robinson)

13. Women of Excellence 2017

WOE Honoree Karin Mechelle Norington-Reaves, State Rep. LaShawn Ford and State Rep. Mary Flowers. (Photo by Worsom Robinson)

14. Women of Excellence 2017

Octavia G. Matthews, WOE Honoree Karin Aguirre, Letitia Cameron, Murrieal Orendorff. (Photo by Derrick Triplett)

15. Women of Excellence 2017

State Rep. Camille Lilly, Melinda Kelly of Chatham Business Association, WOE Honoree Gwendolyn Shaw of COUNTRY Financial and WOE Honoree Josephine Wade-Smith of Josephine’s Cooking. (Photo by Derrick Triplett)

16. Women of Excellence 2017

WOE Honoree Valerie Spiller Stefanic, Celeste Shores, and Gloria Batey of the William Everette Group. (Photo by Derrick Triplett)

17. Women of Excellence 2017

WOE Honoree Marilyn Render of American Health Information Management Association. (Photo by Derrick Triplett)