Mayor honored with YWCA Woman of Power Award
The YWCA aims to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen communities. A small part of those efforts involve recognizing those in members in YWCA communities that make a difference. On March 24, 2021, the Minneapolis YWCA selected Richfield Mayor Maria Regan Gonzalez for its fourth annual Women of Power Award.
“Maria embodies the values and mission of YWCA Minneapolis through her extraordinary commitment to social and racial equity, dignity, justice and peace,” said the YWCA in a statement announcing this year’s award.
The Woman of Power Award is presented to an individual each year who has shown extraordinary leadership, dedication and achievement in all of YWCA’s core values: peace, justice, freedom and dignity.
“Maria is a strong and effective leader who makes tangible changes to advance racial and health equity,” remarked Carolyn Link, president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation and board member of YWCA Minneapolis. “From tackling racial inequities as mayor of Richfield, to helping improve the health of all Minnesotans through her corporate and board leadership, Maria models a leadership style that transforms systems and inspires emerging leaders along the way.”
The YWCA of Minneapolis established the Woman of Power Award in 2018 to honor women across the Twin Cities who have demonstrated commitment, enthusiasm and support for YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.
Previous Women of Power honorees include Shelley Carthen Watson, Sharon Sayles Belton and Kim Nelson.
One previous Woman of Power award winner from another YWCA jurisdiction hits much closer to home for the mayor. Her mother, Belem Regan, received the 2000 iteration of the award, then known as the Woman of Distinction Award, from the Rock County YWCA in Wisconsin.
Regan Gonzalez credits her mother’s work with the YWCA as a major influence on her childhood and as a signpost for her role as a leader in the Twin Cities.
“As an organization, the Minneapolis YWCA is at the forefront of enacting positive social change and creating opportunities in the Twin Cities,” explained Regan Gonzalez. “I am humbled and thankful that they would honor me with such a prestigious award.”
The 2021 Woman of Power Award will be presented to Mayor Regan Gonzalez during the YWCA’s annual Circle of Women event.