Women of Achievement gather at WKU Alumi Center

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- On Saturday, the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission held the 24th Annual Women of Achievement banquet.

The luncheon was hosted at the Augenstein Alumni Center, just off the campus of WKU.

Those in attendance included Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Jenean Hampton, recipient of the 2016 "Women's First" award.

The award went to Hampton for being the first African American woman to claim the Lieutenant Governor's Office, as well as the first African American elected to state-wide office in Kentucky.

"It's very inspiring," said Hampton. "One of things I get to do as Lieutenant Governor is talk to women and girls and kids about getting involved in their government, and many are thinking about it, so it's nice to see people diving in."

Hampton told WBKO she definitely didn't feel lonely at the top, knowing there were plenty of women in this part of the state making big strides of their own.

"We've got some people here in Bowling Green, women already in politics here in Bowling Green, in government."

In fact, the "Woman of the Year" award went to Leyda Becker for her work with Bowling Green city government.

To most, Becker was a fresh face on the scene, but she was no stranger to success.

Venezuelan born, Becker is a graduate of WKU who is building a legacy for public service.

"I work as the international community's liaison for the city government, and it's a relatively new position over the last four years to build the capacity of our foreign-born residents, immigrants and refugees to be able to participate actively in city government and access city services," said Becker.

Included on her long list of achievements is the launch of Bowling Green's first Spanish language radio show, "La Nuestra," as well as the only bilingual E-newsletter.

Executive Director of the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission, Alice Waddell, said she couldn't be more proud of the women in our community for taking charge of their futures.

"They share, they give so much back to the community, which is the most important thing. They're not necessarily as strong as men in [physical] strength, but certainly are when it comes to inner strength."

For a complete list of today's winners, please see below:

Arts - Lane Pham

Business - Sue Parrigan

Community Service - Melinda Hill

Education/Elementary - NA

Education/Middle - Marilann Melton

Education/High - NA

Education/College - NA

Education/Administration - Cordelia Thompson

Entrepreneurship - Lanna Kilgore

Posthumous - Vivian Glass and Anges Thedders Carr Alexander

Science and Health - NA

Woman of Distinction - Katherine Sikora

Women's First - Jenean Hampton

Women Reaching Higher - Carla Brown

Woman of the Year - Leyda Becker

Youth Achievement - Jayme Hardy

Lifetime Achievement - Rebecca Painter

Native Daughter - Sarah Schrader

Keeper of the DREAM - Linda McCray

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