EVANSVILLE, Ind. — Stepping Up Evansville will honor Deaconess’ Linda White as well as the community’s essential pandemic workers as winners of the 2021 Albion Fellows Bacon Awards.
The awards will be presented during the 18th annual Women’s Equality Celebration luncheon on Aug. 26 featuring astronaut, physician, teacher and author Dr. Mae C. Jemison as the speaker.
The award for White and essential workers is for “their motivational leadership and exemplary dedication.”
Tickets are still available for the 11:30 a.m. luncheon, at the Old National Events Plaza, starting at $60 by visiting SteppingUpEvv.com/tickets.
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White — Chief Administrative Officer of Deaconess Henderson Hospital, long-time Deaconess Health System President and CEO, and a prominent community volunteer — will receive the Inspirational Leader Award. The Unsung Hero award will be given in honor for the work of “essential workers, from medical workers, grocery employees, truckers, firefighters, policemen, cafeteria workers, school teachers, restaurant personnel and countless others who risked their own lives providing vital support in keeping our communities operating and our needs met during the long 18 months of pandemic lockdown.”
The awards are named for Evansville’s famed reformer Albion Fellows Bacon and were created to commemorate the passage of the 19th amendment, granting women the right to vote in America. In addition to the awards presentation at the Women’s Equality luncheon, Jemison will speak. She was the first woman of color to travel in space and continues to work for space exploration and to fight for women in STEM.
To learn more about the luncheon and to purchase tickets or table sponsorships, visit SteppingUpEvv.com/tickets. There are a limited number of tickets. They’ll be sold while seats remain through Aug. 18. No tickets will be available at the door on the day of the event.
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More about Linda White
White is credited with leading Deaconess Hospital System’s growth while maintaining a commitment to patient-centered compassionate care. While she is currently Chief Administrative Officer of the Deaconess Henderson Hospital, she has left her footprint on the whole system. She was instrumental in the creation of a high-quality end-of-life care facility, the Linda E. White Hospice House, which is affectionately called “The White House” according to a release from Stepping Up.
“She does not separate her dedication to her work from her dedication to the people and the community she loves,” said Linda Bennett, President Emeritus of the University of Southern Indiana, in supporting the nomination for White. “Her commitment, courage and vision transformed the Deaconess Health System into one emulated by other systems across the country.”
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White’s connection to Deaconess began nearly 45 years ago when she enrolled in the Deaconess School of Nursing. Through the years her job titles included nurse analyst, Director of Medical/Surgical Nursing, Vice President of Nursing, Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Operating Officer. She was named President of the Hospital in 2002, and the CEO title was added in 2004. After retirement in 2016, she led the Deaconess Foundation before coming out of retirement to take the Henderson hospital leadership.
White initially wanted to follow her father into a career as an engineer studying mathematics at Purdue because women were not accepted at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology at the time. She first became a computer programmer, and at times she was the only woman in the room.
“I didn’t make an issue of it,” she said. “I just sat at the table and did our business.”
She went on to get degrees at Indiana State University and University of Evansville and was named a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. White serves on the board of the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and Old National Bancorp. She has received the Athena Award and was inducted into the EVSC Hall of Fame and Evansville Regional Business Hall of Fame.
Essential workers on the front lines
Organizers for the awards said the essential workers have been the front-line defense in meeting the community’s needs during this deadly pandemic. These workers showed up daily at our hospitals, schools, nursing homes and grocery stores. They collected garbage, provided fire and police protection, delivered curbside meals, gave vaccines, reported the news and treated the critically ill among other essential services.
“The dedication they displayed is unmatched,” organizers wrote in a release to media.
Five women, as representatives of the many thousands of essential workers in our community, will be featured in a video at the luncheon. They include Megan Anderson, a COVID nurse from Deaconess; Ashley Libbert, a public health nurse at a vaccine clinic; Andrea Husk, the manager of Bosse High School’s cafeteria; Kathy Market, a cook at St. Vincent’s Early Learning Center; and Janice Cox, a cashier at Schnucks.
“One of the biggest lessons of the pandemic is how important the essential workers are to our community and our economy,” according to the release. “’The soldier on the front lines is most likely a woman,’ according to a New York Times analysis of census data. ‘Nonwhite women are more likely to be doing essential jobs than anyone else.’ According to the New York Times, ‘Women make up nearly nine out of 10 nurses and nursing assistants, most respiratory therapists, a majority of pharmacists and an overwhelming majority of pharmacy aides and technicians. More than two-thirds of the workers at grocery store checkouts and fast food counters are women.’
“Evansville emerges post-COVID as a stronger and more equitable community, rebuilding in a way that values and cares for all members of society equally. There is no question that these dedicated care-giving women will be at the forefront to get this important work done,” according to the release.
Panel discussion planned for Wednesday
Stepping Up has been hosting panel discussions leading up to the Women’s Equality Day celebration. The next is at noon Wednesday online, “Owning the Workplace: Reaching Your Potential.”
It is free and available on Facebook at facebook.com/steppinguptoequality. This panel session, in collaboration with YWCA Evansville, is designed to offer suggestions for workers at all levels in today’s workforce to navigate advancement, pay equity, professionalism and most importantly how to reach your potential. July 21’s panel, Owning the Workforce, will feature Dentist Marjorie M. Cabell; Jo Ferrell, Co-owner of Home Envy, and Tresa Miller, owner of Grateful Threads. Shelley Kirk, WEHT/WTVW anchor, will moderate.