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2023 Woman of Distinction Award


At its 2023 Magnificent Mardi Gras fundraiser, the Zonta Club of Joliet Area presented its prestigious Woman of Distinction Award to Mrs. Carolyn Kahn, MA, LCPC, CDVP. She is the Executive Director of Bridges to New Day, nfp. Mrs. Khan has a masters degree in counseling from Governors State University. She is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and a certified domestic violence professional (CDVP). She is a founding member of the organization. She has worked in the social service field for over 20 years. In her career, she developed and implemented a program that provided services to preschools and grade schools after a violent incident occurred in the community. As well, she trained staff and developed a parenting program that provided in-home visitation as well as parenting groups in both English and Spanish. In addition, she has provided counseling to adults, children, couples and families. Mrs. Khan is past president of the Illinois Certified Domestic Violence Professional Board. She is past president of the Illinois Mental Health Counselors Board, and is currently President-Elect of the Illinois Counseling Association and Strategic Planning Chair. Mrs. Khan has presented numerous presentations on a variety of issues throughout Illinois on a variety of topics including: effects of violence on children; domestic violence; interventions with children; adolescents and adults exposed to violence; helping children deal with loss; program development; and more. She is also a volunteer committee member on the Will County Take Back the Night Committee, bringing awareness of domestic violence to the community.

The Woman of Distinction Award has been presented to a worthy recipient by the Club since 2006. “Each year,” said Club President Beth Colvin, “The Zonta Club of Joliet Area recognizes and celebrates the excellence and achievements of a woman in our community.”

Prior honorees have been in such diverse careers as law enforcement, historic preservation, judge, the first United Airlines woman overseas pilot, community activists, community leaders, medicine, ministers, political leaders, and business owners.

In particular, the woman selected for this award actively works to support and improve the status of women and girls, or who has a history of leadership and success in a non-traditional role as a woman. For example, one of our early recipients was the first woman pharmacist in Will County. The club actively looks at women in the community as trail-blazers; they know how to make a positive mark on the community and get things done.

This year’s winner has made an incredible impact on the community through her work helping others to understand the effects of domestic violence and recognize how this epidemic adversely affects women and children.

The Club strongly believes that raising the profile of these women who have positively impacted our community can help normalize the impact of women as significant contributors and positive role models in this city and county, as well beyond our borders. We applaud Carolyn Kahn, our 2023 Woman of Distinction.

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