top of page

Woman of Distinction

Each year, Zonta Club of Joliet honors a community member who

actively works to support and improve the status of women and

girls and/or has a history of leadership and success in a non-traditional

role as a woman. Current Club members are not eligible.

This year we were so pleased to present this award to Michelle Jankowski,

owner of Bella Cucina Catering at our Spring Fling Fundraiser on

Sunday, April 24, 2022. Michelle opened her catering business more than

16 years ago in Joliet's St. Pat's  neighborhood because of her passion for

homemade dishes and her wonderful memories bonding with family in the

kitchen. Her passions extend beyond the  kitchen with a strong desire to help

others. Her motto is: Keep being's working.


Michelle caters for many local non-profits with limited budgets and generously donates extra portions of food to those in need. During the height of the pandemic, Michelle offered free, curbside meals, no questions asked, until the food ran out. She has organized a Kindness Bag Drive for Morning Star Mission, has attended every Take Back The Night event, donating refreshments for attendees. Michelle sets an example of kindness and generosity and we are thrilled to be able to honor her for all that she has given back to our community.

Past Honorees

Untitled design.png

"I am a better woman today because of my years served in Zonta."  

 - Carmela Castagna,

Founding Member

Zonta Club of Joliet

2012 Susan Pritz-Bornhofen                    Community Leader, Female-owned business

2014 Lynn Noel                                         Professor of Nursing

2015 Wanda Onstad                                Church ministry, Female-owned business 

2016 Veryl Boykin                                     Founder of Fearless Female Club at JTHS

2016 Ashley Samsa                                   Founder of Fearless Female Club at JTHS

2017 Kay Bolden                                       Warren Sharpe Community Center founder

2018 Judy Mitchell                                   Joliet Junior College President

2021 Denise Winfrey                                Will County Executive Board member

2006 Linda Odom                                   Detective, Joliet Police

2007 Rose Mancuso                                First woman pharmacist in Joliet

2008 Dorothy Mavrich                             Historic preservationist

2009 Kathleen Kalan                                First female judge in Will County

2010 Margaret Hendrix                           First United Airlines female overseas pilot

2011 Angela DeCraene                           Founder "Building a Global Community"                   2011 Jennifer Fleming                             Founder "Building a Global Community"

DSC_0365 W.jpg
bottom of page