YWCA announces Champions of Change finalists

The YWCA Quad Cities and the YES SHE CAN Series have announced the finalists for their inaugural Champions of Change Awards ceremony later this month. 

The awards were created to celebrate extraordinary leaders and mentors in the Quad Cities who are intentionally mentoring and empowering women in our community. 

The first Champions of Change finalists are: 

Judy Wurdinger
Kirby Vyncke-Hughes


LuAnn Haydon


  • LuAnn Haydon, retired from John Deere, where she was manager of the John Deere Pavilion and Branded Properties, and manager of Global Visual Services.
  • Kirby Vyncke-Hughes, human resources manager, Rock Valley Physical Therapy. 
  • Judy Wurdinger, social worker, Davenport Central High School.
Doug Hultquist


  • Doug Hultquist, retired QCR Holdings co-founder, where he served as president and CEO from 1993 to 2019.
  • Thomas Fisher-King, first vice president, real estate operations and facilities management, Quad City Bank & Trust.
  • Rob Woodall, president of Global Rolled Products Europe & Asia, Arconic.
Thomas B. Fisher-King

The 2022 Female Champion of Change and the 2022 Male Champion of Change will be announced during a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 20, at the Waterfront Convention Center in downtown Bettendorf. 

Rob Woodall

“These awards are all about honoring the men and women who are stepping up beside women in building a better and gender equal community,” said Deanna Woodall, the YWCA Quad Cities vice president of development and growth.  

A Champion of Change is someone willing to step up, listen, learn, work together and lead with action. He or she demonstrates an unwavering passion and commitment to the Quad Cities community and serves as a role model and makes contributions that have inspired women to succeed in their professional and/or personal life.

The awards also align with the mission of YWCA Quad Cities: Empowering Women and Eliminating Racism.

“Every year YWCA Quad Cities hosts the Race Against Racism, which highlights individuals who are working tirelessly in taking a stand against racism in the QC community,” said Ms. Woodall, who joined the Rock Island-based YWCA in 2019. “We determined it was time to highlight the other piece of our mission statement – Empowering Women.”

A call for nominations drew about 20 nominations across both categories. A selection committee was made up of community leaders, presenting sponsors and Julie Larson, who leads the YWCA’s program, YES SHE CAN. 

Ms. Woodall, who did not participate, said the committee narrowed the field through a blind voting process. Then each finalist wrote an essay on why empowering women is so important. The essays – along with the finalists’ identities – were then shared with the selection committee to choose the winners. 

Sponsors include: Quad City Bank & Trust, American Bank & Trust, Waterfront Convention Center, Quad Cities Regional Business Journal, WQAD, Ascentra Credit Union, GreenState Credit Union, Molyneaux, ShiveHattery, US Bank, Edwards Creative and IMEG Corp.

Tickets for Champions of Change are available through Saturday, Jan. 15. The cost of the buffet lunch and ceremony is $35 a person or $250 for a table of eight. Click here or contact Deanna Woodall at [email protected] to make a reservation. 

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