Makers: Women Who Make America


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The awards first started in collaboration with the PBS documentary Makers: Women Who Make America. Since then, WCNY has continued the Makers Awards as a way to celebrate the achievements of Central New York women and inspire others to follow their examples. The awards are supported by the National Park Service.

Holly AdamsHolly Adams

Children’s Advocate

As Assistant Ontario County Attorney, Holly represents the County Department of Social Services’ Child Protective Services in the prosecution of child abuse and neglect cases. She also has been active with the area’s Child Advocacy Center that supports children who have been sexually abused or assaulted, and assisted in the creation of Family Promise, a new organization helping homeless families. In 2018, Holly became Ontario County’s first female County Attorney.

Darlene Endy

Darlene Endy

Addiction Recovery Advocate

Darlene turned her son’s struggles with heroin into the creation of a charitable organization, Road2Recovery CNY. She helps those with opioid addiction get past financial roadblocks to enter recovery programs. She also provides care packages and exchanges letters of encouragement after individuals have entered recovery programs as well as organizes workshops for families touched by addiction.

Michela Hugo

Michela Hugo

Poverty Fighter

Learning that more than 50 percent of children were dealing with the effects of concentrated poverty and baby diaper costs were not covered by any assistance programs, Michela founded the CNY Diaper Bank. It provides diapers to the poor in the community—and in two-and-a-half years, the organization has distributed more than 900,000 diapers resulting in decreased family stress, improved child health, and the ability for families to pay for other needs.

Tammy Reese

Tammy Reese

Social Issues Producer

A Central New York award-winning actress, writer, producer, and business entrepreneur, Tammy has used her skills to bring community awareness to social issues such as bullying, racism, domestic, violence, and suicide. She believes in showcasing the inspiring stories of others, dreaming big, and helping others to do the same no matter what challenges they face.



Margaret RobsonMargaret Robson

Teacher and Community Booster

Marge taught home and careers classes to both boys and girls in Camden schools for 35 years. As an expert seamstress, she sewed band uniforms and linens for her church, where she also led efforts to serve meals to families after funerals of their loved ones. She organized many community events including a unique community fall model boat regatta, and has been an active “bleacher cheerleader” for all things Camden.

Lorie Schneider

Lorie Schneider

Veteran Supporter

Lorie is a Gold Star Mother who chose to perpetuate her son’s legacy of service and sacrifice through her work with the Central New York veteran community. The foundation that Lorie and her husband founded in their son’s name provides assistance to active duty, reserve, and retired U.S. military members, their families, and injured and recovering heroes.

Mary Smith

Mary Smith, DVM

Groundbreaking Veterinarian

Mary entered the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine as one of two females in a class of 60; she was then hired as the first female clinician employed by Cornell’s Ambulatory Clinic. A gifted teacher, she has become a legend at the college. She has taught generations of veterinarians the value of knowledge, curiosity, and dedication.

Dr. Kimberly Townsend

Dr. Kimberly Townsend

Leader for the Common Good

Kimberly, President and CEO of Loretto, believes her mission is to make life better for employees, residents, and the community. Pragmatic altruism is the centerpiece of her leadership philosophy and the topic of her first book; “when you work with common good in mind, there is almost always a solution that benefits all parties.”




Anita Vitullo

Animal Advocate

In 1994, Anita opened Staffworks. Today the company employs more than 5,000 people placed in dozens of companies from nine branch offices located in Central and Southern New York. As a life-long animal advocate, in 2006 Anita established the Staffworks Charitable Fund, using company profits to support animal welfare organizations. More than $1.2 million has been donated to organizations in six counties.

Dot Willsey

Dorothy Willsey


Dorothy had the vision and determination to found the National Abolition Hall of Fame and Museum in a Peterboro, New York church building that housed the meeting to establish the first Anti-Slavery Society in the state of New York. She has also been active in efforts to preserve the National Historic Landmark Gerrit Smith Estate, helps organize the annual Civil War Weekend in Peterboro, and lead the Underground Railroad Consortium of New York State.


2018 Makers Award Winners

Kerry Barnes 

Juanita Holmes Bass

Shelly Callahan

Maureen Campanie

Sandra Hamilton

Ellen Percy Kraly

Carol Musacchio

Tina Nabinger 

Pamela Puri

Tracy Verrier

2017 Makers Award Winners

Diana Abdella

Mary Beer

Laurie Black

Ruth Colvin

Sue Edinger

Laura Miller

Kylie Pierce

Karen Sammon

Mary Alice Smothers

Christie Waters

2016 Makers Award Winners

Lisa Betrus

Sharon BuMann

Janet Callahan

Mary Q. Chapin

Annette Guisbond

Mary Krause

Katie MacIntyre

Anne Orr

Theresa Pagano

Tammy Van Epps

2015 Makers Award Winners

Kimberly Boynton

Virginia Carmody

The Honorable Bernadette T. Clark

Jean Harper Dean

Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham

Lorraine Kinney-Kitchen

Dr. Mary Martin

Mia Adams McSherry

Dr. Erica Miller

Teresa Mosher

Jennifer Nadler

Virginia Robbins

Marietta von Bernuth

Wendy Washeleski

2014 Makers Award Winners

Mary Alice Bellardini

Margaret Buckley

Glynis Hart

Dr. Leslie Kohman

Sr. Monica A. Nortz, CSJ

Rebbecca Oppedisano

Melinda Sorrentino

Melissa Spicer

Patricia Sullivan

2013 Makers Award Winners

Megan Rae Bliss

Marlene Brown

Kimberly Burch

Sue Considine

Renee DeVesty

Rose Marie Fagan

Kate Finn

Gouverneur Business Women Breast Cancer Walk Fund Executive Committee

Dr. Rathika Martyn

Pam Matt

Agnes McCray

Andrea E. Rankin

Gigi Redmond

Karen Y. Richmond

Jean Siracusa

Linda Townsend, Ph.D

Carrie M. Tuttle