Date: 6/9/2011

Frankie Fesko is Recipient of First Influential Woman Community Leader Award

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana Frankie Fesko has been selected as Most Influential Community Leader of the Year.

More than 500 attended the inaugural “Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards” banquet showcasing professional women in Northwest Indiana for excellence and expertise in their industries.

Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana’s Frankie Fesko has been presented with a special award Thursday, June 2, to honor her charitable contributions and recognize her as “Most Influential Community Leader.”

The Influential Women of Northwest Indiana Awards recognize the region’s most successful female professionals for influence in their businesses, industries and communities. This inaugural event, held at the Avalon Manor in Merrillville, honored both established leaders from Northwest Indiana as well as “up and coming” professionals.

Presenting CFNI’s Frankie Fesko (center) with the first Most Influential Community Leader award are event co-hosts Andrea Pearman, Diversified Marketing Strategies, Inc., (left) and Tim Ross, regional director of Working Well (right).

The program’s honorees were selected by a committee of five business leaders who had the challenging task of narrowing the 100 nominees to just one winner for “Influential Woman” and “Up and Coming Woman” in each of the 11 industry categories (22 winners total). As Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana, Fesko was honored for her nomination to the Most Influential Woman of the Year - Healthcare category. St. Mary Medical Center CEO Janice Ryba and St. Catherine Hospital CEO Jo Ann Birdzell also received nominations to the “Up and Coming Woman — Healthcare” and “Influential Woman — Healthcare” categories, respectively.

Fesko serves as Chairman of the Board of Community Foundation of Northwest Indiana (CFNI), Inc., a non-profit organization that provides leadership and resources for the enhancement of health and the quality of life in Northwest Indiana. Among the businesses CFNI operates are three non-profit hospitals in Northwest Indiana known as Community Healthcare System: Community Hospital in Munster, St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago and St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart. Other community projects spearheaded by CFNI include the development of The Center for Visual and Performing Arts; creation of the Community Cancer Research Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation for cancer research and operation of the Cancer Resource Centre offering free support services to cancer patients and their families.

(Pictured, left to right) Heather Fesko Delgado, partner at Barnes & Thornburg, LLP, Frankie Fesko and Mary Ann Shacklett, Senior Vice-President of Finance and CFO, CFNI, Inc. visit during the networking reception at the inaugural Influential Women of Northwest Indiana event.

As President of the Board of the area’s largest healthcare provider, Fesko has helped to improve access to high quality care in the community. A founding member and officer of the area’s only professional theatre, she also helped to create job opportunities for professional artists.

Frankie Fesko has shown unwavering enthusiasm, strength and leadership in her role to shape a healthier future for Northwest Indiana residents. High impact events she has chaired from inception include the Perennial Ball, a fundraiser for the Community Cancer Research Foundation; Share the Love annual luncheon, a fundraiser for the Cancer Resource Centre in Munster and Briarfest which benefits a number of charities including the National Kidney Foundation; Hospice of the Calumet Area; Humane Society; Campagna Academy and the Calumet Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Through these efforts, Fesko has helped to raise millions of dollars to improve the health and wellbeing of the residents of Northwest Indiana communities.

“We created this event to encourage, support, and celebrate our female business leaders in Northwest Indiana,” said Andrea M. Pearman, president of Diversified Marketing Strategies (DMS), a full-service marketing communications agency headquartered in Crown Point, Indiana. DMS is also the publisher of Building Indiana News, an award winning magazine that is the leading source of business and economic development news throughout Indiana. “We are so honored to bring together such an accomplished group of women to share their successes and facilitate networking between the real movers and shakers of our business communities,” Pearman added.

The event benefited the United Way organizations serving Lake and Porter Counties.

For more information about the hospitals of Community Healthcare System, visit For more information on The Center for Visual and Performing Arts in Munster, visit