Aurora Womens Empowerment Foundation Makes Scholarships Possible

AURORA, IL, USA, September 20, 2022.  The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation (AWEF), announced that it has awarded five full scholarships to women in leadership roles at Aurora-area nonprofits. The scholarships are earmarked specifically for the recipients to attend the 2022 Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce’s distinguished Leadership Academy.

“When we heard that the Aurora Chamber was looking for scholarship support for Aurora nonprofit leaders to attend their Leadership Academy, we were excited to get involved,” said Amy Baudouin, Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation Board Chair. “Many of us on the AWEF board have had enriching experiences with the Leadership Academy. The program content and instructors are top notch and we believe in the transformative power the Leadership Academy experience will have in the lives of the community leaders selected to receive the scholarships, their organizations, and those they serve.”

The five scholarship recipients are (in alphabetical order):

Arlisia Dockery, Founder and Executive Director at Echo Development Center

Alyssa Edwards, Director of Communications & Education Outreach at Aurora Area Interfaith Food Pantry

Tammy Helfrich, Director at Society 57

Cory Kirsininkas, Graphic Designer at the Paramount Theatre/Aurora Civic Center Authority

Ady Rubio, Aurora Manager at Alive Center

The Leadership Academy, established in 1979, has two goals: 1) increase awareness of the variety of assets needed to sustain a vibrant community by visiting major institutions of the Aurora region and 2) promote “Servant” or “Transformative” leadership by studying this model and learning about effective leadership principles and practices from the current leaders of these institutions. Additionally, Leadership Academy participants are challenged to evaluate and elevate their leadership as they learn about servant leadership from top leaders and officials in the region. One of those leaders is Linda Pilmer, Managing Broker and Owner of Pilmer Real Estate, Inc., who for many years has been sharing her deep knowledge of Aurora’s history with Leadership Academy students. Linda has over 38 years’ experience in real estate sales and management. She also serves as Board Secretary for the Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation.

“We are so excited to have Linda Pilmer involved with our program and for AWEF's generous support this year to help nonprofits attend Leadership Academy,” said Jessica Linder Gallo, President and CEO of the Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Over the past 43 years, more than 800+ community leaders have participated in the Leadership Academy. It’s an excellent program and I know the each of the five scholarship recipients will find great value in it.”

The Aurora Chamber's Leadership Academy has a rich history of providing confidence, knowledge, professionalism, and strong leadership skills that not only benefit the attendee, but also their employers. Many have gone on to lead local businesses and organizations. Some have gone on to public office. All have left their mark on the community. The 2022 Leadership Academy will be facilitated by Dr. William A. "Bill" Marzano, retired higher education administrator and professor with Waubonsee Community College.

To learn more about the Leadership Academy and other Aurora Chamber programs contact (630) 256-3180 or visit the company website at


The Aurora Women’s Empowerment Foundation mission is to elevate and empower Aurora-area women and future women by making grants to tax-exempt nonprofits engaged in meaningful, measurable work that helps women over the hurdles of inequity and exclusion, propelling them forward with life-changing programs and services.  For more information about grants made by AWEF, including our grant guidelines and online application, visit

The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is the voice of and the catalyst for business success. We unite businesses with the community to create economic prosperity while facilitating connections with community leaders. For more than 100 years, we have served the greater Aurora region across four counties (DuPage, Kane, Kendall and Will), and currently represent nearly 600 businesses. We have earned the 5-star accreditation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an honor bestowed on only 1% of Chambers nationwide. Learn more at