Press Release: Virginia Hart Special Recognition and Diversity Award Winners Announced

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Tony Evers, Governor

Kathy Blumenfeld, Secretary-designee

October 20, 2022

Virginia Hart Special Recognition and Diversity Award Winners Announced

Awards Ceremony to Take Place October 21


Madison, Wis. – The Department of Administration, Division of Personnel Management, the Virginia Hart Award Committee, and the Wisconsin State Council on Affirmative Action is pleased to announce the winners of the Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award and the Diversity Awards. The awards will be presented on October 21 at 9:00 am in the State Assembly Chambers.

The Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award Committee is pleased to announce that Trina Zanow, from the Department of Administration, was selected as the 2022 Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award winner. The annual award is given in honor of Virginia Hart, Wisconsin's first female cabinet member. The committee also selected two honorable mentions this year, Alice DeLaO of the Department of Workforce Development and Nicole Roehm of the Department of Justice.

The October 21 awards ceremony also celebrates the 23rd anniversary of the State Council on Affirmative Action’s annual Diversity Awards, which recognizes state agencies, universities, and employees for their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in the workforce.

“We are proud to honor all our Diversity Award winners this week, and very excited to honor DOA’s own Trina Zanow, as the Virginia Hart Award winner this week,” said DOA Secretary-designee Kathy Blumenfeld. “These awardees go above and beyond in working towards positive change, building greater inclusion and support for their colleagues, stakeholders, and communities, and the State of Wisconsin is stronger for their tireless efforts.” 

  • The Department of Workforce Development will receive the 2022 Diversity Award for its DEI Recruitment and Retention Initiative. This multi-level, comprehensive initiative builds internal accountability, provides training and support to staff, and further develops avenues to recruit, retain, and promote a diverse workforce.
  • The University of Wisconsin-Stout will receive the 2022 Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award for the Stoutward Bound Program through its Multicultural Student Services office. This program demonstrated a high retention rate and the supremely high post-graduation employment rate for students from underrepresented backgrounds.
  • Dr. Michelle Robinson, Director of the Office of Health Equity in the Department of Health Services, is the recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Award for the pioneering work she has done as the inaugural director of the OHE and the leadership she has provided to DHS in accomplishing their health equity and DEI goals.
  • Dr. Belle Rose Ragins, Sheldon B. Lubar Professor of Management - University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, is the recipient of the Lifetime of Service Award for dedicating her more than 24-year career at UW-Milwaukee to championing DEI initiatives in her research, publications, and as a leading contributor in the development of several campuses, academic and community efforts to advance the field of DEI.

This year’s winners will be celebrated at an awards ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol Assembly Chambers Friday, October 21, 2022, beginning at 9:00 am, followed by a reception in the Assembly Parlor. The event is open to the public.

Remarks will be given by Governor Evers, Lt. Governor Barnes, and First Lady Kathy Evers, with special guest speaker Vanessa McDowell, CEO of YMCA Madison.

Background on award categories:

  • Virginia Hart Special Recognition Award – recognizes a woman in state government who has gone above and beyond to serve Wisconsin's citizens.
  • Diversity Award – recognizes Wisconsin state agencies and universities for program initiatives and implementation.
  • Ann Lydecker Educational Diversity Award – recognizes the state of Wisconsin universities and technical colleges for program initiatives.
  • Outstanding Leadership – recognizes a state or university employee for promoting diversity and demonstrating inclusiveness in a leadership role.
  • Lifetime of Service – recognizes a state or university employee with 15+ years of service having fostered diversity and inclusion throughout their career.

For more information please visit the Diversity Awards website: 


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