Recognition and Awards

As the premier advocacy group for women in restructuring, IWIRC recognizes the value in recruiting and promoting women throughout their careers. To that end, the IWIRC Board of Directors established its Founders Awards in recognition of members and networks which have made exceptional contributions to the organization, their clients, and profession overall.

Melnik Award

The Melnik Award, named for IWIRC founding Chair Selinda Melnik, is awarded to a member whose contributions to IWIRC, over an extended period of time, have been exceptional.  By her efforts, she has made a lasting impact on the mission of IWIRC.

Click here to download a nomination form.

Past recipients Include:

2021 Tara Schellhorn
2020 Aruni Weerasekera
2019 Leyza Blanco
2018 Bernadette Barron
2017 Beth E. Hansen
2016 Evelyn Meltzer
2015 Jennifer Meyerowitz
2014 Carren Shulman
2013 Judith Elkin
2012 Jennifer McLain McLemore
2011 Tinamarie Feil
2010 Debra E. Kuptz
2009 Leslie A. Berkoff
2008 Francine Gordon
2007 Susan L. Rhiel
2006 Patricia A. Redmond
2005 Janet E. Bostwick
2004 Carmen Lonstein

Fetner Award

The Fetner Award, named in honor of our founding Vice Chair, Martha Fetner, is awarded to a member for exemplary service to IWIRC, through efforts over the past year or several years, specially aimed at bringing members together through regional and international conferences, efforts and relationships.  This award is given to a member whose contributions to IWIRC have helped to fuel growth and expansion of IWIRC’s mission globally.

Click here to download a nomination form.

Past recipients Include:

2021 Aisling Dwyer
2020 Joanne Collett
2019 Eloise Fardon
2018 Pooja Sinha
2017 Karen Fellowes
2016 Michelle Pickett
2015 Justine Lau
2014 Caroline Moran
2013 Barbara Rumora-Scheltema
2012 Elizabeth A. Wilson
2011 Deborah S. Grieve
2010 Maria Semenko
2009 Jacqueline Walsh
Aruni Weerasekera
2008 Dr. Annerose Tashiro
2007 Katerina Papamichael
Katharine S. Stones
2006 N. Lynn Hiestand
2005 N/A
2004 Sheryl E. Seigel

Ryan Award

The Ryan Award was founded in honor of IWIRC founding Secretary/Treasurer, Laureen Ryan. The Ryan is awarded to the IWIRC Network that best exemplified IWIRC in the past calendar year. All chartered IWIRC Networks are eligible. While each Network will be asked to submit a report to be considered for the award, we welcome nominations from members as well.

Click here to download a nomination form.

Past recipients Include:

2021 Carolinas Network
2020 Florida Network
2019 London Network
2018 Singapore Network
2017 New York Network
2016 Hong Kong Network
2015 Western Canada Network
2014 New Jersey Network
2013 Delaware Network
2012 Georgia Network
2011 Canadian Network
2010 Michigan Network
2009 European Network
2008 Chicago Network
2007 Northeast Ohio (NEON) Network
2006 Georgia Network
2005 Carolinas Network
2004 Central Ohio Network

Woman of the Year in Restructuring Award (WOYR)

Each year, IWIRC honors a woman for her recent contributions to or lifetime achievements as part of the insolvency and restructuring industry with the Woman of the Year in Restructuring (WOYR) award. She may be an attorney, judge, banker, turnaround manager, academic or other restructuring industry professional. She is actively engaged or recently retired from the restructuring industry - and from anywhere in the world. IWIRC membership is not a requirement to make a nomination, nor to be honored.

Importantly, achievements do not have to be in nationally renowned cases or result in landmark decisions, only exceptional. IWIRC welcomes all entries and is not seeking the most senior woman or the most important case.

Past recipients Include:

2021 Debra Grassgreen, Pachulski Stang Ziehl and Jones, San Francisco, CA
2020 Hon. Karen Jennemann, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Orlando, FL
2019 Dr. Janis Sarra, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Our Place On The Planet - April 11, 2019 PPT
2017 Kelley Cornish, Paul Weiss, New York, NY
2016 Carlyn R. Taylor, FTI Consulting, Denver, CO
2015 Sheila Smith, Deloitte, Boston, MA
2014 Holly Felder Etlin, AlixPartners LLP, New York, NY
2013 Patricia A. Redmond, Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler, Miami, Florida
2012 Corinne Ball, Jones Day, New York, NY Mitsue Aizawa, Bingham, Tokyo, Japan
2011 Jan M. Hayden, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, New Orleans, LA
2010 Melissa Kibler, Mesirow Financial Consulting, LLC, Chicago, IL
2009 N. Lynn Hiestand, Skadden Arps, London
2008 Marcia L. Goldstein, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, New York, NY
2007 Lisa Donahue, AlixPartners, New York, NY
2006 Deirdre A. Martini, KCC, New York, NY

E-mail your nomination to

  • Send contact information including e-mail addresses for you and your nominee
  • Tell us why your nominee fits this award, and why we should consider her.  Please be descriptive and include facts or examples that help exemplify why you nominated this woman.
  • Contact Shari Bedker with questions or requests for assistance in framing a nomination ( or by phone at 434-939-6002).

The IWIRC Board of Directors ratifies all selections and its decisions are final.

Woman of the Year in Restructuring Award (Asia)

The WOYR award in Asia was conceived to recognize women in the restructuring and insolvency industry who have inspired and skillfully led a restructuring team, provided creative solutions and innovative legal applications, showed exceptional leadership, and have made extraordinary contributions to the insolvency and restructuring professions.

Winners are announced during the IWIRC Asia Insolvency & Restructuring Conference in November of each year.

2018 marked the inaugural year for this award. Join us as we congratulate the award winners.

Past recipients Include:
2021 Mamta Binani, India
2020 Smitha Menon, WongPartnership, Singapore
2019 Jacqueline Walsh, Borrelli Walsh, Hong Kong
2018 Marie Rowbotham, PwC, Hong Kong

Rising Star Award

In furtherance of IWIRC’s mission, which is devoted to enhancing the professional status of women in the insolvency and restructuring profession, IWIRC has established an award for individuals who are the “Rising Stars” of IWIRC. IWIRC wants to recognize and honor the “Rising Stars” of the organization for their contributions to IWIRC. The Rising Star nominees may be attorneys, bankers, turnaround advisors, claims and noticing agents, academics or other restructuring industry professionals who are actively engaged in the restructuring industry, are located anywhere in the world, and who have shown dedication and commitment to IWIRC on the local, national and/or international level.

All nominees for the IWIRC Rising Star Award must be members of IWIRC. However, IWIRC membership is NOT a requirement to make a nomination. Nominations may be received from firms, companies, partners, associates, IWIRC Networks, IWIRC members, organizations or otherwise.

The IWIRC Rising Star Award will be presented to the woman who:

  • Has eight years or less experience in the insolvency & restructuring industry
  • Has been actively involved in promoting IWIRC – locally, nationally and/or internationally either through IWIRC Network or IWIRC Board leadership, committee participation, securing sponsors, planning programs, spearheading events, etc.
  • Has inspired, created, led and/or served on a Board of an IWIRC Network or committee
  • Has shown exceptional leadership
  • Has made an extraordinary contribution to IWIRC and/or an IWIRC Network
  • Has gone above and beyond ... and made a difference to the mission of IWIRC

We are looking for individuals that are relatively new to the restructuring industry who have made a marked difference with their involvement and achievements in IWIRC at the local, national and/or international level. Please feel free to think out of the box on this. We welcome all entries. Please consider those women who have consistently demonstrated a commitment to enhancing IWIRC and your local Network.

Five Semi-Finalists will be announced in early September of each year. All five Semi-Finalists will be invited to attend the Annual IWIRC Fall Conference where the winner of that year’s IWIRC Rising Star Award will be announced. The IWIRC Rising Star award recipient and all of the other Semi-Finalists (along with their supporting firms, companies, partners, organizations) will be recognized and presented with awards honoring their contributions and support of IWIRC.

Click here to download a nomination form.

Rising Star History

2021 Rising Star
Veronica Chan, Tanner De Witt, Hong Kong Network
2021 Rising Star Semi-Finalists
Tayyibah Arif, Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London), London Network
Kelly McCauley, Whiteford Taylor and Preston, Western PA Network
Krystal Mikkileneni, Bradshaw, Fowler, Proctor & Fairgrave, P.C., Midwest Network
Rebecca Oliveira Pereira da Silva, Galdino e Coelho Advogados, Brazil

2020 Rising Star 
Nyana Abreu Miller, Sequor Law, Florida Network

2020 Rising Star Semi-Finalists
Isabel Arana de Uriarte, AlixPartners, New York Network
Veronica Chan, Tanner DeWitt, Hong Kong Network
Elizabeth Tramm Dechant, Roberts & Stevens, Carolinas Network
Beatriz Fanceca, Faneca Advogados, Brazil Network

2019 Rising Star
Lacey Rochester, Baker Donelson, Louisiana Network

2019 Rising Star Semi-Finalists
Rachel Biblo Block, Akin Gump, Dallas/Fort Worth Network
Stephanie Clark, AlixPartners, London Network
Alexis Leventhal, Reed Smith, Western Pennsylvania Network
Jo Tay, Allen & Gledhill LLP, Singapore Network

2018 Rising Star
Christina Sanfelippo, Fox Rothchild LLP, Chicago

2018 Rising Star Semi-Finalists
Corinne Adams, Yumpkas, Vidmar, Sweeney & Mulrenin, LLC, Maryland
Rachel Bengino, Thornton Grout Finnigan, LLP, Ontario
Veronica Brown-Moseley, The Boleman Law Firm, Virginia
Bodie Colwell, Preti Flaherty, Maine

2017 Rising Star
Camille Bent, BakerHostetler LLP, New York Network

2017 Semi-Finalists
Alexia Adda, Walkers, Singapore Network
Kimberly Brown, Landis Rath & Cobb LLP, Delaware Network
Jeannie Kim, Buchalter, Northern California Network
Helen Sevenoaks, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP, Europe Network

2016 Rising Star
Eloise Fardon, Stephenson Harwood, Hong Kong Network

2016 Semi-Finalists
Valerie Batner Peo, Buchalter Nemer P.C., Northern California Network
Cara M. Porter, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern California Network
Alexandra "CC" Schnapp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Georgia Network
Amanda Steele, Richards, Layton & Finger, Delaware Network

2015 Rising Star
Jodi Daniel Cooke, Stichter Riedel Blain & Postler, PA, Alabama and Florida Networks

2015 Semi-Finalists
Camille Bent, Stevens and Lee, P.C., New York Network
Emily Ladky, Hahn Loser & Parks, Northeast Ohio Network
Catherine Read, Walkers, Hong Kong Network
Gillian Scarlett, Gowling Lafluer Henderson LLP, Western Canada Network

2014 Rising Star
Lauren McKelvey, Wiley Rein LLP Co-Chair Washington DC Network

2014 Semi-Finalists
Kathryn Harrison, Campbell & Levine, LLC, Co-Chair Western Pennsylvania Network
Rebecca Petereit, Vinson & Elkins L.L.P., Co-Chair Events/Fundraising Dallas-Fort Worth Network
Tara Schellhorn, Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP, Secretary New Jersey Network
Jennifer Taylor, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Co-Chair Northern California Network

2013 Rising Star
Sarah Frankel, GCG, New York, Co-Chair New York Network

2013 Semi-Finalists
Kara Casteel, ASK LLP, Eagan, MN, Co-Chair Minneosta Network
Jodi Daniel Cooke, Beggs & Lane RLLP, Pensacola, FL, Co-Chair Florida Network
Leigh-Anne Raport, Ashby & Geddes, PA, Wilmington, DE, Vice-Chair Delaware Network
Charla Smith, Grant Thornton Limited, Calgary, Alberta, Western Canada Network

2012 Rising Star
Jennifer Kimble, Haskell Slaughter, Founder & Chair, Alabama IWIRC Network

2012 Semi-Finalists
Kimberly Bacher, Shaw Gussis Fishman Glantz Wolfson & Towbin LLC, Secretary, Chicago IWIRC Network
Rachel Lao, Hogan Lovells, Founder & Chair, Japan IWIRC Network
Christy Prince, Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter LPA, Former Chair, Central OH IWIRC Network
Sage Sigler, Alston & Bird LLP, Co-Chair, Georgia IWIRC Network

2011 Rising Star
Monique Hayes, Genovese Joblove & Battista, P.A. and Co-Chair of the Florida Network

2011 Semi-Finalists
Megan Adeyemo, Gordon & Rees LLP, Mountain Desert Network
Bess M. Parrish Creswell, Burr & Forman LLP, Gulf Coast Network
Alison Elko Franklin, McKenna Long & Aldridge, Georgia Network
Jennifer Kimble, Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, LLC, Gulf Coast Network
Joyce Ka Yee Lau, PricewaterhouseCoopers Business Recovery Services Group, Hong Kong Network

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There is no better reward than recognition. 

2022 Founders Award Nominations are due May 31, 2022. Click here to download a nomination form.  Please take the time to nominate a member or network for these Founders Awards.

The winner of the 2021 Founders Awards will be announced and honored at the IWIRC Leadership Summit in July 2021.

Call for Nominations