The 40th Annual YWCA Women’s Recognition Day selected Doris Symonds of Peoria to receive the 2022 YWCA Mission Award. The Mission Award is given to an individual, business or organization demonstrating significant dedication to achieving the Mission of the YWCA “to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all”.
Michelle Bohm, YWCA board president of Pekin, Illinois presented the influential award on May 5 at the luncheon ceremony in Pekin. Doris is the president of T.A.L.K. – Teaching and Learning for Knowledge. She is a very strong advocate who empowers and encourages women to create small businesses and jobs in the local community. She has been dedicated to that mission for more than 40 years.
Bohm stated “Doris never says no when it comes to helping or celebrating women. She is a teacher, business owner, mentor and friend to many. After retirement, Doris really got to work starting her small business to help women and small business owners with the knowledge that she learned in her career and created a community of engaged entrepreneurs. She has mentored countless individuals since establishing a company in 2004. She meets hundreds of women every year and her network connects them to the resources they need. She helps to empower and inspire all women regardless of their race, age, ethnicity or financial ability.”
In October 2021, Doris established a goal to identify and publish data about 100 women of color as business owners in the local community. In March 2022, she completed that goal by publishing the first digital e-book identifying 100+ women of color as business owners in Peoria, Bloomington and Galesburg. With her dedication, drive, and many hours of hard work, the e-book was completed within Women’s History Month.
With her endless energy, Doris has been honored on numerous occasions and lends her time and talents to many organizations including the National Association of Women Business Owners of central Illinois, the SBA and Turner Center for Entrepreneurship at Bradley University, Women in Leadership, the Minority Business Development Center, and Founding Females to name just a few.
In 2011 Doris was awarded and named the SBA Women in Business Champion of the year in Illinois. In the same year 2011, she was honored in Chicago, Illinois for the State of Illinois and the Region V award serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin by the United States Small Business Administration and SCORE. In 2020, Doris was presented the Women in Business Leadership Award by Illinois Small Business Development Center.
Doris embodies the YWCA mission of eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all, and for that reason, she was honored with the influential 2022 YWCA Mission Award.