Professional Impact Award

Professional Impact Award


Paul Freeman, MS, LPC

For his legacy of continually expanding the reach and impact of victim services. For more than 40 years, he has stepped courageously into the darkest corners of human suffering, helping to shoulder the burden of those you serve. His efforts have substantially improved the lives of these survivors, and your leadership inspires new generations of professionals.


John Choi
John Choi, JD

It takes great courage to admit that – no matter how hard we are working on behalf of survivors – we are not achieving the outcomes we would like. It takes even more to commit oneself to the effort of changing course. We honor his exceptional courage, as well as his remarkable vision, integrity, leadership, and sheer persistence required to create systemic change in Ramsey County and beyond. 


Jim Hopper
James Hopper, PhD

For his substantial role in improving responses to sexual violence, both directly in the lives of individual victims and through the agencies and systems that serve them. Because of his work, particularly his efforts to bridge the divide between research and practice, sexual assault victims are more likely to receive the compassionate support and competent services they deserve.


Shirley Paceley

For her unflagging advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities. Her abundant strength and skills are surpassed only by her grace and generosity of spirit. She is a fierce and tireless warrior with a lifetime of service helping to bring peace, justice, and respect for all people.

Angela Povilaitis

For her dedicated and noble service on behalf of survivors. In her unrelenting pursuit of justice and accountability for perpetrators, she never loses sight of the impact on survivors. From courtroom to classroom, she models a prosecutorial approach centered on fairness, compassion, and survivor needs.


Detective Lt. Andrea Munford

For her victim-centered, trauma-informed approach to investigating Larry Nassar, a predator who abused victims for decades, even after multiple victims reported their abuse. Lt. Munford’s passion for ensuring survivors are treated with the utmost compassion, sensitivity and respect, resulted in over 150 survivors having their voices heard during a 7-day sentencing, culminating in a 175-year prison sentence.


Gael Strack

For revolutionary work as a Co-Founder and CEO for Alliance for HOPE International, and trailblazing leadership on the investigation and prosecution of strangulation. Her fiercely determined efforts have created pathways to hope for countless victims, and helped to break the generational cycle of abuse.


Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan

For her leadership in improving sexual assault response in Illinois. With her guidance, lawmakers have developed and passed a number of critical initiatives to prevent and respond to sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and other forms of gender-based violence. This includes groundbreaking legislation to ensure that law enforcement agencies across the state have model policies, cutting edge training, and support to enact meaningful reforms in sexual assault response and investigation. A champion for victims, Attorney General Madigan is clearly charting a course for reform that other states will follow.


Patricia Speck
Dr. Patricia M. Speck

For her work as an expert Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Advanced Practice Forensic Nurse. Her broad-ranging expertise covers areas as diverse as public health and forensic nursing, policy and curriculum development, research and program evaluation. Dr. Speck’s research focuses on the relationship between victimization and health and the evaluation of therapeutic interventions to improve victim recovery. She also consults nationally and internationally to evaluate and implement systems change in the response to victims of violence and to remedy health disparities in Africa, Eurasia, Caribbean, and the Americas.


Shawn Saunders
Sergeant Shawn Saunders

For serving as the catalyst for the Start by Believing campaign in Denver, Colorado. Sgt. Saunders recognized that the campaign could have a broader message and influence if the entire Department of Safety was involved, so he brought together the Police Department, Fire Department and Sheriff’s Office to promote Start by Believing. Because of his commitment, Denver joined the nationwide movement by launching the most comprehensive campaign in the country to date.


Carrie Hull
Detective Carrie Hull

For her driving force behind the department’s “You Have Options” Program, which established a wide range of uniform procedures for victims of sexual assault to provide information to law enforcement. The procedures are designed to be explicitly victim-centered and based in an understanding of trauma and the impact on disclosure. Equally important are the innovative strategies designed to assist in the identification and prosecution of serial offenders.


Kym Worthy, JD

For her profound impact on the response to sexual assault, both inside the boundaries of her own community and beyond. Because of her intense focus and tireless dedication, sexual assault victims in Wayne County are more likely to see their reports thoroughly investigated and their evidence properly handled, thereby increasing the chance that perpetrators will be held accountable. With her vision, she has lead the way for similar changes in communities across the country – to expand the opportunities for justice to all victims of sexual assault.


Ann Burdges
Ann Burdges

For her profound impact on the response to violence against women, both in her own community and beyond. Because of Ann’s work, and especially her efforts to bridge disciplinary boundaries with other professionals, victims are more likely to receive the compassionate support and competent services they deserve – and perpetrators are more likely to be held accountable for their crimes.


Kim Lonsway
Kimberly A. Lonsway, PhD

For her crucial contribution and ability to strike a balance between passion for the issue and deep respect for the research process. The insight she provides uncovers the realities of gender violence and portrays it with undeniable and measurable evidence. This she does while never losing sight of the individuals behind the findings. Her work makes clearer our goal, and ever closer the reality of reaching it. Thank you for your Longstanding Commitment to End Violence Against Women


Liz Donegan
Sgt. Elizabeth Donegan

For her impact on the response to violence against women, in her community and beyond. Because of Sgt. Donegan’s work, and especially her efforts to bridge the disciplinary boundaries with other professionals, victims are more likely to receive the compassionate support and competent services they deserve, and perpetrators are more likely to be held accountable for their crimes.