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© 2018 The Association of Adventist Women is an independent organization that supports the mission of the Seventh-day Adventist® Church; however, it is not part of, affiliated with, or supported by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists®, or any affiliates known as the Seventh-day Adventist® Church. Thus, any content or opinions expressed, implied or included in or with the services of the Association of Adventist Women are solely those of the Association of Adventist Women and not those of the Seventh-day Adventist® Church.

Woman-of-the-Year Awards

Recognizing the Contributions of Adventist Women



  • The Association of Adventist Women was organized in 1982.

  • In 1983 it held its first annual conference in Takoma Park, Maryland.

  • The Woman-of-the-Year Awards were first presented during the second AAW Conference in 1984, the Women of Mission conference, at Andrews University.

  • The first three awards to be established were for:

  1. Professional Life

  2. Church Life

  3. Community and Home Life


Purpose of the awards:

The purpose of the annual Woman-of-the-Year Awards has been to fulfill one of the established goals of AAW - to recognize the contributions of women in the church, the community, and the world at large, and to encourage all women who are seeking to become all God intended them to be.


Additional awards:

As nominations for the awards have been sent to AAW year by year, it became apparent that additional categories of service could well be recognized. Some categories have been defined more broadly or narrowly. Recently, the awards have been given in the following categories, depending on the number and quality of nominations:


  1. Professional Life

  2. Church Life

  3. Community Life

  4. Family Life

  5. Spiritual Life

  6. Youth Life

  7. Outstanding Achievement

  8. Lifetime Achievement

  9. Distinguished Service


Considerations in choosing awardees:

The Association of Adventist Women not only wants to recognize the unique and outstanding contributions of women as stated above but also to model to the church an awareness of the diversity of women within the church. Diversity includes attention to selecting a group of awardees who represent various ethnic backgrounds, a variety of careers and life pathways, a recognition of women in traditional and non-traditional roles, and those from various age groups.

To be considered for any award the candidate shall:

  • Be a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

  • Be a role model for SDA women.

  • Have a commitment to improving the status of women in the Church.

  • Demonstrate resilience in coping with stress, change, and in overcoming barriers to success.


Diversity of candidates will be sought and considered.

The judges view favorably women leaders who have blazed trails, taken risks, broken barriers, and innovated to implement positive change. Of special interest are women whose actions have brought justice or relief from injustice to a large class of people, those who have displayed exceptional stamina, strength of character, consistency, conviction, courage, and compassion, and those whose distinguished achievements inspire higher aspirations and greater hope in others and bring special credibility to the church.

1. Community Life Award

  • Major contributions to community life, resulting in innovative programs that improve the life of the community.

  • Outstanding leadership in volunteer activities.

  • Memberships and offices held in community organizations, committees, and boards.

2. Church Life Award

  • Major contributions affecting and improving the church’s life at the conference level and higher administrative levels.

  • Courageous in improving policy and moving the church toward inclusiveness, fairness, and justice, and in being a role model and mentor for other women.

  • Outstanding leadership skills resulting in innovative programs and activities that improve the quality of spiritual and communal life in the church.

  • Effective communication skills in the conference, union, and division committees and/or in Adventist educational institutions or medical centers.

  • Exemplary dedication and service to the church in challenging circumstances.

3. Family Life Award

  • Outstanding leadership skills through writing and speaking that result in innovative programs that improve the quality of family life in the church.

  • Implementing creative programs in homemaking and school management.

  • Nurture, care, and support of individuals in her own and other families.


4. Professional Life Award

  • Significant contributions to professional life resulting in innovative programs.

  • Demonstrated leadership in professional activities, including membership and holding offices in professional organizations, committees, and boards.

  • Unique contributions to church activities from within her profession.


5. Youth Life Award

  • Demonstrated expertise or achievement which has made a significant difference in the lives of young persons within organizations or institutions.

  • Unusual contributions to career, church, or community in a variety of settings.

  • Promise of continuing leadership abilities.

  • Demonstrated ability to draw others into participatory roles in the church and community.


6. Spiritual Leadership

  • Experience and training in theology and ministry as a pastor, chaplain, pastoral counselor, evangelist or religion teacher.

  • Demonstrated unique ability to encourage, counsel, and mentor parishioners, patients, students, and peers.

  • Courage, creativity, and persistence in pursuing God’s calling to ministry.

  • Recognition for her spiritual commitment to God, her communication skills, leadership ability and/or scholarly insights by her peers, whether Adventists or those of other faiths.


7. Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Widely recognized for long-term contributions to the church and community.

  • Many demonstrated interests, abilities, and achievements.

  • Being a consistent role model and mentor to many other women, both in the church and community.


8. Outstanding Achievement Award

  • Outstanding contributions to her profession, vocations, church, and/or community.

  • Unusual achievements despite difficult obstacles and/or prejudice.

  • Wide influence that extends beyond a local setting to a very broad one-across a state, region, or nation.

  • Accomplishments are marked by creativity, persistence, and a vision to make a difference in the world.

  • Mentors other women and encourages them to succeed.


9. Distinguished Service Award

  • Longstanding contributor to the organization of the Association of Adventist Women and related causes.

  • Fosters growth of AAW through innovation; increases AAW’s scope of influence.

  • Provides consistent voice for equality and opportunity for Adventist women—has a long track record.

  • Provides vital leadership for policy change in the SDA church.