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Maria Regan Gonzalez is Selected for the Fourth Annual Woman of Power Award

By YWCA Minneapolis
March 24, 2021
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March 24, 2021


Minneapolis, MN – YWCA Minneapolis is honored to present the fourth annual Woman of Power Award to Maria Regan Gonzalez, a Minnesota leader who embodies the values and mission of YWCA Minneapolis through her extraordinary commitment to social and racial equity, dignity, justice and peace.

Her leadership and compassion are demonstrated through her work as the first Latina mayor in the state of Minnesota, serving the city of Richfield, where she uses her role as mayor to advocate for communities often left behind in decision-making including people of color, residents with disabilities, and immigrants including undocumented and mixed-status families.

She is part of a growing movement to change the face of leadership in Minnesota. She consistently reiterates that it is important for people of color – particularly children – to see leaders who look like them, and she encourages them to follow their dreams, grow their power and change their communities.

“Maria is a strong and effective leader who makes tangible changes to advance racial and health equity,” says Carolyn Link, president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation and board member of YWCA Minneapolis. “From tackling racial inequities as mayor of Richfield, to helping improve the health of all Minnesotans through her corporate and board leadership, Maria models a leadership style that transforms systems and inspires emerging leaders along the way.” Maria’s professional background and education in public policy and public health, paired with her dedication to justice has made her a steadfast community leader and a sought-out representative for advancing policy reform.

In addition to her leadership in local government and healthcare, Maria serves as a board member at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation and co-founded La Red Latina de Educación Temprana MN (The Latino Early Childcare Provider Network), a network focused on organizing, capacity building and providing resources to Latina child care providers.

Woman of Power Award

YWCA Minneapolis established the Woman of Power Award in 2018 to honor women across the Twin Cities who have demonstrated commitment, enthusiasm and support for YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. The Woman of Power Award is presented to an individual each year who has shown extraordinary leadership, dedication and achievement in all of YWCA’s core values – peace, justice, freedom and dignity. Previous years’ awards went to Shelley Carthen Watson, Sharon Sayles Belton and Kim Nelson. The 2021 Woman of Power Award will be presented during the 25th anniversary Circle of Women, YWCA’s signature fundraising event.

About YWCA Minneapolis

YWCA Minneapolis is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women and girls. For 130 years, YWCA has worked to create opportunities to overcome social injustice, particularly in matters of gender and race. Last year, YWCA Minneapolis served more than 30,000 people in our community through high-quality programs and advocacy focused on racial justice, early learning, youth development and wellness.



Cori Mattli

YWCA Minneapolis