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YWCA Minneapolis Names Sixth Annual Woman of Power Award Winner; Second Annual Kate Berman Leadership Award Winner

By YWCA Minneapolis
March 16, 2023
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March 16, 2023 (Minneapolis, Minn.) YWCA Minneapolis is honored to present the 2023 Woman of Power Award to Atum Azzahir and the Kate Berman Leadership Award to Pam Stegora Axberg. This year, we are also excited to announce Leadership Awards for our Early Childhood Education Teacher of the Year, Luna Ellington; Triathlon Spotlight, Nicole Cueno; Volunteer Service, Melissa Ratliff; and Youth of Power, Shivani.

Atum Azzahir is executive director and founder of the Cultural Wellness Center, a founder and co-owner of the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis and a recognized authority on cultural approaches to health and well-being. The Cultural Wellness Center is an African American nonprofit centered on the idea that when culture and community knowledge are studied and valued, they are powerful tools for health, healing, community building and economic development.

Elder Atum has developed and managed organizations, written and produced materials on African intellectual heritage and designed rites of passage programs, initiations and ceremonies for healing. The institutions she has founded have created community models for workforce development, entrepreneurship and meditation practices for the African in America to interface in mainstream communities.

Elder Atum is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Salzburg Fellowship; Community Health Leadership Award, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Women in Business Award, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal among others. She has served on several boards and committees, and currently serves on the NorthPoint Health and Wellness Board and was recently appointed to the State of Minnesota’s African American Child Well-Being Council.

Pam Stegora Axberg serves as chief executive officer of Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities. Prior to joining the Mission, Pam held multiple executive leadership roles during her 14-year tenure at UnitedHealthcare, most recently as senior vice president of Network Operations in which she led the transformation of the healthcare system with service providers.

Pam’s lifelong commitment to promote diversity, equity and inclusion have been demonstrated throughout her professional career and volunteer work. Pam is a Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs Policy Fellow, was recently elected council member of the New Brighton City Council, previously served as board chair of YWCA Minneapolis and is treasurer of YWCA USA Board of Directors. Pam also serves as an officer and board member of Girls Scouts River Valley and board member of Topline Credit Union.

“Both Atum Azzahir and Pam Stegora Axberg exemplify the values of YWCA and have demonstrated commitment, enthusiasm and support for our mission in their lives and careers,” says Shelley Carthen Watson, president and CEO of YWCA Minneapolis. “In addition, this year, we are also proud to recognize our Early Childhood Education Teacher of the Year, and our Triathlon Spotlight, Volunteer Service and Youth of Power awardees.” Each of these incredible women will be honored at Empower Possible, YWCA Minneapolis’ signature fundraising event being held on April 27 at Quincy Hall in Minneapolis.

About YWCA Minneapolis
YWCA Minneapolis is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women and girls. For more than 130 years, we have worked to create opportunities to overcome social injustice, particularly in matters of race and gender. Annually, YWCA Minneapolis serves more than 30,000 people in our community through high-quality programs and advocacy focused on racial justice, early learning, youth development and wellness. To learn more, visit or join the conversation at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

CONTACT: To request a media pass and/or interview times with Shelley Carthen Watson, president and CEO, YWCA Minneapolis; Elder Atum; Pam Stegora Axberg; and our other awardees, please contact:

Jacqueline Lloyd Cunningham
VP Marketing and Communications
P: 612-215-4105 E: