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Two Local Women Recognized As Washington Women Who Dare


Mayors throughout the Puget Sound Mayors were asked to nominate women in their community that they considered “women who dare.”  The ‘Washington Women Who Dare” is a new YWCA series that celebrates the collective strength of women.  For Mayor Nancy Backus of Auburn, and Mayor Leanne Guier of Pacific, the choice was easy.  Backus nominated Auburn Food Bank Executive Director Debbie Christian.  Guier nominated Joanne Norman, of theTerry Home residential community.

Christian and Norman were recognized as Community Champions and “Daring Women Honorees” during the “Washington Women Who Dare” event held by Comcast and the YWCA on Tuesday, September 29th. The Today Show’s Natalie Morales hosted the event and was the keynote speaker.


Debbie Christian, Daring Woman of Auburn

Backus shared in her weekly update that she was “honored to nominate and present an award to, Debbie Christian, for the amazing commitment she shows day-in and day-out for Auburn and beyond.”

Here is what Backus included in here nomination for Christian.

What makes [Christian] a ‘Daring Woman’?
As the Executive Director of the Auburn Food Bank, she has been a tireless advocate for the most vulnerable in our community. In Auburn, when we have a wicked problem to solve, in most cases [Christian] is the first one to step forward and say, “I’m here. What can I do?”

What impact has this ‘Daring Woman’ has made on the community?

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(L to R) Dana Himan, City of Auburn Director of Administration, Mayor Nancy Backus, Natalie Morales, Terry Davis, Comcast | Courtesy Photo

As a smaller city with a growing homeless population and shrinking resources, we were in dire need of people willing to do the thankless job of addressing this crisis. [Christian] has been Auburn’s “person” – she will fight for the needs of those persons experiencing homeless with compassion, toughness, and love. There are few people in this city that have done more, given more and most of all cared more than [Christian].

Christian was unaware she was nominated or receiving the award and was overwhelmed when she won.  “To know that you have been “tricked” – always leaves me speechless! I had no idea going to this event that this was even a thing! I was going to get my soul refilled so tomorrow would look easier than today! I knew the theme was “women who dare” and I wanted to be challenged to dare more,” said Christian.


“I am very honored! I really do put my heart and soul into the work I have been given,” continued Christian. “I really don’t think about it.  I hear that something needs to be done and I usually look around to see who is going to be doing that work and when I see no one – and I believe it is a job that must be done – I just take over.”

Christian admitted that it isn’t always easy.  “Usually my head has no idea what my heart just got me into!  My husband hates it when he tells me something won’t work and I tell him to get out of my way!”

Joanne Norman, Daring Woman of Pacific


What makes Norman a ‘daring woman’?

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Pacific Mayor Leanne Guier with Joanne and Tim Norman | Courtesy Photo

What makes Joanne a Daring Woman is her tireless contribution to Terry Home. Joanne is one of the founding members and is the Administrator for both Homes, one in Pacific ard one in  Auburn. Joanne dares to believe in the strength in others and encourages them to dare ta strive. The residents at Terry Home have many challenges and she continuously encourages them to reach deep inside to be all that they can be.

What impact has this ‘daring woman’ had in the community?
She has impacted our community by encouraging residents of Terry Home to step out of their comfort zone and volunteer at the senior center. It is very uplifting to see these residents proud of their contribution to our community. The Pacific Terry Home has 10 residents and nearly half participate in one way or another in our community events. I am honored to know her and to watch how she uplifts others with such grace and style. She has truly made Terry Home a home-like setting for all those who live and work there.

“I was honored to be nominated and the recipient of such a great award,” said Norman.  “I love what I do and will continue to be a “Woman who Dares.”


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