The YWCA Darien/Norwalk is pleased to announce the six honorees for the 2017 Women of Distinction Awards and Luncheon on May 4, at Woodway Country Club in Darien. The distinguished honorees are Kara Nelson Baekey, Mindy Garcia, Catalina Horak, Lisa Koorbusch and Leslie Pennington Cohen.  Katie Schorr will be honored as a Young Woman of Distinction, recognizing the outstanding accomplishments of a woman under 21 years of age.

The Women of Distinction Award is bestowed in recognition of the outstanding achievements of a select group of women. Local residents and business owners nominate women who live or work in Darien and Norwalk whose significant and unique contributions have made a difference in our community. The YWCA Darien/Norwalk Women of Distinction Nominations Committee reviews the nominations and selects the honorees.

This event is open to the public. Tickets for the luncheon are on sale now and can be purchased at For further inquiries about this event or to become a sponsor, please contact .

Leslie Pennington Cohen

Leslie Pennington Cohen has been a Darien resident for over 20 years. Leslie has always been passionate about family values and positive youth development, volunteering to impact the lives of her sons, Nicholas and Alexander, and the youth of our community.

In 2005, Leslie started with Darien Scouting as a den leader, in 2007 joined at the troop level, and in 2009 was nominated to the operating board of the Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust (ASMT). Seeing the impact scouting had on her sons, now Eagle Scouts, she saw opportunity to strengthen Scouting in our community. During this time on ASMT in 2012, Leslie stepped in to lead the Scouts’ largest annual fundraiser, the Boy Scout tag sale, increasing its revenues and efficiency. Leslie's commitment to the operating board led to the executive board, as vice president and then president. Leslie currently serves as President Emeritus.

In 2015, Leslie guided the ASMT through a two-fold celebration of the Centennial of Darien Scouting: a free community camporee at Tilley Pond to introduce non-Scouters to Scouting and a gala to celebrate Darien Scouting, recognizing hundreds of volunteers. No stranger to the YWCA, for 15 years Leslie devoted time to Parent Awareness as a preschool board member, secretary, and finally, Director of Parent Awareness. She also held various roles including many in the Gourmet and Newcomer clubs.

Additionally, Leslie has served on the PTOs at Pear Tree Point and Royle Schools and created and manages the Darien Squash Teams’ website. In 2009 Leslie was awarded the CT Yankee Council Powahay District —On My Honor — Service to Youth Award and in 2017 was recognized by the Trustees of Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust for her dedication to Scouting. Leslie’s offers a friendly, team-oriented environment keeping volunteers engaged, committed and returning annually to support Darien Scouts.