2021 award recipients

The Woman of the Year and Emerging Leader of the Year are presented to two outstanding women who are active in and represent the NWA community in many ways. Through volunteerism, philanthropy, innovation, creation and much more. 

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Catherine Grubbs

CEO of Circle of Life & President of Circle of Life Foundation

2021 Woman of the Year Award


Catherine Grubbs joined Circle of Life in 2009 and serves as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Circle of Life Foundation. She considers it a blessing to support her team in the important work they do to ensure the Northwest Arkansas community receives the absolute best in end-of-life care and bereavement support. Catherine often says she has the privilege of working with the kindest and most compassionate people on the planet at Circle of Life, an organization with a strong mission of service to the community and a team that operates at a high level to achieve that mission.

Catherine graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Science in Healthcare Administration and Community Health from the University of Arkansas.

Oklahoma was her home until 1995, when she relocated to Northwest Arkansas to attend graduate school and quickly fell in love with the people and beauty of the area. When not working, you will often find her walking the trails with friends or boating on Beaver Lake with her husband Rich, daughter Abby, and son Trey.

Bianca montoya

Marketing Director, BikeNWA

2021 Emerging Leader of the Year


Bianca, an indigenous Pueblo woman and proud Northwest Arkansas resident of 12 years, has embedded herself in the non-profit scene and has categorized herself as a part of the spirit and morale team for this corner of the state. 


Bianca considers herself lucky to be the Communications and Marketing Director for BikeNWA and now NWA Trailblazers, a newly merged organization soon to reveal its new name and expanded vision. Bianca has volunteered alongside many non-profits including: Bentonville Soup, NWA Young Professional Summit, Rogers Lowell Chamber of Commerce, Urban Land Institute of Northwest Arkansas, Co-Founder of NWA Ladies Beer Club (co-founder), Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Crystal Bridges, Museum of Native American History, NWA Fashion Week, Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Benton County and Young Entrepreneurs Academy.


Bianca encourages others to find ways to contribute to their community and looks to expand her outreach once the region gets to a safe place with the pandemic.

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