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UNA Nonprofit Leader Awards

Honoring Nonprofit Leaders in Utah

UNA's Nonprofit Leader Awards recognize the incredible individuals who devote their time and careers to the nonprofit sector. These leaders bring selflessness, dedication, and of course, unrivaled passion to caring for Utah's people, cultures, communities, animals, and environment. Nominating someone for UNA's Outstanding Nonprofit Leader or submitting a Hall of Fame recognition is a public way to celebrate these amazing individuals. When you acknowledge their contributions to your organization, mission, and community, you help create a culture of appreciation and support.

UNA's Outstanding Nonprofit Leaders will be celebrated at the 2024 UNA Annual Conference on Thursday, October 10, 2024 at the Utah Cultural Celebration Center. UNA Hall of Fame honorees will be celebrated on UNA's website, newsletter, and social media, and will be shown on a slide show at the conference.

2024 Nonprofit Leader Awards Nominations are Open!

2024 Outstanding Nonprofit Leader Award

To honor nonprofit leaders who go above and beyond to serve their organizations and communities, UNA celebrates two Outstanding Nonprofit Leaders every year. Our view of leadership is not defined by title or designation, age, authority, or any other qualifier. Instead, it is about the individuals who not only persevere in the face of obstacles, but also engage and inspire the people around them, motivating others to dig deeper and work harder to get results. Regardless of their role, these individuals have made a lasting and positive impact on their organization and in the community. Their passion is contagious, and their results are impressive.

Nomination deadline is 11:59 pm on Monday, July 1, 2024

2024 Hall of Fame Spotlight Recognition

Looking for a way to celebrate the outstanding work and contributions of your organization's staff members? Celebrate those amazing individuals who go above and beyond, day in and day out, to make a difference your community with a recognition in the UNA Hall of Fame. The UNA Hall of Fame honors those hardworking nonprofit employees who have made a lasting impact on your team, your organization, and your mission. Whether it's their exceptional work ethic, their positive attitude, or their unwavering dedication, this is your opportunity to recognize those who embody the values of your organization. All submissions will be honored—this is not a selective award.  

UNA Hall of Fame submission deadline is 11:59 PM on August 16, 2024. 

2023 UNA Outstanding Nonprofit Leaders

Adam Cohen

Adam Cohen, Chief Executive Officer
Odyssey House

Adam Cohen’s journey with Odyssey House began 23 years ago when he participated in the Adolescent Program, and since then, he has steadily progressed through the ranks while obtaining a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in business administration. At the age of 27, Adam was elected as CEO, and he has been instrumental in driving the agency's growth and impact since. Under his leadership, Odyssey House has solidified its position as the largest and most comprehensive treatment provider in the state. In his role as CEO, Adam has demonstrated tremendous business acumen, a passion for innovation, and a personal connection to Odyssey House's mission. Adam is an exceptional leader characterized by unwavering integrity and an innovative spirit. His personal experience as a former program participant gives him a unique perspective on addiction and recovery, allowing him to approach systemic issues with empathy and insight. Watch Adam's Video

Mayra Cedano

Mayra Cedano, Executive Director
Comunidades Unidas

Born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico, Mayra Cedano immigrated to the United States at 11 years old. It was through her lived experiences as an immigrant that her commitment to immigrant rights and community organizing began. She understands what it is like to live in a place where resources are not accessible for all and where fighting for one’s dignity is an everyday task. Mayra’s history with Comunidades Unidas began 13 years ago, evolving through a number of roles from Volunteer Coordinator to Community Engagement and Organizing Director to her current role as Executive Director. Before assuming the position of Executive Director four years ago, she co-founded CU's Immigration Legal Clinic and obtained accreditation from the Department of Justice to practice immigration law. Mayra has pushed through many barriers in her own journey and is a fierce leader who is unafraid to navigate new paths, learn from mistakes, and will always create the space for others to join her. Watch Mayra's Video

UNA's Inaugural Hall of Fame Honorees

New in 2023, the UNA Hall of Fame recognizes and uplifts the incredible contributions made by nonprofit staff and team members. Nominations were submitted by colleagues, board members, and leaders of organizations and detailed the unique impact each honoree has made on their organization. Each UNA Hall of Fame honoree has demonstrated exceptional work ethic, a positive attitude, and passion for their mission. Let’s congratulate these nonprofit all stars who have gone above and beyond in service to their communities.

Past Nonprofit Leader Award Winners

UNA Nonprofit Leader Award Winners and their associated organization at time of award recognition:

2022 Emerging Nonprofit Leader
Jackie Larson, Centro Hispano

Watch Jackie's Video

2021 Emerging Nonprofit Leader
Hope Zitting-Goeckeritz, VOTERISE

Watch Hope's Video

2020 Emerging Nonprofit Leader
Krista Useche, The Family Place

Watch Krista's Video

2019 Emerging Nonprofit Leader
Jennie Noren, Mountain West Mother's Milk Bank

Watch Jennie's Video

2018 Emerging Nonprofit Leader
Andrea Himoff, Action Utah

Watch Andrea's Video

2017 Emerging Nonprofit Leader
Kim Correa, The Inn Between

2022 Outstanding Nonprofit Leader
Sonya Martinez-Ortiz, Rape Recovery Center

Watch Sonya's Video

2021 Outstanding Nonprofit Leader
Kristen Mitchell, Youth Futures

Watch Kristen's Video

2020 Outstanding Nonprofit Leader
Jennifer Nuttall, Neighborhood House

Watch Jennifer's Video

2019 Outstanding Nonprofit Leader
Linda C. Smith, Repertory Dance Theatre

Watch Linda's Video

2018 Outstanding Nonprofit Leader
Heather Chase, The Haven

Watch Heather's Video

2017 Outstanding Nonprofit Leader
Eric Bjorklund, Utah Youth Village