Marilyn L. Ratkin and Risa Zwerling Wrighton Named 2018 Women of Achievement

Marilyn L. Ratkin and Risa Zwerling Wrighton have been named as 2018 Women of Achievement. The St. Louis Women of Achievement Award, which was founded in 1955, is the oldest, ongoing program in the area whose sole mission is to honor and recognize the volunteer service and volunteer leadership of women.

Marilyn Ratkin is being honored for her volunteer leadership and service in the area of social justice. She has a long history of seeking out opportunities to improve the community through advocacy and direct service. During her 25-year professional career, she was engaged in social justice efforts, and upon retirement she focused her volunteer work on helping low-income women and families affected by domestic violence.

Her passion and dedication has led her to leadership roles in many organizations: National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), serving on its board since 2008; Ready Readers, serving on its Board for the past four years and as a volunteer reader and mentor; United Way’s Allocation Panel member for eight years; and Spirit of St. Louis (SOS) Women’s Fund.

Ratkin’s premier accomplishment is spearheading the founding of a micro-lending program, The Healing Hearts Bank, part of an NCJW National Initiative. This bank, designed to empower women impacted by domestic violence to become financially independent, has expanded to reach underserved women and families.

Risa Zwerling Wrighton is being honored in the area of impactful leadership. She is currently on the boards of Our Little Haven, Provident, Inc., and has been involved in mentoring disadvantaged youth through “Aging Out” and “Discovering Options” programs. She has also been active in the Jewish Federation, the Center for Creative Arts and Central Reform Congregation.

Zwerling Wrighton has worked as a 4-year academic advisor at Washington University in St. Louis, and supports a wide range of initiatives at the university. She is the founder of Home Plate, where she places hundreds of students each year with families for a “touch of home away from home.” She also supports student run fundraisers, such as Relay for Life, Dance Marathon and Mr. and Ms. Wash U. In 2015, she spearheaded Washington University’s year-long gun violence prevention initiative to address gun violence as a public health crisis. This project has led to a community wide collaboration with United Way agencies which continue this effort.

The full Women of Achievement 2018 Class of Honorees includes:
Karen D. Anderson — Civic Responsibility
Teka Childress — Community Betterment
Shannon Marie Diekemper — Humanitarian Concerns
Victoria Dolan — Caring and Compassion
Judy Preddy Draper — Multicultural Awareness
Rachel Ebeling — Music Therapy Advocacy
Kim Hutton — Family Empowerment
Tammy Iskarous — Social Enterprise
Marilyn L. Ratkin — Social Justice
Risa Zwerling Wrighton — Impactful Leadership

The 2018 honorees will be recognized at the 2018 Women of Achievement Luncheon on Tuesday, May 15 at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Doors open at 11:15 a.m. and the luncheon runs until 1:30 p.m. This year’s luncheon chair is Phyllis Langsdorf (Class of 2014) and the vice chair is Eva Frazer, M.D. (Class of 2014). Luncheon reservations are $60 per person and can be made online at or by contacting Women of Achievement at 314.896.4962 or

Women of Achievement honorees are selected from nominations from the St. Louis metropolitan area, including Metro East Illinois, who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to the betterment of the St. Louis region through voluntary contributions, volunteer leadership and a significant breadth of a volunteer career. Women of Achievement considers nominees with significant volunteer impact in areas such as, but not limited to, education, arts, health and human services, youth and family, philanthropy, social justice and advocacy.

For additional information about the awards, luncheon and honorees, please visit

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