YaleWomen has selected Linda Lorimer, former vice president for Global and Strategic Initiatives, as the recipient of its inaugural Award for Excellence. Lorimer  will receive the award formally on May 2 at an award dinner hosted at the Yale Club of New York City.

Ellen McGinnis ’82, the immediate past chair of YaleWomen, said Lorimer was chosen because of her championing of women’s issues, adding that Lorimer has been actively involved in the organization for many years. McGinnis added that the decision was made by a large consensus because all organization members agreed that Lorimer epitomized many of the values YaleWomen seeks to uphold. According to the YaleWomen website, the organization is a “shared interest group under the auspices” of the Association of Yale Alumni — an alumni-initiated group that serves to bring together graduates who share the same goals. All female alumni of the University are automatically included as members of YaleWomen, and currently no male graduates can become members.

“I am deeply honored that YaleWomen has chosen me for this award. But I am even more pleased to see how YaleWomen has thrived,” Lorimer said. “It offers an incredible set of programs each year that attract women graduates of every school and college.”

Lorimer said that YaleWomen creates a great networking environment for women across the University to meet one another. She said there are many opportunities outside of the organization for Yale alumni across genders to interact, but YaleWomen offers women a real “sisterhood” that counters the “old boy network” that had existed for a long time.

According to Mindy Marks ’00, the director for shared interest groups at AYA, candidacy for the award is open to all Yale alumni and administrators  — female or male — who are closely associated with the University. Regarding why the award may be conferred upon males who are not members of the organization, McGinnis said the organization aims to be inclusive in opening dialogues about women’s issues and gender equality. The official criteria for the award states that it may be conferred on men who have “worked for the same goals and satisfies the criteria.”

“It is critically important to recognize the effort that men have made to social equality for women, because the whole society needs to change in order to advance women’s opportunities,” McGinnis said.

But although the award can be conferred upon all alumni, McGinnis noted that there should also be a designated space for female Yalies, referring to YaleWomen.

Marks said that shared interest groups like YaleWomen develop a collaborative approach because they are initiated by alumni. McGinnis further added that as nonprofit organizations pipelined mainly by volunteers, shared interest groups try to empower alumni to become involved in the kinds of projects that particularly interest them.

“It allows alumni who are interested to take the responsibility of the organization’s growth as opposed to the group being led from top-down,” said Marks. Sandy Lee ’00, who chairs the activities committee for Yale Club of New York City, also said that the club likes working with shared interest groups because they are generated by alumni who are truly passionate about a cause.

“We are all for [the interest groups], and it’s been really wonderful watching them grow,” Lee said.

YaleWomen was created in 2010.