Cove alum named Woman of the Year
By BRITTANY FHOLER
Copperas Cove High School class of 1977 alum Kathy Tilque was honored as the East Valley Woman of the Year Thursday night at the Positive Paths Night of Heroes Gala in Mesa, Arizona.
Each year, Arizona-based nonprofit organization Positive Paths selects a man and woman to recognize as the East Valley Man and Woman of the Year. The award is given to somebody who has done things within the community or promoted projects within the community that would give back to helping women and their families, according to Woman of the Year recipient Kathy Tilque.
The East Valley is a multi-city region within the Phoenix metropolitan area of Arizona. Gilbert is one of the cities in East Valley and has a population of 250,000.
“It’s quite an honor to be recognized one out of all of those people,” Tilque said about receiving the award.
Tilque has been the CEO of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce since 1996. During her time as president, the Chamber has nearly tripled its membership. She is also a founding member of the East Valley Chambers of Commerce which represents seven chambers at the Arizona State Legislature since 1998.
Tilque moved with her family to Copperas Cove in 1961 at the age of two. She attended Copperas Cove High School and graduated in 1977. While at CCHS, Tilque was active in the DECA organization for her junior and senior years of high school.
She began her chamber career with the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce in 1987 and celebrated 30 years in the chamber business in 2017. She received the Certified Chamber Executive (CCE) designation in 2006 from the American Chambers of Commerce Executives association and is the only CCE designated Chamber executive in the state of Arizona.
Tilque was also a founding member of the organization giving the award, Positive Paths, which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on providing women with self-sustainability through mentoring and education.
Tilque’s other accomplishments include contributing to the development of the Heritage Center in Gilbert, which is a collaborative effort between the city of Gilbert and local non-profit service providers that offer healthcare, education and other resources to underserved women and families.
Tilque said that the award means so much to her because of the work that Positive Paths does.
“Because I believe in what we’re doing and you know, it’s such an honor to be recognized for the work that I’ve done for Positive Paths and some other things in the community because I know that the work I’ve done with others is helping these women and people in our community,” Tilque said. “That’s why it’s such an honor because I feel like the people who nominated me and the people who agreed to give me the award are colleagues and peers and people that I admire so much.”