(Please note: Information related to the timing and cost of the entries has been updated.)

It’s pretty fitting that the third annual McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards will honor longtime caregivers and leaders who are not in the C-suite.

After all, has this not been the year of the unsung hero? One story of the pandemic is caregivers working tirelessly, without demanding recognition or praise, merely because this is what they do and love.

A commitment to the field, in a way, is what the new Women of Distinction category — Veteran VIPs — in  the 2021 Women of Distinction program is all about. These are the women who have many years of experience in skilled nursing or senior living but are at a lower level than vice president (or equivalent). I, for one, hope we are flooded with nominations in this new category.

And, as always, we will celebrate incredible women who are in the Hall of Honor or are Rising Stars. Here are brief explanations of each category in the 2021 program:

  • Hall of Honor candidates should be at the level of vice president (or equivalent) or higher and must have made a significant impact in their organizations.
  • Rising Stars nominees should have fewer than 15 years of experience in the industry or be no more than 40 years old, and they must have demonstrated an exceptional commitment to the industry.
  • New this year, Veteran VIP honorees will fall between the Hall of Honor inductees and Rising Stars. Veteran VIP nominees should have more than 15 years of experience in senior living or skilled nursing but should be at a level lower than vice president (or equivalent).

Do you know a woman or women worthy of being nominated? The time to act is now. The last day to submit nominations is Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. The fee per entry is $99.

For more information or to nominate someone for recognition, visit this website. You also can check out last year’s awards ceremony, and 2020 Hall of Honor and Rising Stars winners.

The 2021 awards no doubt will unleash stories of women across long-term care and senior living who have risen to the occasion amidst the pandemic. In keeping with this period of time, it promises to be anything but ordinary.

Liza Berger is Senior Editor of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News. Follow her@LizaBerger19.