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ATHENA Award
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The ATHENA Award honors women and men who strive towards the highest levels of professional accomplishment, who excel in their chosen field, have devoted time and energy to their community, and who pave paths for other women to follow.

To nominate someone, please fill out the application. Due date is Monday, October 24, 2016.

The ATHENA Award celebrates the potential of all women as leaders of the community and recognizes those who support them.

The ATHENA Award was created by former Lansing Chamber President Martha Mertz in 1982 and has since spread around the world. More than 6,000 awards have been presented in over 500 communities in the United States, Canada, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.


2016 Recipient - Joan Jackson Johnson, City of Lansing

Joan Jackson Johnson, director of the human relations and community services department for the City of Lansing, was honored by the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce as the 2016 ATHENA Award recipient.

“Her altruism to humanity is beyond measure and something that can’t be communicated in a format that has been so eloquently articulated through action,” said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. “Dr. Johnson’s accomplishments and generous demeanor have served her and the community well. She is truly one in a million and is worthy of this recognition.”

Joan Jackson Johnson used her education background and training to impact the community — the most vulnerable in the community. With a PhD in Psychology and the owner of a local business, Joan could have chosen the path of clinical therapy that focused on the more affluent portion of the community. Instead, she has dedicated the past 35 years as a visible advocate trying to bridge the disparity gap.

Prior to becoming an employee with the City of Lansing in 2008, Dr. Johnson served as a psychologist within her own practice, the East Lansing Center for the Family, which was established in 1990. Additionally, she served on numerous boards that focused solely on improving the quality of life for women, men, children and families. Dr. Johnson is an extremely charitable person who is widely known for hosting an annual fundraiser that generates funds for several shelters and ministries. She has been a vigorous advocate for the homeless and underprivileged.

ATHENA Award Recipients

2016 - Joan Jackson Johnson

2015 - Sarah Jennings

2014 - Dr. June Pierce Youatt

2013 - Kelly Rossman-McKinney

2012 - Stella Cash 

2011 - Nancy McKeague

2010 - Nell Kuhnmuench

2009 - Tiffany Dowling

2008 - Rachelle Neal

2007 - Paula Blanchard-Stone

2006 - Sheri Jones

2005 - Paula Cunningham

2004 - Lou Anna K. Simon

2003 - Theda Rudd

2002 - Carol Conn

2001 - Mary Ellen Sheets

2000 - Virginia Hilbert

1999 - Suzanne Beekman Mills

1998 - Sandra Draggoo

1997 - Marianne E. Samper

1996 - Joan E. Bauer

1995 - Priscilla J. Peterson

1994 - Helen Pratt Mickens

1993 - Dawn E. Springer

1992 - Patrick D. Hanes

1991 - Eva Evans, Ph.D.

1990 - The Honorable Debbie Stabenow

1989 - Mildred Erickson

1988 - Hortense G. Canady, Ph.D.

1987 - Marcia Jensen Spencer

1986 - Martha Mertz

1985 - Alyson W. Steele

1984 - Sister Mary Janice Belen

1983 - Lucille E. Belen

1982 - Dr. MaryLee Davis

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