The ATHENA Award was created in 1982 by Martha Mertz, former president of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. It has spread around the world and 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. 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. It also celebrates the potential of all women as leaders of the community and recognizes those who support them.
- 2019 – Karen Grannemann
- 2018 - Suzy Merchant
- 2017 - April Clobes
- 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
Established in 1999, ATHENAPowerLink is a national mentoring program that connects selected women business owners with a skilled advisory panel. The local advisory panel, comprised of mentors best suited to the recipients' needs, will provide free business consultation services for one year, which is a value of over $25,000. The panel will consult to help the business owner achieve networking, capital, operational and strategic goals. The program will also help enhance the business owner's leadership and management skills for future business endeavors.
Women business owners seeking mentoring support through this program must meet the following criteria:
- 51% of business is owned and actively managed by a woman or women.
- At least two years in operation.
- At least two full-time employees, including applicant.
- At least $250,000 in annual gross revenues for a manufacturing or retail business; or at least $100,000 in annual gross revenues for a service business.
- Clearly defined business objectives and specific reasons for seeking an advisory panel.
- She must be willing to openly discuss with the advisory panel her goals for the business and the issues impacting her ability to reach those goals.
- Provide a meeting agenda and appropriate materials for review, such as financial statements, business plan, etc.
- Identify specific company difficulties requiring advice of the advisory panel.
- Accept or reject panel members' advice.
Click here to download the ATHENAPowerLink nomination application. Nominations due Thursday, Feb. 28, 2020.
According to the ATHENA Foundation, on average, women business owners participating in the ATHENAPowerLink program see the following outcomes:
- 88% increase in sales.
- 37% increase in business net income.
- 56% increase in personal income.
- 36% increase in the number of full-time employees.
- 75% increase in the number of part-time employees.
*Statistics provided by the ATHENA International
Since 2006, 12 individuals have received the ATHENAPowerLink Award from the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce (LRCC). In June, Lauren Palmer, founder, Curvaceous Lingerie, was announced as the 2020 PowerLink recipient and will be honored at the annual LRCC ATHENA Awards luncheon March 24.
- 2019 - Leslie Auld, Therapy Today Counseling & Consulting
- 2018 - Kellie Johnson, Kellie's Consignments
- 2017 - Courtney Maki, Glow Social Media
- 2016 - Barb Krejcik, North Winds Heating & Cooling, Inc.
- 2013 - Jill Marlan, Peak Performance Physical Therapy
- 2012 - Jane Mitchell, Jungle Jane Promotions
- 2011 - Heidi Brumbach, Technisch Creative
- 2010 - Rochelle Rizzi, Rizzi Designs
- 2009 - Linda Hundt, Sweetie-licious Bakery Cafe
- 2008 - Angelia McGarry, Carolan & McGarry
- 2007 - Dr. Sue Maurer, Care Connections and Dr. Marcy Street, Doctor's Approach
- 2006 - Kathy Valentine, The Plant Professionals
ATHENA WIN is a powerful group of mid-Michigan's most influential women who work together to help other women propel their career forward by connecting them with new ideas and experiences.
The Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce is a proud partner and supporter of ATHENA WIN.