ATHENA Leadership Award
The ATHENA Leadership 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. The Lansing Regional Chamber has honored nearly 40 individuals throughout the years.
View the 2020 ATHENA Awards
1982 - Dr. MaryLee Davis
1983 - Lucille E. Belen
1984 - Sister Mary Janice Belen
1985 - Alyson W. Steele
1986 - Martha Mertz
1987 - Marcia Jensen Spencer
1988 - Hortense G. Canady, Ph.D.
1989 - Mildred Erickson
1990 - Sen. Debbie Stabenow
1991 - Eva Evans, Ph.D.
1992 - Patrick D. Hanes
1993 - Dawn E. Springer
1994 - Helen Pratt Mickens
1995 - Priscilla J. Peterson
1996 - Joan E. Bauer
1997 - Marianne E. Samper
1998 - Sandra Draggoo
1999 - Suzanne Beekman Mills
2000 - Virginia Hilbert
2001 - Mary Ellen Sheets
2002 - Carol Conn
2003 - Theda Rudd
2004 - Lou Anna K. Simon
2005 - Paula Cunningham
2006 - Sheri Jones
2007 - Paula Blanchard-Stone
2008 - Rachelle Neal
2009 - Tiffany Dowling
2010 - Nell Kuhnmuench
2011 - Nancy McKeague
2012 - Stella Cash
2013 - Kelly Rossman-McKinney
2014 - Dr. June Pierce Youatt
2015 - Sarah Jennings
2016 - Joan Jackson Johnson
2017 - April Clobes
2018 - Suzie Merchant
2019 - Karen Grannemann
2020 - Elaine Hardy
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.
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, over a dozen individuals have received the ATHENAPowerLink Award from the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce. The ATHENAPowerLink recipients are honored at the annual ATHENA Award luncheon.
- Jenny Quinn, Trista Parisian - FLEXCity Fitness
- 2020 - Lauren Palmer, Curvaceous Lingerie
- 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.