Celebrate the 27th Annual ATHENA Awards

By Renee Franklin

In West Michigan, women in business have proved time and time again that they are unstoppable forces in their industries, immeasurable allies to their communities and benefactors to the generations that follow them.

This month, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce invites you to honor some of the outstanding women in leadership who have contributed their time, talents and treasures to the community at the 29th Annual ATHENA Award Celebration from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m on Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids.

Since 1989, the ATHENA Award program has honored local women who demonstrate the following tenents: authentic self, relationships, giving back, collaboration, courageous acts, learning, fierce advocacy, celebration and joy.

This year, Jennifer Maxson, president of Jennifer Maxson and Associates, is the recipient of the prestigious award. Past winners include community icons such as WGVU Morning Host Shelley Irwin, Community Foundation President Diana Sieger and the late Eileen DeVries, a trailblazing financial advisor who was instrumental in implementing a law overturning men-only tee times at golf courses throughout the state.

The luncheon celebration is made possible by sponsors such as Priority Health, Amway and Blue Cross Blue Shield. In addition to honoring Maxson with the ATHENA Leadership Award, the winner of the ATHENA Young Professional Award will be announced. The nominees are: Ashley Diersch, Development Director of Kids’ Food Basket; Miranda Krajniak, Executive Director of the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts; Sara Low, Executive Director of Emmanuel Hospice; Lauren McElrath, Program Leader of NYC Leadership Academy; and Abbey Sladick, Vice President
of Communications of Mel
Trotter Ministries.

Also being honored are the recipients

of the ATHENA Scholarship, which gives financial assistance to women over the age of 30 who are pursuing their dreams through higher education.

Tickets are available for purchase until Sept.14 at web.grandrapids.org/events/ATHENAAward.

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