Congratulations to our 2013 ATHENA Recipients!
ATHENA honors those who have demonstrated leadership in their field, opened doors of opportunities for women, contributed time and talent to the community, and are role models to others.
2013 ATHENA Award Recipient: Jeanne Englehart, Vice President of Client Management, The Charter Group
Jeanne Englehart’s success story is one of leading by example. Well known as a Grand Rapids business leader and Vice President of Client Management for The Charter Group, Jeanne has mentored and supported women through a wide range of business and community leadership roles—exhibiting every ATHENA tenet while helping others realize their potential.
Englehart has an extensive history as a business owner and entrepreneur. Her experience includes a host of board and leadership positions in local and national organizations, seven years as the first female President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, and a gubernatorial appointment to the State of Michigan Early Childhood Investment Corporation. She previously served as a member of the City of Grand Rapids Transformation Advisory group and formerly worked at the national level—both as Community Services Director for Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers and as a delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business.
Among her many accomplishments, Englehart counts being named as one of 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal in 2006, 2008, and 2010. She was honored with the Women of Achievement and Courage Award by the Michigan Women’s Foundation in 2005 and the Woman of “E” Quality Award from the Women’s Resource Center in 2003. She has also been featured among the outstanding women in West Michigan for Women’s History Month and received the Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council Award. Previous accolades also include recognition as a National Career Woman of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, and a 2009, 2010 and 2013 honoree with Inforum’s Inner Circle.
2013 ATHENA Young Professional: Bridget Clark Whitney, Executive Director, Kids’ Food Basket
Bridget Clark Whitney is the executive director of Kids’ Food Basket (KFB), the largest and most successful anti-childhood hunger program in the state of Michigan with an annual budget of $3.8 million. It is also one of the largest volunteer programs in Michigan with over 12,000 volunteers, ages 5-95, averaging 175 volunteers each day. From humble beginnings 10 years ago, the childhood hunger relief organization has expanded from serving 125 to nearly 6,000 evening “Sack Supper” meals each day to food-insecure children in Greater Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
A Pittsburgh native and 2003 Aquinas College graduate, Whitney is passionate about Grand Rapids and the opportunities for community collaboration that exist here. She has served on the Heart of West Michigan United Way campaign cabinet, Gilda’s Club LaughFest cabinet, and the boards of Indian Trails Camp, Nonprofit Innovations Inc. and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids. She is currently co-chairing the two-day Michigan Nonprofit Association annual meeting and SuperConference 2013 coming to Grand Rapids in October. Additionally, she was named a 2009 American Express NGen Fellows—one of 12 emerging leaders in the country chosen to examine together how young leaders can contribute to a conversation that generates collaborative solutions to society’s most pressing problems.