ATHENA Awards Celebration


Our annual ATHENA Awards Celebration is held each year to recognize and celebrate women and the remarkable leaders fostering avenues of opportunity and professional growth for future generations.

The ATHENA Awards Program and ATHENA Young Professional Award are founded on the ATHENA Leadership Model® from ATHENA International, which identifies eight distinct attributes, called the ATHENA Tenets, that are reflective of women’s contributions to leadership: Authentic Self, Relationships, Giving Back, Collaboration, Courageous Acts, Learning, Fierce Advocacy, Celebration and Joy.

Congratulations to our 2015 ATHENA Award Recipient!

Peggy_Lawrence_Burns_ATHENA_2015_WEB_credit-Adam-BirdRev. Peggy Lawrence Burns is director of Intergenerational Programs at Senior Neighbors (previously of Gerontology Network) as well as the founder of the nationally-known Traveling Grannies and Grandpas program and creator of several local elementary literacy programs.

At the 2015 ATHENA Award Celebration, Peggy was recognized for her leadership, mentorship, and remarkable contributions to the greater Grand Rapids community during her 40-year-long career as an advocate for youth and the elderly.

Sara_Lachman_ATHENA_YP_2015_HORIZONTAL_credit-Adam-BirdSara Lachman of Miller Johnson was presented with the ATHENA® Young Professional Award. The award—created in late 2007 by ATHENA International and adopted by the Grand Rapids Chamber in 2008—recognizes emerging leaders in communities with ATHENA programs. The ATHENA program 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—particularly young women—in the community. Ten women were finalists for the 2015 ATHENA Young Professional Award this year, including Lachman.

Exclusive Premier Sponsor

Exclusive Finalists Reception Sponsor

Diamond Sponsors


Spectrum Health

Emerald Sponsors

Owen Ames Kimball

PNC Bank


Ruby Sponsors

Amerikam, Inc.
Cascade Engineering
Chemical Bank
Clark Hill PLC
Consumers Energy
Davenport University
Grand Valley State University
Michigan State University College of Human Medicine
Plante Moran
The Rapid
Wood TV8

Crystal Sponsor

United Way, Heart of West Michigan

Special Thanks…


Special thanks to Salon Citrene for providing hair and makeup for the 2015 scholarship recipients.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Sponsorship of the ATHENA Award Celebration creates a partnership that connects your organization with a prestigious women’s leadership program and connects you to other prominent members of our community. A portion of each sponsorship additionally funds our ATHENA Scholarship program each year. We invite all Chamber Members to connect by participating in events and being a sponsor.

Click here for sponsorship levels and benefits or contact Joshua Verhulst for sponsorship information.