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Help connect, honor, and recognize women leaders in Grand Rapids!


Events and Programs

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As of May 24, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce closed nominations for the prestigious ATHENA Award and the ATHENA Young Professional Award. Selection committees are meeting and finalizing this year's finalist and recipient lists. Stay tuned for exciting announcements!


This year’s award recipients and finalists will be honored at the 2013 ATHENA Award Celebration on Thursday, September 12 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. So mark your calendars!

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the high-profile 2013 ATHENA Award Celebration. Contact Mark Allen at or 616.771.0448 for details.

Presented annually by the Chamber, these awards recognize individuals for professional excellence, community service, mentoring, and active assistance in helping women attain professional excellence and leadership skills.


An ATHENA Award nominee:

  • Is an established leader and mentor who assists women in reaching their full potential;
  • Demonstrates excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession;
  • Provides valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.

Past recipients include:

2012 - Carole Valade
2011 - Kathy Crosby
2010 - Dr. Marsha Rappley
2009 - Nancy Skinner
2008 - Marge Byington Potter
2007 - Birgit Klohs
2006 - Hon. Sara Smolenski

An ATHENA Young Professional Award nominee:

  • Is an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in her/his business or profession;
  • Serves as a role model for young women personally and professionally;
  • Is 40 years old or younger, and has a minimum of five (5) years professional experience;
  • Provides valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in the community. 

Past recipients include:

2012 - Milinda Ysasi Castñaon
2011 - Shaquanda Gordon
2010 - Rachel Mraz
2009 - Luisa Schumacher
2008 - Rosalynn Bliss


  • Nominations for the 2013 ATHENA Award Program can be submitted by downloading the nomination form available here. All nominations must be received by Friday, May 24.
  • Individuals submitted for nomination will be asked to complete a Nominee Application should they wish to be considered for a 2013 ATHENA or ATHENA Young Professional Award.
  • Nominee Applications submitted by the deadline will be reviewed by a Selection Committee made up of community leaders. Committee members will score Applications using a point system to measure an individual’s responses against the Award criteria and the ATHENA Leadership Model.
  • Ten nominees for each award will be selected, and will be recognized during the ATHENA Award Luncheon and in various GRACC communications. The ATHENA Award and ATHENA Young Professional Award recipients will be chosen from this group of ten nominees.

The ATHENA Award and ATHENA Young Professional Award are programs of ATHENA International, an organization dedicated to supporting, developing and honoring women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full potential, and creating balance in leadership worldwide. 

Questions? Contact Mercedes Cowper at or call 616.771.0341.

For more information regarding this event, please contact Mercedes Cowper at 616.771.0341.

To add your company name to the prestigious list of ATHENA supporters, contact Mark Allen at 616.771.0357. A portion of each sponsorship funds the ATHENA Scholarship Fund!
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