ATHENA Grand Rapids

ATHENA Grand Rapids

We empower, connect, and equip women in West Michigan to fearlessly lead and cultivate our next generation of leaders.

Click to Donate to the ATHENA Eileen DeVries Scholarship Fund 


ATHENA, an affinity group of the Grand Rapids Chamber, provides the information, access, and connections to support the professional development of women professionals in West Michigan. The scheduled events and programs of ATHENA are built upon 8 Principles: Learning, Relationships, Celebration & Joy, Courageous Acts, Fierce Advocacy, Authentic Self, Collaboration, and Giving Back.

ATHENA Grand Rapids focuses on issues and topics relevant to women professionals at all career levels in corporations, small businesses, public and non-profit organizations within our community. The program offers the annual ATHENA Award and ATHENA Young Professional Award, scholarships to women, and leadership forums and events.

What is ATHENA International?

ATHENA International is a non-profit organization that aims to support, develop, and honor women leaders in local communities all around the world through scholarships, leadership forums, and recognizing women of excellence.

ATHENA Action Committee

As our programs and community expands, we need leaders to intentionally put our principles into action. Through the ATHENA Action Committee, we will create spaces to authentically connect and celebrate those that are fiercely advocating and leading for women in our community. The Action Committee will:

  • Promote events and be intentional to invite and include new people
  • Unofficially lead table discussions to ensure depth and participation at ATHENA Leadership Forums
  • Actively create a strong community where people own their ATHENA power

Apply for the ATHENA Action Committee

Click here for more information about the ATHENA Action Committee

The ATHENA Awards Celebration

The ATHENA Award program began in Grand Rapids in 1989 and exists to honor women and men for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills. More than thirty amazing individuals have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in Grand Rapids. We are also excited to continue the ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award, which began in 2019, to recognize businesses and organizations that support, develop and honor women leaders.

In 2020, the Awards Celebration will take place on Thursday, September 24.

Click here to learn more

Nominate a deserving individual or organization

The ATHENA Leadership Forum

These events are a time for people to authentically connect across roles, communities and sectors to promote growth for individuals and the community, as a whole. Each forum is based on one of the eight ATHENA Principles. The speaker format varies from one person, two people in a fireside chat, to a panel. Throughout each forum, there will be 1-2 breakouts for table discussion.

Be sure to visit the ATHENA Facebook Page for the most up-to-date details on events!

Upcoming Forum Details

Interested in an ATHENA Leadership Role?

ATHENA Council

The ATHENA Council meets monthly and attends ATHENA Leadership Forums and events throughout the year, including the Annual ATHENA Leadership Awards Celebration. We ask that our council members commit to attending 80% of our ATHENA programming for the year. Please only apply if you are able to make this commitment.

The applications for the 2020 ATHENA Council are now closed, but those interested in participating in the 2021 ATHENA Council should apply by October 18th, 2020.

Additions to the Council will be reviewed in November of every year for a January 1st start date.


2020 ATHENA Council Members

Daysha Pell, LCS Record Retrieval

Isabel Lopez-Slattery, Dreams by Bella Photography

Jaime Counterman, Metro Health | University of Michigan Health

Kelli Rose, Independent Bank

Kimberly Van Driel, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

Krashawn Martin, City of Wyoming

Krista Paulin, Special Olympics Michigan

Lizzie Williams, OST

Mei Mah, Grand Valley State University

Dr. Nkechy Ezeh, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

Patty McCormick, Consultant

Roberta Sniatecki, PNC Bank

Sara Grey Lachman, Lunar Cycle

Questions or Comments?

Please reach out to Mel Trombley, Director of Leadership Programs, at 616.771.0317 or mel@grandrapids.org.

Being awarded this amazing scholarship from such a strong group of powerful women gave me the encouragement I needed to work towards my college education.” - Valerie Cook, 2014 ATHENA Scholarship Recipient
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