ATHENA Grand Rapids

The ATHENA Program: Grand Rapids

Once upon a time, women didn’t have the right to vote or to drive. Today, after years of fiercely fighting for their rights, they are challenging, re-inventing, and innovating their communities and are a strong force for economic change.

ATHENA Grand Rapids supports, develops, and inspires women leaders as well as honors the men and women who empower women in leadership. The program offers the ATHENA Award and ATHENA Young Professional Award, annual scholarships to women over 30, and bi-monthly leadership forums.

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. The ATHENA Leadership Award and the ATHENA Young Professionals Award have become the country’s most prestigious awards for women, honoring those who achieve professional success, while also giving back to the community.

The ATHENA Program aims to empower women to seek out and succeed at leadership positions, despite the challenges the country faces regarding these issues. By supporting and recognizing them in a great number of ways, the hope is that they are inspired to succeed, make an impact, and are encouraged to guide future generations to do the same.

Interested in Joining the ATHENA Council?

The ATHENA Council meets monthly and attends bimonthly ATHENA Leadership Forums (6-8 per calendar year), as well as the Annual ATHENA Leadership Awards event. 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.

Those interested in participating in the ATHENA Council for the start date of January 2020 will be due by October 18th, 2019. Any interests submitted after that date will be considered for the 2021 Council start date.

Additions to the Council will be reviewed in November of every year for a  January 1st start date. Interested candidates will be contacted in the fall to begin the process.

Questions can be sent to Mel Trombley, Director of Leadership Programs at

Click Here to Apply to Be a Council Member

The ATHENA Awards

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 women have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in Grand Rapids.

The ATHENA Leadership Award and ATHENA Young Professional Award are founded on the ATHENA Leadership Model® from ATHENA International. This model identifies eight distinct attributes that are reflective of women’s contributions to leadership: Authentic Self, Relationships, Giving Back, Collaboration, Courageous Acts, Learning, Fierce Advocacy, Celebration and Joy. We are also excited to introduce the ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award in 2019, which will recognize businesses and organizations that support, develop and honor women leaders.

The ATHENA Leadership Forum

The ATHENA Leadership Forum fosters and supports the development of strong female leaders in our community. Rooted in the eight principles of the ATHENA Leadership Model, the bi-monthly ATHENA Leadership Forum provides professional development opportunities for women of all levels.

Each ATHENA Leadership Forum features a brief presentation followed by a facilitated discussion around one of the eight ATHENA principles—Authentic Self, Celebration & Joy, Collaboration, Courageous Acts, Fierce Advocacy, Giving Back, Learning, and Relationships.

Join us to learn valuable leadership lessons, interact with leaders in the community, and network with a diverse group of women through dynamic roundtable discussions.

Upcoming Forum Details

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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