The ATHENA Leadership Award

The ATHENA Leadership Award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment - qualities embodied in the ATHENA Leadership Model.

The Award is unique in both scope---local, national and international---and the ATHENA mission upon which it is based. The ATHENA Leadership Award is presented to a woman ---or man--- who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.

Since the program’s inception in 1982, more than 7,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, Unite Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Leadership Award Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

The ATHENA Leadership Award is presented annually by chambers of commerce, women’s organizations and universities. The award is established through local host organizations in partnership with ATHENA International’s national underwriters, local businesses and individual sponsors.

Nominations are solicited and an ATHENA sculpture is awarded to an individual in the community who meets specific criteria listed below.

ATHENA Leadership Award Criteria

ATHENA Leadership Award recipients are individuals who:

  • Have achieved the highest level of professional excellence.

  • Contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.

  • Actively assist others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential.

Benefits of Involvement

  • Your organization and community provide an environment where women’s accomplishments and contributions are valued.

  • Recognizing outstanding individuals in your community clearly defines role models for others to emulate.

  • Affiliation with an international network of women and men who work together to create leadership opportunities for women encourages the empowerment of women leaders.

  • Sizable attendance at award events by community and business leaders promotes positive relations and networking opportunities.

  • Substantial media coverage results in exposure for sponsoring businesses and organizations.

Local Sponsors

Some host organizations ask their sponsor(s) to underwrite only the cost of the sculpture, while others create a menu of opportunities that brings multiple sponsors and enough financial support to fully fund their event. The sponsors’ level of participation determines how much they receive in return. Recruit sponsors by offering:

  • A seat on the ATHENA Award Program and/or Selection Committee.

  • Opportunity to present the award.

  • Visual presence in all printed materials, including event signage and banner

  • Special recognition in the event invitation and program.

  • Complimentary event tickets with corporate table opportunity.

  • Press release recognizing the sponsor in a local newspaper.

  • Special mention and recognition on the host organization’s website.

Whether the event is large or small, the opportunities to attract sponsors are limitless. The ATHENA Award Program offers built-in flexibility that we encourage you to use to your advantage.

How Sponsorship
Benefits You

The ATHENA® Award program is a worthy investment. Your participation sends a clear message that your business invests in your community and its growth by identifying and honoring its leaders – both women and men. The caliber of ATHENA Leadership Award Nominees and Recipients often draws media coverage. Your participation associates you with exemplary leaders and is a vehicle to cultivating important relationships both personally and professionally.

Sponsors Receive:

  • Increased visibility for your corporation

  • Relationship building with a diverse group of prominent members of your community

  • Partnership with an international women’s leadership program

  • Credibility with women by honoring dynamic leaders

  • Reward of local and regional media exposure

  • Recognition for your organization and community in ATHENA International eNews

  • Publicity and the opportunity to reach a wider customer base as the word spreads that you support women’s leadership initiatives

ATHENA Leadership Award Nominees and Recipients are leaders in their profession, well-connected in their community, hold leadership positions in service and professional organizations and often lend their time and talent to corporate and foundation boards. Perhaps most importantly, they are great mentors who ‘lift as they climb’, extending a hand to their peers and the next generation of leaders alike. ATHENA Leadership Award Recipients foster leadership qualities in others.

Step by Step Guide

Complete License Agreement

  • Return the license agreement and the annual license fee to ATHENA International. This gives your organization permission to use the ATHENA copyrighted materials and protects the quality and integrity of the ATHENA Leadership Award Program. Before you begin, contact Corinne McWherter for an ATHENA Award Program License.

Select your ATHENA Liaison

  • Choose a point person to oversee the ATHENA Leadership Award Program in your community.

Establish Planning Committee

  • This group oversees the logistics, publicity, sponsor recruitment and Recipient selections.

Select Event Date

  • Inform ATHENA International of the date for your ATHENA Leadership Award presentation.

Obtain Local Sponsorship

  • National underwriters often sponsor local ATHENA Leadership Award events in the communities they serve. While they are always offered the first invitation for local sponsorship, securing additional sponsors is encouraged. Many communities offer multiple sponsorships using tiered levels.

Encourage Local Publicity

  • Encourage the local sponsor(s) and organizational partners to promote the event in all of their advertising and press releases. Provide written press releases for this purpose.

Call for Nominations

  • Utilize your community’s resources to reach as many people as possible when seeking nominees for the ATHENA Leadership Award.

Establish Selection Committee

  • The duty of this group is to review the nominations and through a series of discussions and written ballots determine the award Recipient.

Order ATHENA Sculpture

  • Order your sculpture once you have selected your Recipient. A sculpture order form will be sent to you upon receipt of your license and payment. Engraving is included in your license.

Order Committee/Nominee Gifts

  • Order gifts from the ATHENA Merchandise line for your Recipient and nominees.

Identify Keynote Speaker

  • Arrange for a speaker to deliver an address and congratulate your Recipient.

Presentation Follow-up

  • Submit Recipient information to ATHENA International for inclusion in our database. Send any program articles, pictures or press releases for inclusion in our monthly eNews.

What hosts have to say

Deciding to become part of the ATHENA Award® Program was one of the easiest decisions I’ve made at the chamber. ATHENA International has made it so easy for us to recognize those individuals who have taken the time in this busy world to involve and encourage women to become active and assume leadership roles. Not only has the media given us front-page coverage, but I’ve witnessed a bond forming between our Recipients to work together and seek out even more opportunities to mentor women. It’s been a great opportunity to enhance our chamber by offering this prestigious award.
— Cindy Tenwald [Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce] Lima, Ohio
It is the focus on mentorship that sets this award apart from any other. There are other award programs in place that recognize the achievements of women, but the ATHENA Award recognizes efforts made to open doors of leadership opportunity for other women in the community.
— Rosemary Corsetti [The Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce] Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

What sponsors have to say

Our dealership has been involved with the ATHENA Award® Program as a sponsor for 20 years….To be associated with such a great program is a very good thing for your dealership. What I would say to other GM dealers is, just do it!
— Randy Farnsworth [Randall Pontiac Buick GMC] Canandaigua, New York
As a Sales Manager, I am always trying to evaluate how our marketing efforts support business goals. With the ATHENA Award, it has been evident right from the start. As people in the community learned about the program, the ATHENA mission and National City’s sponsorship, there was an immediate and positive reaction. We are distinguished as a supporter of an important and unique program that is held in high regard. And it provides an excellent platform for a number of business development efforts targeted at women in the workplace as well as the entire business community.
— Jane Darling [Group Sales Manager, National City Bank] Traverse City, Michigan

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we get started?

  • Simply review, sign and return the ATHENA Award Program license and fee.

  • You will receive a program handbook, complete with guidelines and winning strategies to implement the program in your community.

How can we make the most of our involvement?

  • Be creative. The program is flexible, allowing plenty of room for innovation and creativity.

  • Collaborate with other communities in your state or region who host ATHENA Award Programs to share ideas and resources.

  • Let ATHENA hear from you. We welcome your feedback and are always available to help ensure successful programming.

What is included in the ATHENA Award program license?

  • License and rights to host the ATHENA Award Program

  • An ATHENA Sculpture, engraved with the recipient’s name and award year

  • Program materials: handbook, program forms, graphic files, promotional items, sponsor materials and access to ATHENA online resources

  • Photos and/or articles featuring your ATHENA Recipient in the ATHENA ENews

  • Link to your Web site and program information on ATHENA Web site

  • Ongoing correspondence with your ATHENA Recipient

  • Program/staff support from ATHENA International

  • Invitations to ATHENA International hosted event