ATHENA Leadership Award

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 start 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.

Licensed award program fees:

Local: $1,550
National: $2,500
Global: $5,000


  • 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.


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. Feel free to use content from this linked page when soliciting sponsorships.



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 private, 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. Fresh flowers are also suggested for the day of the event.

Identify Keynote Speaker
Arrange for a speaker to deliver an address and congratulate your recipient. This could also be a sponsor benefit to present the award. Some communities ask the recipient or previous year’s recipient to speak as well.

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 online newsletter.


“The Greenville Chamber is proud to be in partnership with organizations like ATHENA International to bring awareness to the need to fully leverage talents of women and create gender-balanced workplaces.”

“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.”




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 Leadership 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 website and program information on ATHENA website
  • Ongoing correspondence with your ATHENA Recipient
  • Program/staff support from ATHENA International
  • Invitations to ATHENA International hosted event




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