Meet the ATHENA Young Professional Finalists!

We’re excited to give you the opportunity to get to know our ATHENA Young Professional Finalists! Women’s Network recognizes three individuals each year for their exemplary work in their profession, their devotion of time and energy to their community, and for serving as a role model for women. We will be revealing the 2019 recipient at our ATHENA International Awards banquet on May 2, 2019, where we will also honor these amazing women.

Dr. Bridget Gruender
Owner & Physician, Liberty Family Medicine

Bridget’s supporters speak of her integrity, caring heart and her commitment to her clients. She is described as fun-loving, driven and an advocate for her patients, as well as the well-being of our community. They detail her commitment to providing support and mentoring to female physicians through a number of organizations that she volunteers with. Not only does Dr. Gruender provide free medical exams to children staying at Rainbow House Children’s Shelter in Columbia, but she has provided support in improving health coverage services to clinics across Missouri and in Kansas. She has a long list of experience that we’re excited to continue to share with you in the coming months!

Nikki McGruder
Director, Inclusive Impact Institute

Nikki is praised for her focus and commitment to starting conversations around diversity and inclusion in our community. Her supporters tout her passion, hard work and heart for the community. She is described as charismatic, powerful and an incredible role model for the future leaders of our community, as well as uplifted for her work in supporting women through her words of inclusion and diversity. From launching the Human campaign, which challenges us all to see one another as human first, to serving on the advisory council for Columbia Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Peter Stiepleman, Nikki is everywhere and we can’t wait to showcase her more in the coming months!

Dr. Laine Young-Walker, MD
Chief of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University of Missouri Health Care.

People who know Laine speak of the hard work and dedication she has shown for children and families with mental illness. They point out the inspiration that she has poured into the people she works with and her compassionate and approachable nature. If you were to look at Dr. Young-Walker’s list of accolades and involvement, you would instantly wonder how she has done so much in such a short amount of time, of which includes serving as the director of the SOAR program, which builds community awareness and develops programs to promote the social and emotional wellness of children and their families in Boone County. We’re excited to give you even more of a glimpse into Dr. Young-Walker’s work in the next few months!

We will unveil the recipient of the 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award, the 2019 ATHENA Young Professional award and honor these deserving professionals at the ATHENA Awards Banquet on May 2, 2019.

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