ATHENA International Awards

ATHENA International’s mission is to support, develop and honor women leaders, inspire women to achieve their full potential and create balance in leadership. Since its inception in 1982, the ATHENA Leadership Award has been presented to more than 7,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities across the world. Women’s Network has been honored to add Columbia leaders to this prestigious group for 26 years. Women’s Network presents two awards each year: the ATHENA Leadership Award and the ATHENA Young Professional Award.

The ATHENA Leadership Award honors individuals who strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, who excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and forge paths of leadership for other women to follow.

The ATHENA Young Professional Award honors emerging leaders who strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishment, who excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and serve as a role model for women.


ATHENA Leadership recipients must meet each of the following three criteria:

  • Demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession
  • Provide valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in their community
  • Assist women in reaching their full leadership potential

ATHENA Young Professional recipients must meet each of the following four criteria:

  • An emerging leader who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in her/his business or profession
  • Provides valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in the community
  • Serves as a role model for young women personally and professionally
  • Should be at least college age and have embarked on their career path

Nominations are open to any individual possessing the criteria outlined above. Nominations are not restricted to Women’s Network members.

Learn more about ATHENA International

  • Nominations are typically open in January of each year.
  • A selection committee comprised of prior recipients and other Columbia leaders will choose 4-6 qualifying individuals from the nominations.
  • The nominators of the qualifying individuals will be notified and invited to complete a comprehensive application detailing the qualifications and accomplishments of the nominee.
  • From the comprehensive applications, the selection committee will choose three ATHENA Young Professional finalists to be recognized and honored at:
    • the Women’s Network Professional Development Luncheon in March
    • the ATHENA International Awards Banquet in May
  • The selection committee will choose one recipient for both awards, ATHENA Leadership and ATHENA Young Professional, to be revealed at the ATHENA International Awards Banquet in May.

ATHENA Leadership Award

1995 Linda Arnold Retired, Simmons Bank
1996 Dr. Muriel Battle (1930-2003), Formerly with Columbia Public Schools
1997 Vicki Dunscombe Retired, Central Bank of Boone County
1998 Susan Stalcup Gray Retired, Isabel’s Country Mustard
1999 Patsy Ponder Dalton Retired, former Boone County Commissioner
2000 Elinor Arendt Action Realty
2001 Vicky Riback Wilson Retired, University of Missouri
2002 Ann Covington Retired, Bryan Cave LLP
2003 Richard Mendenhall RE/MAX Boone Realty
2004 Karen Taylor Central Bank of Boone County
2005 Pat Hostetler Retired, MBS Textbook Exchange, LLC
2006 Ellen S. Roper Retired, Circuit Court Judge
2007 Wendy Libby Stetson University
2008 Cindy Mustard Retired, Tiger Trolley Tours
2009 Teresa Maledy Retired, Commerce Bank
2010 Sabrina McDonnell Simmons Bank
2011 Karen Miller Retired, Boone County Government
2012 Lynda Baumgartner Retired, Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation
2013 Natalie “Nikki” Krawitz Retired, University of Missouri
2014 Barbara Hodges Retired, True North
2015 Janice Schuerman Chapel View Stables
2016 Dr. Dianne Lynch Stephens College
2017 Vicki Russell Retired, Columbia Daily Tribune
2018 Dr. Bea Smith Retired, University of Missouri
2019 Jan Grossmann Retired, Greater Missouri Leadership Foundation
2020 Jill Cox Central Bank of Boone County
2021 Susan Hart Reinhardt Construction LLC

ATHENA Young Professional Award

2008 Elizabeth Mendenhall RE/MAX Boone Realty
2009 Kelley Marchbanks Advancement Resources
2010 Kerrie Bloss Boys and Girls Club of Columbia
2011 Shelly DeVore Columbia Insurance Group
2012 Shatenita Horton Freedom First Credit Union
2013 Lindsay Young Lopez The Food Bank of Central and Northeast Missouri
2014 Jessica Macy Services for Independent Living
2015 Billie Connally First Mid Bank & Trust
2016 Michele Spry Midway Electric, Inc.
2017 Heather Hargrove Liberty Family Medicine
2018 Sarah Dubbert Commerce Bank
2019 Dr. Laine Young-Walker MU Health Care
2020 Sarah Hill Healium
2021 Brooke Berkey Central Bank of Boone County

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