ATHENA Awards Program

Supporting, Honoring and Developing Women Leaders


The ATHENA Award®

The ATHENA Award®, an international program, was founded in 1982 in Lansing MI by ATHENA International Founder Martha Mertz to honor the achievements of exceptional women leaders, and by doing so inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and business lives.

Since the program's inception in 1982, more than 6,700 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA AWARD® Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

Introduced to Rochester, NY in 1987 by Women's Council, an affiliate of the Rochester Business Alliance, the ATHENA Award recognizes women who;

  • Demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession
  • Provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and
  • Actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential
The ATHENA leadership model is a philosophy of leadership based on Women's unique ways of knowing and leading. Developed by the ATHENA  Foundation in collaboration through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the model identifies eight district attributes or tenets that are reflective of women's contributions to leadership:
  1. AUTHENTIC SELF
  2. RELATIONSHIPS
  3. GIVING BACK
  4. COLLABORATION
  5. COURAGEOUS ACTS
  6. LEARNING
  7. FIERCE ADVOCACY
  8. CELEBRATION AND JOY
These personal traits that are more intuitive to women, and combine with the strongest aspects of traditional leadership-taking risks, assertiveness, hard work-prepare women to be successful leaders in the 21st century.

To nominate an outstanding executive level business woman, that meets all the criteria listed above, for the ATHENA Award - click here.


The ATHENA Young Professional Award®

The ATHENA Young Professional Award® program was founded in 2007 by ATHENA International to honor emerging women leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession. Recipients must also demonstrate their commitment to service by contributing time and energy to improving the quality of life of others in the community while serving as a role model for young women both personally and professionally.

Introduced to Rochester, NY in 2015 by Women's Council, an affiliate of the Rochester Business Alliance, the ATHENA Young Professional Award® recognizes women in the 30 to 45 year old range who;

  • Demonstrates excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession.
  • Provides valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.
  • Clearly serves as a role model for young women personally and professionally.
To nominate an outstanding young professional woman, that meets all the criteria listed above, for the ATHENA Young Professional Award - click here.

Woman in the Spotlight

Susan B. Anthony

Abolitionist, Educational Reformer, Labor Activist, Temperance Worker, Suffragist

photo of Susan B. Anthony Susan B. Anthony was born February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts. She was brought up in a Quaker family with long activist traditions. Early in her life she developed a sense of justice and moral zeal.

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