2021 ATHENA Awards Digital Magazine

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Contents 8

Re c o g n i z i n g AT H E N A Re c i p i e n t s around the World

rship Legacy 14 L2 e0 a2d0e A THENA Award Recipients

16 2 0 2 1 A T H E N A A w a r d F i n a l i s t s 24 2F i0n2a1l i As Tt sH E N A Y o u n g P r o f e s s i o n a l A w a r d 34

2 0 2 1 AT H E N A O r g a n i z a t i o n a l A w a r d F i n a l i s t s

A special thanks to Greater Rochester Chamber’s in-kind sponsor:


celebrating leading women of rochester Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its Women’s Council affiliate are pleased to present the 35th Annual International ATHENA Award finalists, the finalists of Rochester’s ATHENA Young Professional Award, and the ATHENA Organizational Award finalists. The awards are designed to recognize outstanding leadership and organizations in the Greater Rochester region, as well as empower the next generation of women leaders. Each finalist represents the ATHENA leadership model at its best, and our community benefits greatly from their excellence, service, and vision. In addition, we appreciate the tremendous generosity of our sponsors whose contributions, especially during these difficult times, allow us to continue to present the ATHENA International Awards program each year. The women and organizations profiled in this special Rochester Chamber ATHENA International Award magazine represent nearly every sector of our business community including corporate, entrepreneurial, education, legal, health care, and not-for-profit organizations. The contributions of each finalist to her organization have produced exceptional results. Their work in our community as leaders and individuals who recognize and embrace the importance of assisting other women in their personal and professional development cannot be overstated. The internationally recognized ATHENA Awards program was founded in 1982 in Lansing, Michigan by ATHENA International Founder Martha Mertz. The award was originally established to honor the achievements of exceptional women leaders. More importantly, it was established to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and business lives. Since 1982, more than 7,000 top leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA International Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA International Awards program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives. The program was introduced to the Rochester community in 1987 by Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its affiliate, the Women’s Council. The ATHENA International Awards program is a tribute to all who participate, including our outstanding finalists and their nominators. As the only international awards program in Rochester dedicated solely to recognizing outstanding female leadership and organizations, we thank the community for its continued support and participation. As you read and learn more about the ATHENA International Awards finalists, we know you will agree that they are outstanding examples of achievement and leadership.

Bob Duffy President and CEO Greater Rochester Chamber


Kate Pellett President Women’s Council

Greater Rochester Chamber and its Women’s Council affiliate are pleased to bring the 35th Annual ATHENA International Awards program to our region. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of the ATHENA International Awards program sponsors.


VIP Sponsor

Organizational Sponsor Nocon & Associates A private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC

Corporate Sponsors • Bergmann

• Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women

• Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

• Rochester Institute of Technology

• GreenSpark Solar

• Simon Business School, University of Rochester

• L3 Harris Technologies, Communication Systems

• William & Sheila Konar Foundation

Supporting Sponsors • Brockport Research Institute

• Paychex, Inc.

• Continual Care Solutions, Inc.

• RG&E

• Harris Beach PLLC

• SUNY Brockport

• M&T Bank

• UR Medicine, Strong Memorial Hospital

Greater Rochester Chamber gratefully acknowledges the generous support for this event from its partners and sponsors. To sponsor this event next year, contact Susan George at Susan.George@GreaterRochesterChamber.com or 585.256.4612


past athena award recipients 2020 - Dr. Heidi Macpherson 1994 - Barbara M. Kelley 2019 - Hilda Rosario-Escher 1993 - Karen Noble Hanson 2018 - Sharon Napier 1992 - Katherine Hudson 2017 - Nannette Nocon 1991 - Mary-Frances Winters 2016 - Elaine Spaull 1990 - Louis Woerner 2015 - Amy Tait 1989 - Chris Pulleyn 2014 - Dr. Lynn Maquat 1988 - Rose Marie Beston 2013 - Dr. Anne Kress 1987 (Inaugural Year) - Dr. Judith Schwan 2012 - Dr. Judith F. Baumhauer 2011 - Kitty Van Bortel 2010 - Jennifer Leonard 2009 - Holly Hilberg 2008 - Dr. Ruth Lawrence 2007 - Patricia Malgieri 2006 - G. Jean, Howard 2005 - Carolyn A. Portanova 2004 - Dr. Elizabeth R. McAnarney 2003 - Ursula M. Burns 2002 - Sandra A. Parker 2001 - Dr. Katherine Keough 2000 - Sue S. Stewart 1999 - Betsy Harrison 1998 - Susan McLaughlin 1997 - Linda S. Becker 1996 - Kathleen Whelehan 1995 - Bernice Skirboll

past athena young professional award recipients 2020 - Julie Camardo 2019 - Shaquana Divers 2018 - Kim Allen 2017 - Melisza Campos 2016 - Melanie Wolk 2015 (Inaugural Year) - Claudia Burcke

past athena organizational award recipients 2020 - Butler/Till Media Services, Inc. 2019 - HCR Home Care 2018 (Inaugural Year) - Dixon Schwabl


Recognizing ATHENA Recipients Around the World Almost 8,000 leaders have been recognized with the ATHENA Leadership award in 500+ regions representing 48 states & 11 countries including USA, Bermuda, UK, China, Canada, Greece, India, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, and Mexico.

Christina H. Koch NASA Astronaut Global Recipient Learn more

Gavriella Schuster Corporate Vice President,Commercial Partner at Microsoft/Chinasoft International Board/TEDx Speaker/UW Bothell Board/Empowering Women Global Recipient Learn more

Dr. Mulu Muleta Senior Medical Advisor for WAHA International, based in Addis Ababa Global Recipient Learn more

Dr. Inonge Mbikusita Lewanik Ambassador of the Republic of Zambia to the USA Global Recipient Learn more

Recognizing leaders of Nepal at South Asian Women Development Forum 8

Honoring Ruth Bader Ginsburg 25 years ago, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious RBG, was sworn in as a Supreme Court justice, becoming the second female justice in history. 23 years ago, Martha Mertz, founder of ATHENA International, presented her with the Global ATHENA Leadership Award for her commitment to gender equity.

Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Founder and Inaugural President of United Arab Emirates, and emir of Abu Dhabi Global Recipient Learn more

Nikki Gao Managing Director of Greater China, Randstad National Recipient Learn more

Wen Niu – National Young Professional Recipient Wen Niu, a graduate of 2011, is a dual Bachelor Degree holder of Cinematography and Film Video Production from Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts, Fudan University and Public Relations from Donghua University. After graduation, she set up her own technology company and successfully sold it before pursuing her study of brand management in the US. Upon going back to her home country, she set up her Wechat public account “Catherine King” and forged herself into a contract writer with many media outlets. In 2017, her best-selling book “The More Confused You Are, The More You Need to See This World” was published with the devotion of helping women grow.





Our non-profit mission is to develop, support and honor women leaders and those who inspire them to reach their full potential by offering unique, impactful leadership development and award programs. Our programs drive to our vision: to create a balance in the voices of leadership worldwide.

ATHENA Leadership Model


The 8 Principles of Enlightened Leadershipx



DEVELOP Becoming ATHENA: The ATHENA Leadership Model for Middle School Becoming ATHENA: The ATHENA Leadership Model for High School Becoming ATHENA: The ATHENA Leadership Model for Higher Learning Becoming ATHENA: The ATHENA Leadership Model for Professionals Becoming ATHENA: The ATHENA Leadership Model for the underserved

SUPPORT ATHENA PowerLink® ATHENA Affiliate membership community

HONOR ATHENA Global, National, Local Leadership Awards ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award

ATHENA'S IMPACT ATHENA Awards: more than 7,800 since inception in 1982

48 States


ATHENAPOWERLINK® 150+ ATHENA Licensed Affiliates worldwide and growing


832 642 5% 2,068 WOMEN GRADUATES




38% increase in net income in personal income 56% increase in sales 88% increase

A Message from our 2021 ATHENA Organizational Sponsor, Nocon & Associates Congratulations to the ATHENA International Award Finalists! The workplace relies on your determination, attention to detail and measured thinking. Your minds are wired for long-term strategic vision and community building. You not only bring diversity, but are a force for good in the community we live in. It’s inspiring to see ambitious and capable female leaders across the generations and industries chosen for the ATHENA International Award. Whatever the field we serve, this award validates the importance of recognizing organizations that support, develop and honor women to achieve their fullest potential. There are some natural leaders, but most of us need to work towards being outstanding leaders. We need to be intentional not only on excelling in our chosen field, but also in our leadership and business skills. Life is about constantly learning and growing. We can rely on our resilience to overcome the hurdles that come along the way. We must always remember to pay it forward through mentorship so that the tradition continues. The more we practice, the more natural it becomes. Until then, we need to formally recognize the achievements of women. We are also proud to be a sponsor of the ATHENA International Organizational Award!

Nocon & Associates A private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC

Nannette Nocon Private Wealth Advisor Nocon & Associates Past ATHENA Award Recipient 2017

Nannette Nocon, CFP® ChFC® CIMA® CLTC® is a private wealth advisor at Nocon & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial, LLC. 2 0 2 1

ROAR ON, LAUREN! “If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong, I am


invincible, I am woman.” Helen Reddy Congratulations to our own Lauren Dixon and to all the ATHENA nominees for inspiring the next


generation of strong, invincible women. The spirit of strength and determination that Helen Reddy immortalized in song is one each of you brings to our community every day. Visit dixonschwabl.com/news to learn more.

LAUREN DIXON | Board Chair


Veronica Dasher! The RG&E team is proud to recognize our colleague Veronica Dasher as a 2021 ATHENA Young Professional Award finalist. We applaud Veronica’s unwavering commitment to empowering others and giving back to our community. Congratulations, Veronica!


Paychex congratulates its own 2021 ATHENA Young Professional Award finalist, Corporate Counsel Carey Ann Denefrio. Thank you for your vision, leadership, and commitment. Congratulations to all of this year’s exceptional honorees. paychex.com


2021 ATHENA International Award Finalists

Leadership Legacy 2020 ATHENA International Award Recipients, Rochester NY Dr. Heidi Macpherson President, SUNY Brockport 2020 ATHENA Award Recipient What has been your journey since receiving the 2020 ATHENA Award? Journey is such an interesting word for the year 2020, given all of the restrictions in place due to COVID-19. But in reality, if not in distance, I’ve traveled so far as a leader that I can’t count the steps. 2020 brought challenges on campus, locally, regionally and across the nation, and every aspects of our lives were transformed by the pandemic and a renewed focus on social justice. I’m proud of my team of leaders and their unending commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as student success, which is at the heart of all that we do. What’s your advice to those aspiring to be an ATHENA Award Recipient? We are so fortunate to be in a region that celebrates women—not just once, but over and over again: We are rich and blessed with talent in Greater Rochester, and my advice to anyone who is a leader is to remember what a privilege it is to lead, and to be on the look out for talent. As leaders, we must do everything in our power to nurture talent in others. I wouldn’t be where I am today if significant professional women in my life hadn’t reached out to me with loving guidance and support. What does the future look like for you and your organization? If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we should cultivate a mindset that embraces flexibility. We must understand that sometimes we have to act even when we have imperfect knowledge. We have to use our skills to help our communities, our organizations and our professions, and be open to learning new things. In the midst of uncertainty, leaders need to embrace the challenge of attending to the humanity of individuals even as we need to navigate the logistics of a crisis. Leadership isn’t easy— it never has been—but being in the position of leading is a gift.


Julie Camardo CEO & Owner, Zweigle’s, Inc. 2020 ATHENA Young Professional Award Recipient What has been your journey since receiving the 2020 ATHENA Young Professional Award? My journey since having received the ATHENA award is one of grateful appreciation and pride. Appreciation for all the love and support from the community, colleagues, family, and friends. Appreciation for the four generations of leadership who helped build the foundation for the Zweigle’s iconic brand, which I lead today. Pride for the long-standing family business that has persevered and thrived through 2 pandemics over 140 years. Pride knowing that our growth has a positive impact on the City of Rochester and will help make a difference in our community. Appreciation and pride knowing that we continue to be an integral part of family celebrations and help create family memories for generations to come. What’s your advice to those aspiring to be an ATHENA Young Professional Award Recipient? The advice I shared comes from the four women leaders who came before me at Zweigle’s. As the 1st generation female leader, my great-great grandmother, taught me be courageous and face life challenges head on. The 2nd generation female leader, my great-grandmother, taught me the importance of responsibility to the family, to the business and the community. The 3rd generation, my grandmother, taught be about self-sacrifice and the importance of putting others needs before your own. The 4th generation leader, my mother, taught me strength and challenged me to always be better. My advice is to be a powerful force for good and be exactly who you want to be-be a white hot when everyone else is a red hot. What does the future look like for you and your organization? The future of Zweigle’s is continued growth, which means investing in our people, plant, and our processes. Leveraging the strength of our history, flexibility, building collaborative partnerships and being proud to be a woman-owned business will help us to achieve our growth. Our growth will be guided by our four core values of quality, accountability, caring and continuous improvement. All with the purpose of making great food products.

Kimberly Jones CEO & President, Butler/Till Media Services, Inc. 2020 ATHENA Organizational Award Recipient What has been your journey since receiving the 2020 ATHENA Organizational Award? Winning the ATHENA Organizational Award in early 2020, was the beginning of our momentum for the year. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, including transitioning all employees into a virtual work environment in 24 hours, the company broke ground on our new headquarters and achieved significant growth–increasing our revenue by nearly 30% YOY. With a defined goal for 2021, we launched a diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy as well. We expanded our team, adding 45 new employees, which now brings us to 200 strong. What’s perhaps our most exciting win of 2020 though, is our record-high employee satisfaction, at nearly 85%, shown in our annual Employee Engagement Survey. What’s your advice to those aspiring to be an ATHENA Organizational Award Recipient? The key to growth for us has been to lean in, remain authentic, and actively listen—to business trends, industry colleagues, and most importantly, each other. Our employee-owners and their ideas and intuitions can lead to discussion, which can lead to fearless innovation, which can ultimately lead to growth. Being 100% employeeowned, we all share in our company’s successes. Our unique culture rewards hard work and works hard to maintain connections here in our community and around the world. Rochester has a history of entrepreneurship and always has been a great incubator for business growth—take advantage of that history and make your own! What does the future look like for you and your organization? We have big goals for 2021. We’ll continue our path to digital transformation by embracing innovation to achieve profitable growth and operational excellence, grow our client portfolio and capabilities, and make strategic investments to increase customer intimacy and strengthen our culture of agility. And of course, we’ll remain working closely with all our clients, partners, communities, and team members to ensure our relationships are the priority, so we are all set up for success. But what are we most excited for this year? To continue to be a part of the Rochester revitalization efforts and move into our new home!


rochester, ny

Iris Banister

Nancy Neumann

Glenna Colaprete

Lourdes Roa

Lauren Dixon

JoAnne M. Tallinger-Ryan MHA, RN

Heidi Schult Gregory

Deborah Stendardi

Founder and Executive Director NAMOW Counseling Center

Owner and CEO Glenna’s CBD and Spa

Founder/Chairman Dixon Schwabl

Managing Partner, Rochester Office Harris Beach PLLC

Cindy Langston

Senior Vice President, Chief Analytics & Data Officer Excellus Health Plan Blue Cross Blue Shield


Vice President of Interaction Design ITX Corp.

Mid-West RBERN Coordinator Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES

Co-Founder & Chief Community Engagement Officer Continual Care Solutions, Inc.

Former Vice President for Government and Community Relations Rochester Institute of Technology

Dina G. Vazzana

Vice President/General Manager Life Science Optics IDEX Health & Science

Iris Banister

Founder and Executive Director NAMOW Counseling Center Iris Banister, educator, humanitarian, and community activist; carrying the messages of peace, unity, and building the “Beloved Community”. 32 year employee of Rochester City School District (elementary teacher, reading specialist, guidance counselor, House Administrator, Program Administrator (SHAPE), and Central Office Administrator; School of Science and Technology(Principal), Executive Director of Wilson Commencement Park, E. D. of Rochester Surround Care Community Corp., adjunct: Fisher College and Colgate Rochester Divinity School. Authored: Lasso Your Whirlwind; “Empowerment: Walking the Walk and Talking the Talk”; The Fifth Ace; and Empower Women and Inspire Vision. Involvement: Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, “Golden Soror”, The National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club, Inc.(life member), Geneseo College Council, National Council of Women, The Harlem Nation Black Theatre, Greater Rochester Martin Luther King Commission (Emeritus), Sister Cities, and her church, In Christ New Hope Ministries. Awards: The Mayor’s Unsung Hero Award, NY State Humanitarian Award, State Legislature Meritorious Award, New Africa Cultural Award, National Women’s Hall of Fame-Legacies, Rochester Urban League, and others. Crowned Queen Mother, Nana Ama Bortsewa in Winneba, Ghana. African Work under her stool name: sponsored: digging of water wells, built a fully equipped dental clinic and a tuition-free 110 student Early Childhood Educational Center, actualized self-help projects financial management for local Ghanaian women, and guest lecturer. She is committed to empowering women and girls around the globe. Rev. Dr. Banister’s life motto: “Each person should, in every way possible, work to light up the corner where they are and the darkness will flee!”


Glenna Colaprete Owner and CEO Glenna’s CBD and Spa

Glenna Colaprete started the woman owned & operated company in 2015, after successfully treating her own chronic and painful nerve entrapment. As a former wireless engineer & technology leader with 5 patents, Glenna brings the same level of quest for knowledge, educating, testing & attention to user experience that she had in her past career. No stranger to operating in a male dominated environment, she fully jumped into the field overseeing the development process from seed to sale, consistently producing high-quality, innovative and effective products. These have been highlighted in many publications, with her beauty products receiving national acclaim, winning the Professionals Choice award for Dayspa magazine and Skin, Inc. Her personal journey to find relief for excruciating pain has thrived, growing into a business that has two locations locally - Eastview Mall & Brighton Spa, as well as wholesaler to 25+ businesses, not only in Rochester but around the country. She is a dedicated wife and mother of three children, who all help with the business in various ways. Glenna mentors those who work for her, as well as young women in the community, to set and achieve their goals, determined to help all people live their best life.

Lauren Dixon Founder/Chairman Dixon Schwabl

As Chair of Dixon Schwabl, Lauren Dixon carries many other titles, including entrepreneur, philanthropist, mentor, community cheerleader and—her favorite— grandmother. Not only has she built a woman-owned business in a traditionally male-dominated field, but her team is majority woman-led. Both new CEO Kim Allen and President Jessica Savage are strong women who have benefited from Lauren’s mentorship. With 100+ team members, Dixon Schwabl has earned a reputation of building careers, making the national Great Place to Work® list for 15 consecutive years and being named the #1 Small Company To Work For In America in both 2008 and 2010. Lauren’s philanthropy is well known. She has led successful campaigns for causes including the United Way, American Heart Association, Monroe Community College Foundation, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House Charities and the Salvation Army. Her most notable fundraising endeavor to date may be Horses On Parade, which raised more than $1 million for local charities. Still, Lauren will tell you unequivocally that her greatest joy comes from her family. Sunday dinners are an oasis in time for Lauren, helping her prepare for the upcoming week of once again growing her business, helping others and impacting our community.


Heidi Schult Gregory Managing Partner, Rochester Office Harris Beach PLLC Heidi Schult Gregory is the first female managing partner of the Rochester office of Harris Beach PLLC. In this role, she leads more than 225 attorneys and staff in their support of client and firm objectives, overseeing professional development, business development, community relations and operations. Heidi prides herself on building an engaged office culture – one that promotes inclusivity, participation and collegiality among the attorneys and professional staff. Heidi is an experienced health care litigator, representing hospitals, healthcare providers, nursing homes, mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities and research organizations. She advises clients on federal and state compliance matters, governmental audits and investigations, risk management, patient privacy laws and cybersecurity, among a range of other issues.

In addition to serving clients, Heidi serves the community and her profession. She served as President, Secretary and Nominating Chair of the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys (GRAWA), and is also a past chair of the Family and Careers Committee. She currently and proudly serves as board chair of Coordinated Care Services, Inc. and vice-chair of the board for RESOLVE of Greater Rochester. By judicial appointment, she served as Chair of the Fourth Department Appellate Division Attorney Grievance Committee. Heidi is a frequent presenter at legal seminars discussing pathways to success for women. Heidi has been recognized for her legal acumen, community service and commitment to mentoring by the Albany Law School, the Daily Record and GRAWA.

Cindy Langston

Senior Vice President, Chief Analytics & Data Officer Excellus Health Plan BlueCross BlueShield Cindy Langston is Senior Vice President and Chief Analytics & Data Officer at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Cindy leads a division of big data and advanced analytics experts who are committed to solving complex health care problems in support of the mission of Excellus. Prior to joining Excellus, Cindy led initiatives at Health Care Service Corporation and BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan. In her 30 years of experience, Cindy has also spent extensive time in manufacturing, as well as 10 years in international consulting where she led large, global IT implementations in Sydney, Tokyo, London, Singapore, Scotland and Seoul. Cindy serves as the Vice Chair for the

YWCA of Rochester Board of Directors, and volunteers with the United Way as a member of the African American Leadership and Latino Leadership Societies. Along with her engagement in the Rochester community, Cindy seeks to empower leaders across Excellus as the chair of the Women’s Leadership Council, and a mentor for more than 30 women across the company. Cindy holds an MBA in Human Resources and Financial Management from Lake Forest Graduate School and a BS in Information Systems from Purdue University. She and her husband Norman reside in downtown Rochester and have three daughters, and 4 grandchildren!


Nancy Neumann Vice President of Interaction Design ITX Corp.

Nancy has been part of the technology industry for over 20 years. Her strong technical background and vast range of experiences have helped shape a multitude of digital products. As the Vice President of Interaction Design at ITX Nancy leads a fully functional design powerhouse that defines, designs and contributes to the continuous innovation of complex digital products and enterprise systems. At the core of this group is a passion for technology, the understanding that design is a problem-solving discipline and the belief that the experience is the product. Nancy also celebrates her team’s consistent expansion in terms of growth, revenue impact and employee longevity. The team has doubled in size in the last two years and of the 25 full-time designers on staff, half have been with ITX for more than 3 years and seven have been with ITX for more than 5 years. The IxD team has become a key source of differentiation, thought leadership, and customer value creation at ITX. Nancy Neumann has been with ITX for 12 years after the company’s acquisition of an Ithaca-based company where she was a partner leading the direction and production of web-based applications, specifically higher education, eCommerce, and custom content management systems.

Lourdes Roa Mid-West RBERN Coordinator Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES

As Coordinator of Mid-West Regional Bilingual Education Resource Network (RBERN) at Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES, Roa supports 71 public school districts, plus non-public and charter schools with the instruction of English Language Learners (ELLs). Lourdes has over thirty years of experience in Bilingual and Special Education, mostly in Rochester. She has served as regional delegate for the New York State Association for Bilingual Education, (NYSABE) and co-editor for their Newsletter. Roa leads area colleagues with sensitivity and supports adult higher learning to better serve the broad community. Roa has fostered many relationships with higher education students as an instructor of graduate courses in Bilingual education at SUNY Brockport, Buffalo State College and Nazareth College. She is proud to see former students grow and serve the field as teacher leaders and administrators. Roa is an advocate of women leading socially-emotionally and spiritually balanced lives, as a mother of two grown sons. She is a certified yoga teacher and mindfulness instructor, who supports and teaches mindfulness in K-12 education. She often volunteers to teach yoga or mindfulness, planned or spontaneously, to improve wellness initiatives for groups or individuals. A colleague recently stated “Lourdes is a tremendous support! She goes above and beyond – willing to talk through all sorts of challenges and devise solutions, as well as strengthen the morale of individuals serving ELLs.”


JoAnne M. Tallinger-Ryan MHA, RN Co-Founder & Chief Community Engagement Officer Continual Care Solutions, Inc. JoAnne has long been an encouraging leader and a driving force in the healthcare, nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Her impact on people and performance and its ripple effects are proven. Equally impressive are her varied collaborations: Gail Riggs, PhD, MSW, has said her Purse with a Purpose co-designer “pours energy into making our community a better place.” JoAnne is a trusted advisor on policy, standards, etc. As CEO at Volunteers of America, she led expansion of VOA’s reach to all of Upstate N.Y. As Co-Founder and Chief Community Engagement Officer at Continual Care Solutions, JoAnne helps organizations leverage technology to reach those most at-risk. Her expertise and dedication have benefited the disadvantaged, the disabled, seniors and others. Via the CCS imPowr platform, she and her team help nonprofits improve their performance for better community-wide outcomes. JoAnne has an A.A.S. in Nursing from MCC, a B.A. in Gerontology from St. John Fisher College and a M.S. in Health Systems Administration from RIT. She serves on Bishop Kearney H.S. Board of Trustees, RIT Health Systems Administration Advisory Board and the Webster Comfort Care BoD. She resides in Pittsford with husband Stephen D. Ryan, M.D. They have four adult children and two granddaughters.

Deborah Stendardi

Former Vice President for Government and Community Relations Rochester Institute of Technology Deborah Stendardi recently retired from RIT in the role of Vice President for Government & Community Relations after 41 years of service to the university. Prior to joining RIT, she served in a variety of positions for six years with the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in Albany. In addition to her RIT responsibilities, Stendardi was and continues to be very active in the Rochester community, serving in a number of volunteer and leadership roles for the United Way of Greater Rochester, Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, Catholic Family Center, The Children’s Agenda, and the Center for Governmental Research among others. She also serves on the board of United Way of New York State. She received the Miller Award given by United Way to the outstanding campaign coordinator of the year in 1996, and was a recipient of RIT’s Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award in 2008. In 2003, she was named as one of 20 Most Influential Women in the Rochester region by the Rochester Business Journal. She was among the RBJ’s ICON award honorees in December 2018. Stendardi holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Cortland and a master’s from SUNY Albany.


Dina G. Vazzana

Vice President/General Manager Life Science Optics IDEX Health & Science Upon graduating from RIT, Dina G. Vazzana quickly advanced through critical systems, global international logistics, supply chain, and operations management positions at Eastman Kodak Company. Dina served as General Manager of Women’s Healthcare, Director of Integrated Supply Chain & Inventory Management, and Chief Human Resources Officer/Vice President at Carestream Health. She also founded Veritas Comprehensive Consulting LLC. Dina now serves as Vice President/General Manager of Life Science Optics at IDEX Health & Science. Throughout her professional journey, Dina’s faith, husband, three children, parents, and large extended family have remained her priority. Understanding the importance of achieving personal and professional balance, she has served as an impactful advocate and mentor for other women. Both as a professional objective and personal goal, Dina works to help women realize their full leadership potential and the professional advancement they desire without sacrificing personal and family needs. Dina has dedicated nearly 25 years serving Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women. Currently in her third year as a member of the Board of Trustees, Dina chairs Mercy’s Human Resources Committee. Dina has also served as a member of the AutismUp Board of Directors since 2014. Dina has extended her lifelong commitment to service and direct volunteerism to organizations and learning institutions across the community including Nazareth College HR Advisory Council, the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Rochester Institute of Technology, McQuaid Jesuit, Seton Catholic School, and St. Mary’s Hospital. Dina earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Rochester Institute of Technology and participated in the Executive Development Program for Managers at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She also holds a Six Sigma Management Black Belt certification and is a Licensed United States Customs Broker.




Shining our highest praise on each 2021 ATHENA finalist; your leadership drives a brighter tomorrow.


Corporate Communications Manager

2021 Finalist for the Prestigious Young Professional Award® L3HARRIS.COM

celebrates all the incredible women making an impact in the solar industry and beyond.



Melissa’s commitment to team collaboration, creativity and excellence makes her an ideal role model at L3Harris. We’re honored she is a member of our growing community of leaders, fostering an inclusive, engaging environment for L3Harris employees across the globe. Congratulations Melissa for being an ATHENA International Young Professional Award® finalist!


Join our team! Visit L3Harris.com/Careers to explore our latest job opportunities.

rochester, ny Ashley Nicole Campbell

Manager of Security and Data Integrity, Office of Human Resources University of Rochester

Jessica Clemente

Senior Associate Harter Secrest & Emery LLP

Melissa Daminski

Senior Director, Product Management L3Harris Technologies

Veronica Dasher

Program Manager, Government and Community Relations RG&E

Carey Ann Denefrio Corporate Counsel Paychex, Inc.


Jennifer Dunivent

Director, Customer Delivery Clearsense, LLC

Krystle Ellis

Dr. Aekta Andrea Miglani

Emergency Medicine Medical Director Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center

Senior Director of Development and Communications Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester, NY

Allie D’Amanda Sacks

Yana Khashper

Cicely Strickland-Ruiz

Stacy Lake

Audrey Wackerman

Co-Founder & CEO ROCovery Fitness

Corporate Communications Manager Bergmann

Vice President, Commercial Real Estate Relationship Manager M&T Bank

Chief Operating Officer United Way of Greater Rochester

Vice President, Employee Benefits Consultant USI Insurance Services

Ashley Nicole Campbell

Manager of Security and Data Integrity, Office of Human Resources University of Rochester Hailing from Washington, DC, Dr. Ashley N. Campbell has been a part of the Greater Rochester community for more than fifteen years. She is an academician, entrepreneur, and higher education administrator with more than ten years of progressive higher education and not-for-profit experience. Her experiences within the Greater Rochester community have given her access to create culturally-responsive spaces for all people. Currently, Dr. Campbell serves as a Manager of Security and Data Integrity within the Office of Human Resources at the University of Rochester. For the past seven years, Ashley and her husband, Dr. Lomax R. Campbell, are the founders of an arts-based organization in Greater Rochester, Ballet Afrikana. She has served as a board member for the Rochester City Ballet, a charter member for the Monroe County South’s Rotary Club and serves as a member of the Rochester Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Rochester Chapter of The Links, Inc. Dr. Campbell prides herself as a double-alum from the University of Rochester where she completed her undergraduate and graduate studies. She holds a PhD in Transformative Inquiry from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Her research areas are ethnic psychology, speculative fiction, and television media.


Jessica Clemente Senior Associate Harter Secrest & Emery LLP

Jessica Clemente is a Senior Associate at Harter Secrest & Emery LLP where she is part its Commercial & Intellectual Property Litigation Practice Group. Clemente focuses her practice on advising clients and litigating matters relating to intellectual property disputes including patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Clemente also represents companies involved in business disputes, including breach of non-disclosure agreements and allegations of business torts. Within the firm, Clemente is a member of the Associates’ Committee, Hiring Committee, Inclusion and Equity Committee Advisory Group, and Pro Bono Committee. Clemente is a member of the Monroe County Bar Association where she chaired the Young Lawyers Section from 2019–2020. She was also a member of the Bar Association’s Women’s Commission Steering Committee which established the Commission to Advance and Support Women in the Law, of which she is a member. Clemente is an attorney volunteer for the Rochester Teen Court and worked with other young professionals to establish the Center for Youth Associate Board, of which she is now an Executive Team Member. Clemente graduated cum laude from SUNY Geneseo and summa cum laude from Albany Law School. Clemente lives in Rochester with her husband Dan, their son Nathan, and dog Livy.

Melissa Daminski Senior Director, Product Management L3Harris Technologies Melissa Daminski is Senior Director of Product Line Management for the Tactical Communications Sector of L3Harris Technologies. In this role, she reports to the President of Tactical Communications, leading product managers and crossfunctional development teams in the successful and timely delivery of products and features in the Tactical Communications radio portfolio. Prior to this role, Daminski held various roles across the Tactical Communications Engineering and Product Line Management organizations. She is the recipient of 2 patents. Melissa is serving her second term on the Executive Board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), and is also co-chairing the 2021 Power of Us Gala. Melissa has worked with many other organizations in Rochester, including the American Red Cross and Gilda’s Club.


She also is active as a mentor and tutor to STEM students as well as multiple organizations that support women in engineering. Melissa holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Rochester Simon School of Business. She is also a 2012 awardee in Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40. L3Harris Technologies is an agile global aerospace and defense technology innovator, delivering end-to-end solutions that meet customers’ mission-critical needs. The company provides advanced defense and commercial technologies across air, land, sea, space and cyber domains. L3Harris has approximately $18 billion in annual revenue and 48,000 employees, with customers in more than 100 countries.

Veronica Dasher

Program Manager, Government and Community Relations RG&E Veronica Dasher is an enthusiastic, young professional who participates in a variety of programs and initiatives to enhance the Greater Rochester area. As a Government and Community Relations Manager for Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E), Veronica is a liaison between RG&E, local government, and community stakeholders. Veronica graduated from Monroe Community College with an associate degree in Liberal Arts then earned her bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management from Roberts Wesleyan College. In 2017, Veronica was appointed to the ROC the Riverway advisory board by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo. She was selected as one of Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award recipients in 2018. Veronica launched a startup, Dasher, in September 2020 aimed at helping students and parents navigate through the new remote learning environment by providing them access to individuals who can assist children with their classwork virtually. In her free time, Veronica enjoys spending time with her two children, Jaden and Jael, and serving the community through various volunteer roles. Her favorite volunteer activity is coaching her daughter’s youth cheerleading team. Through coaching, Veronica is able to share amazing and unique experiences with her daughter while making a positive impact on young women’s character development.

Carey Ann Denefrio Corporate Counsel Paychex, Inc.

Carey Ann Denefrio has practiced law in Rochester for over 15 years. She joined Paychex in September 2019, where she handles the labor and employment related legal matters and provides legal counseling and support to the Human Resources Department. Carey Ann is very active in both the legal community and the greater Rochester community. For the past seven years, Carey Ann has served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Rochester Association for Women Attorneys (“GRAWA”), and very recently served as its President in 2019-2020. For the past three years, she has served as Co-Chairperson of the Labor and Employment Law Committee for the Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York. She previously served for six years on the Board of Directors for the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar, the charitable arm of the Monroe County Bar Association. From 2008-2017, Carey Ann served on the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities Community Services, and its Fund Development and Nominating Committees. She has also previously served on the Board of Directors for the Genesee Center for the Arts and Education, and served for eight years on its Nominating Committee. Since 2018, Carey Ann has served on the Board of Directors for the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Women’s Council. Carey Ann was recognized by The Daily Record for “Excellence in Law – Top Women in Law” in 2019, and was recognized as an “Attorney of the Year – Leader in Law” in 2017. Carey Ann grew up in Niskayuna, New York. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Boston College, and received her Juris Doctor degree from Albany Law School, cum laude, where she served as an Executive Editor on the Albany Law Review. Carey Ann, her husband Tim, her 7-year old son Tate, and her fouryear old twins Finn and Piper, reside in the City of Rochester.


Jennifer Dunivent Director, Customer Delivery Clearsense, LLC

Jennifer Dunivent grew up on the west coast, but after arriving at the University of Rochester for freshman orientation in 1995, she quickly realized that Rochester was going to be her home. She graduated with her bachelors in Nursing in 2000, a Masters in Nursing in 2004, and a Masters in Business from the Simon school in 2008. Jennifer has blended her healthcare and business backgrounds as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, emergency room Nurse Manager, IT consultant, health care reform leader, Director of Operations, and most recently as the Director of Customer Delivery at Clearsense, LLC. Throughout this journey, she has leveraged the connections she has made to give back to the Rochester community. From being a COVID vaccinator, sponsoring college interns, to leading a county wide Thanksgiving food basket initiative, and serving as the Junior League of Rochester volunteer committee chair, Jennifer finds joy in giving her time, energy, and resources to those who could benefit. She especially enjoys mentoring women, helping to coach and guide them on their life journeys. Jennifer’s proudest accomplishment is raising her 13, 15, and 17-year old daughters to be strong, independent, resilient, thoughtful, and confident young women.

Krystle Ellis

Senior Director of Development and Communications Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester, NY Bold is the best way to describe Krystle Ellis. Ellis is the Senior Director of Development and Communications at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester, NY and is also the Founder of Ellis K Consulting. Ellis specializes in catapulting businesses to the next level through strategic leadership, executive coaching, fundraising, and diversity. She is a well-traveled culture broker who helps organizations and individuals with pulling out the best from within. Krystle builds inclusive and equitable spaces where all are proactively engaged, educated, and respected. Committed to the Rochester community, she sits on multiple boards and committees advocating for women’s rights, equal access to healthcare for children, and the international right to have clean water. Ellis has also helped to raise millions for non-profit organizations nationwide. Krystle was raised in sunny South Florida and is of Jamaican descent. She values the currency of transformational love and honor. Ellis and her husband Ricardo have three children. Malachi, Brooke, and Phoenix.


Yana Khashper Co-Founder/CEO ROCovery Fitness

Yana Khashper is the Co-Founder and former CEO of ROCovery Fitness, a local grassroots nonprofit building community around sober living through health and wellness. ROCovery was started in the winter of 2015 as a social media post with an open invite to a hike. Out of desperation to maintain their own recovery from Substance Use Disorder, she and co-founder Sean Smith, embarked on a journey that would lead to the creation of an empire - a place of solace, recovery, community and second chances. Fitness and the outdoors have transformed Yana’s life in her own personal journey of addiction recovery and she decided to share her passion with others. In five short years, ROCovery Fitness has reached over 4,000 individuals in recovery, their family members, friends and community supporters. Yana has helped transform the way our community views Substance Use Disorder – she has helped normalize the conversation, spread awareness about addiction and give hope of recovery to individuals and families impacted by the debilitating disease. Prior to starting ROCovery Fitness, Yana was a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with extensive background in working with trauma, mental health, eating disorders and addiction. Yana has worked at the New York City Fire Department Counseling Service Unit, Strong Behavioral Health and the Healing Connection. Yana is a Certified Peer Recovery Advocate (CRPA) as well as a Certified Personal Trainer (NASM). Yana was honored as one of the 2020 Rochester Business Journal’s Women of Excellence for her leadership in making a difference in the Rochester community. She was also a recipient of Rochester Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 award in 2018 as someone who excels both professionally and is actively involved in giving back to the community. In 2018, Yana was a finalist for the Rochester Chamber Ignite Future Leaders Award. In 2017, Yana was recognized with the ESL Jefferson Foundation award and was a finalist for the national award ceremony. Also in 2017, ROCovery Fitness received the Federation of Social Workers Non-Profit of the Year and the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence – Rochester Area Community Collaboration Award. Yana is a member of the Monroe County Partners 4 Suicide Prevention Advisory Committee, the Monroe County Opioid Task Force and Council of Agency Executives.


Stacy Lake

Corporate Communications Manager Bergmann Stacy Lake’s career has followed a unique path and every step of the way she has remained dedicated to cultivating authentic connections and empowering those around her to succeed. In her current role at Bergmann, Lake leads the Corporate MarCom team, implementing strategies for national growth while progressing the firm’s internal communications. In 2020 she became a key member of the firm’s COVID preparedness team, providing steady and effective communications throughout the pandemic. Prior to joining Bergmann she served as cultural partner for clients at global employee engagement company Reward Gateway, and supported the advancement of digital experiences at Dixon Schwabl. Lake’s passion for supporting others is evident in her extensive community involvement. She was a mentor for YEA! and currently serves on the executive committees for the American Heart Association and the Dean’s Council and Advisory Board for RIT’s Saunders College. Lake is a proud two-time Saunders graduate and was awarded the 2020 Outstanding Alumni Volunteer Award for her dedication and ongoing advocacy. Lake resides in Fairport with her husband Chris, where they are actively involved with the Fairport Music Festival.

Dr. Aekta Andrea Miglani

Emergency Medicine Medical Director Strong Memorial Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center Dr. Miglani has been an attending emergency physician with University of Rochester Medical Center since 2013. A Rochester native, she feels grateful to have been able to receive all of her education with the University of Rochester undergraduate and medical schools. Since 2016, Dr. Miglani has been the Medical Director for the Emergency Department at Strong Memorial Hospital. Part of her job includes overseeing the operations of the department with primary focuses on both patient and staff safety and satisfaction. In April 2020, Dr. Miglani helped lead the first team from emergency medicine to New York City to help with their first wave of patients from the Covid-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the pandemic, URMC’s Emergency Medicine has shown incredible strength and grit as they came together to support both the community and one another through the many ups and downs. She is very proud to be a part of such an imperturbable team. Community Outreach is a particular passion for her; she views the ED as an extension of our surrounding community and a vital resource for all patients from across the region. Growing up, her mother (Polly Miglani) was a high school special education teacher with the Rochester City School District. Her mother used to bring her to the classroom to help whenever possible, this experience helped shape her perspectives as a physician, and has led to an ongoing collaboration between RCSD and URMC’s department of Emergency Medicine.


Andrea feels very lucky to work with the incredible group of people that keep not just the Emergency Department running, but also keep the department of Emergency Medicine feeling more like an extension of family. Andrea is married and lives with her husband Francis Wacenske and two, admittedly spoiled, goldendoodles.

Allie D’Amanda Sacks

Vice President, Commercial Real Estate Relationship Manager M&T Bank In her role, Sacks supports local commercial businesses in reaching their short and long-term financial goals by understanding their unique needs and delivering personalized finance solutions. Sacks has been with M&T for 13 years. She began her career as a relationship banker in Baltimore, Md. for three years and an assistant branch manager in the Hudson Valley for seven years. She most recently served as a commercial real estate portfolio manager supporting the bank’s large commercial real estate portfolio in Rochester. Sacks received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Bucknell University. A native of Pultneyville in Wayne County, Sacks is passionate about creating positive change in all areas of her community. For the past two years, she has acted as the CEO of M&T’s United Way workplace campaign, helping raise nearly $200,000 last year alone. She remains active with several non-profit organizations, including the American Heart Association’s Heart Walk and Rochester Rotary Club. Sacks also serves on the board of the Washington Square Community Association and the development committee of The Harley School.

Cicely Strickland-Ruiz Chief Operating Officer United Way of Greater Rochester

Cicely Strickland-Ruiz serves as the Chief Operating Officer of United Way of Greater Rochester. With more than 15 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit sector, she has implemented strategies to increase revenue, strengthen customer relationships, and improve business practices. Prior to her role as Chief Operating Officer, Strickland-Ruiz served as Chief Development Officer, leading a team of 20 fundraising professionals to raise more than $30 million annually through corporate giving and individual philanthropy. Strickland-Ruiz is on the Steering Committee of the Interrupt Racism Initiative, focused on racial equity and justice, led by the Urban League of Rochester. She also serves as Vice President of the Irondequoit Public Library Board, and is a board member of Leadership Rochester and CGR. She served on the board of RESOLVE of Greater Rochester as Vice Chair for five years, and is an active member of The Rochester (NY) Chapter of The Links, Inc., and Rochester Women’s Network. Strickland-Ruiz earned a master’s degree in Strategic Leadership from Roberts Wesleyan College. She is an alumni of the United Way African American Leadership Development Program and Leadership Rochester. A lifelong learner, she credits her parents for instilling the importance of meaningful relationships and strong family values. Strickland-Ruiz resides in West Irondequoit with her husband Orlando and pug Malo.


Audrey Wackerman Vice President, Employee Benefits Consultant USI Insurance Services Audrey Wackerman leads the strategic direction, vision, and performance of her clients’ employee benefits programs. Through innovation and dedication, she advises her clients on how to maximize efficiencies and reduce costs, while helping her clients and their employees navigate the complexities of the ever-changing healthcare industry. Wackerman joined USI in July of 2016, where she currently serves as a Vice President of Employee Benefits. Within the community, Wackerman serves on the Board of Directors as Vice President, Scholarship Committee Chair, and Fundraising Committee Chair of the Greater Rochester Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). She is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley, serving as their Co-Vice Chair, Co-Chair of their Purse for Change Event Committee, and a member of the Grant Making Committee. In 2018, Wackerman was a Democrat & Chronicle “Women to Watch” and graduate of Leadership Rochester. Wackerman resides in Ontario with her husband Chris, and two-year old daughter Lyla. She received her undergraduate degrees magna cum laude at SUNY Brockport in Criminal Justice, Political Science, and International Studies.

Our Mission The Women’s Council is your net that works. We are the most top of mind organization for successful professional women in the Greater Rochester area. Women’s Council members support and collaborate with other women, no matter what stage of their career. We are: defining what it means to be a professional woman, building stronger women and more meaningful networks, and have an amazing group of women who are unafraid to be bold in their professions.

$75 per year

There are a lot of reasons to join us Membership with the Women’s Council, a Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce affiliate, lets you connect, share and learn from a wide variety of professional women in the Rochester community. Membership also offers you a chance to develop yourself professionally with programs and networking and educational opportunities.

For more information, visit www.rocwomenscouncil.org

Virtual Event Date Tuesday, May 18 Modeled after the ATHENA Award, the Women’s Council created the Young Women of Distinction scholarship program to help nurture the next generation of women leaders, and to assist them in their higher education endeavors. The program is designed to discover & highlight outstanding young women who have displayed leadership, academic excellence, and involvement in our community. This award embodies the Women’s Council’s belief that young women with promise today will become tomorrow’s leaders. Click here to donate to a scholarship fund

$35 per year

rochester, ny

AutismUp Brockport Research Institute Helen & Gertrude The Center for Youth 34

AutismUp AutismUp was founded in 2004 by women – mothers of children with autism – who established from the start a culture of support and encouragement. The four moms, who met in a coffee shop, have since paved the way for more than 2,500.

AutismUp supports professional and personal success by maintaining a culture that mirrors its mission and values — respecting individual needs, fostering growth, embracing strengths, and recognizing accomplishments.

Now the leading local not-for-profit organization supporting individuals with autism and their families, AutismUp offers innovative programs for people with autism, support and information for parents, and training for community groups. The leadership team is 80% women, most of whom also care for children with extraordinary needs, and our program and support team is 82% women. Many young women have pursued education specializing in autism services because of their experience at AutismUp.

The fundamental purpose of AutismUp is to lift families with autism up, offering ways to improve quality of life. This begins by empowering parents – usually moms. Through information, modeling, support and education, AutismUp has helped hundreds of women to become better advocates for their children, strong CEOs directing their child’s service team, and more confident in all their pursuits.

Sarah Milko Executive Director

Brockport Research Institute Since its founding in 2013, Brockport Research Institute (BRI) has grown to a staff of fifty. BRI has won over $50 million in grant funding for its higher education, K-12, and non-profit clients, and has conducted grant evaluations for over 40 educational programs, as well as teacher and leader continuing education. Dr. Sara Silverstone has developed and mentored a growing circle of women into leadership positions within BRI, as well as launching several into new careers and fostering many as they work toward advanced degrees. BRI is staffed by 80% women, and all BRI executive leadership positions are held by women. BRI has been

a certified Woman-Owned Business Enterprise since 2014. The company and the programs it helps to develop, fund, and evaluate address the central goals of improving education, funding non-profit organizations, and increasing opportunities, particularly for women and others experiencing career disruption or needing a flexible work schedule. BRI’s business model cultivates writing and research skills along with the confidence and leadership to mentor others, developing a pipeline of talented professional women prepared to help others on their professional journeys. The corporate culture of positive, supportive development has shown the power of women helping one another to succeed.

Sara Silverstone President & CEO


Helen & Gertrude Helen & Gertrude is an award-winning, certified Women-Owned Small Business. This digital marketing agency is home to 27 employees, up 350% since it’s founding four years ago and out of which over three quarters are female. Throughout this growth their focus has been on the development of their staff, from intern-level to senior leadership roles. This includes goal setting, individual training paths, cross-collaborative sharing across teams and encouragement of personal growth outside of day-to-day job functions. This business is crafted around an environment that cares deeply about their employees, and that care has directly translated to their client relationships and customer interactions. Transparency creates the space for open and honest communication, paired with mutual respect and humanity. H&G has taken the necessary risks to grow the company while staying true to their values: transparency, collaborative partnerships, and human empathy. They were recently honored with a National 2020 Ad Age Small Agency of the Year Award for their company culture.

Leire Bascaran & Becca Post Co-Founders

The Center for Youth Fifty years ago this year, a vision was crafted that put youth voices first. This vision was more than a program, more than an agency and more than a group of people, and yet those who envisioned this work were pioneers. The date - 1971 - was an interesting time in our country and the work that emerged at the now Center for Youth Services reflected that time. It was a time of advocacy and reclamation of youth leadership, a time of commitment to youth voice and energy, a time to respect and honor the investments of young people who believed that they had something special to offer. Today The Center delivers a runaway and homeless youth continuum of care, including a 13-bed emergency shelter, transitional housing and independent living apartments, a maternity group home, two Crisis Nursery locations, street outreach, counseling and Safe Place,

Elaine Spaull Executive Director


which has sites throughout Rochester and several suburbs and rural areas including Brockport. The Center is opening an initiative called A Bridge to Peace in the building formerly known as the YMCA of Greater Rochester on Monroe Avenue and will continue to serve young people by providing resources for and identified by young men and women. We also offer a rehousing program that support young adults, 18-24, through rental assistance and wrap-around services. And recently added the Arnett House, an independent living opportunity to LGBTQ and trafficked youth facing homelessness. In addition to supportive housing programs, The Center provides school-based prevention education and crisis intervention services, youth workforce development, an Alternative-to-Suspension (ATS) program in several city schools, the Strings for Success violin instruction program, nature-based education and Rochester Teen Court, a peer sentencing program.

Brockport Research Institute is pleased to congratulate our fellow 2021 Athena Organizational Award finalists. Thank you all for believing in yourselves, and in those you help to advance. Together, there is nothing we cannot do. Grant Writing • Project Evaluations • Professional Learning • Project Management www.brockportresearchinstitute.com •(585) 431-3416

SUNY Brockport congratulates all the ATHENA International Award nominees for their exceptional leadership in the Rochester region.

Congratulations Allie Sacks for being a 2021 ATHENA Young Professional Award Finalist. From your friends at M&T. Equal Housing Lender. ©2021 M&T Bank. Member FDIC. 210218 V2 VF. mtb.com

Congratulations Heidi Schult Gregory Rochester Office Managing Partner and all

2021 Athena Award Nominees

99 Garnsey Road, Pittsford, NY 14534 | 585.419.8800 | harrisbeach.com

athena international awards selection committee Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its Women’s Council affiliate thank the independent panel of judges that determined the recipients of the ATHENA International, ATHENA Young Professional, and ATHENA Organizational Awards. These community leaders from diverse backgrounds and industries volunteered their time to assess the ATHENA nominations and choose the finalists based upon professional achievement, community service, and the support and mentoring of women. The internationally-recognized ATHENA Award Program was founded in 1982 in Langsin, Michigan by ATHENA International Founder Martha Mertz. The award was originally established to honor the achievements of exceptional women leaders. And more importantly, it was established to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and business lives. 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 • Actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential.

ATHENA International Award Selection Committee Dr. Heidi Macpherson President SUNY Brockport

Dr. Seanelle Hawkins President & CEO Urban League of Rochester

Donna M. Shultz Founder/CEO MSM Inc.

Fabricio Morales Becky Wehle President & CEO President & CEO Intivity Genesee Country Village & Museum

ATHENA Young Professional Award Selection Committee Julie Camardo CEO & Owner Zweigle’s, Inc.

Joseph Sayre Dr. Lesli Myers-Small Vice President of Superintendent Operations Rochester City School Flower City Gaming District

ATHENA Organizational Award Selection Committee


Kimberly Jones CEO & President Butler/Till Media Services, Inc.

Kim Allen CEO Dixon Schwabl

Jennifer Hungate Vice President Robert F. Hyland & Sons, LLC

Dina G.. Vazzana .’84 Congratulations 2021 ATHENA International Award Finalist! The Circle of Mercy proudly salutes Dina’s commitment and leadership at our school and in the Greater Rochester community. Her many contributions as a Board member, committee chair, alumna, and past parent are deeply appreciated. On behalf of the Board, administration, staff, students, and families at Mercy, we thank Dina for her service!

Grades 6-12

1437 Blossom Road Rochester, NY 14610 585-288-7120 mercyhs.com

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield congratulates Cindy Langston for being named a 2021 Athena Award finalist.

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