Grand Rapids, Michigan / August 25, 2020 — The Grand Rapids Chamber today announced Tasha Blackmon, President and Chief Executive Officer of Cherry Health, as the 2020 recipient of the ATHENA Leadership Award. The award will be presented at the 31st Annual ATHENA Awards Celebration to be held virtually on Thursday, September 24 at 4:00 p.m. Blackmon joins three decades of recipients recognized for their efforts supporting, developing, and honoring local women leaders.
“I am thrilled to be recognized alongside four outstanding finalists and included among a growing list of leaders paving the way for women in our community,” said Blackmon. “Together as women leaders, we have the ability to change systems for generations to come.”
The ATHENA Awards program began in Grand Rapids in 1989 to honor women and men for professional excellence, community service and active assistance of women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills. Recognition is awarded in three categories: ATHENA Leadership Award; ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award; and ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award. This year’s finalists and recipients were chosen by the ATHENA Council following an open nomination process. A complete list of finalists can be found by category below.
“We have seen tremendous growth in our ATHENA program this year in spite of the pandemic,” explained Mel Trombley, Director of Leadership Programs for the Grand Rapids Chamber. “While gathering in-person is not a possibility, we are thrilled to debut a virtual celebration experience that combines the rich history of ATHENA tradition with new creative elements that embrace a spirit of forward progression.”
Registration for the 31st Annual ATHENA Awards Celebration is currently open at grandrapids.org. In addition to event access, all attendees will receive a gift box curated by Pack Elephant that features goods from local, women-owned business.
ATHENA Leadership Award Finalists
- Tasha Blackmon, President & Chief Executive Officer, Cherry Health
- Candace Matthews, Chief Reputation Officer, Amway
- Bonnie Nawara, Chief Executive Officer, Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women
- Ana Ramirez-Saenz, President, La Fuente Consulting LLC
- Misti Stanton, Assistant Vice President and Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Mercantile Bank of Michigan
ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award Finalists
- Brandy Arnold, Program Manager, West Michigan Center for Arts + Technology
- Elise Kutt, Founder & Photographer, Mod Bettie Portrait Boutique
- Ashley René Lee, Vice President of Strategic Communications, Grand Rapids Community Foundation
- Ashley Ward, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Hire for Hope
- Shannon Wilson, Director of Medicaid Outreach & Quality, Priority Health
ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award Finalists
- Kids’ Food Basket
- Lindo Mexico Restaurante Mexicano
- Metric Structures
About the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce leads the business community in creating a dynamic, top-of-mind West Michigan region. Together with over 2,500 member businesses, we work to expand the influence, access, and information required to actively encourage entrepreneurial growth and community leadership. We offer the connections, resources, and insights needed to develop strong leaders, engage a diverse workforce, foster an inclusive and welcoming community, and advance a vibrant business environment that nurtures economic prosperity for all. Learn more at www.grandrapids.org.