Enthusiastic about work, community and mentorship, the ATHENA finalists are all incredibly impressive women in their fields. From entrepreneurs to doctors, business experts to educators and every sector in between, the ATHENAs vary greatly in their professions, but they’re all passionate agents of change with unique ways of thinking.
Here are the mottos they use to drive their actions, encourage those around them and inspire them.
Private sector finalists
“Get it done.” –Judi Butterworth, senior vice president of Velocity Retail Group
Judi Butterworth loves defying expectations. She was the first in her family to attend college and rejected the old ideas that women were limited to certain professions. Butterworth is known for her work ethic and negotiation skills and is one of Arizona’s premier retail brokers. Focused and driven, she devotes her spare time to mentoring others and increasing opportunities for women.
“Seize every moment as a learning or teaching moment.” –Heidi Jannenga, founder and COO of WebPT
An innovative entrepreneur, Heidi Jannenga’s passion for physical therapy enabled her to identify gaps in service, tools and technology. Taking matters into her own hands, she created a Web-based, electronic medical records software solution specifically for physical therapists. In just a few short years, she has led WebPT from a small startup to one of the nation’s fastest growing companies.
“Everything can always be better and be fearless and follow your passion.”—Melissa Sanderson, vice president of international affairs at Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
Melissa Sanderson is an adventurer and vehement advocate for women. She began her career in banking and spent time as a foreign service officer. She now works in the private sector pursuing her original passion of foreign affairs.
“The only miracle is the miracle of hard work.”—Kay Wing, owner of Southwest Advanced Neurological Rehabilitation
Dr. Kay Wing’s passion for helping others began at a very early age. As the owner of SWAN Rehab, an outpatient rehab facility specializing in the treatment of stroke, brain injury and other neurological diseases, she provides compassionate care and neuro-rehabilitation. Wing bridges community service and business to address the health care needs of low-income patients.
Public sector finalists
“When families are strong, communities thrive.”—Cathy Brown, regional director of First Things First
Cathy Brown’s passion is to improve the health and welfare of women and children. As regional director for the Gila River Indian Community, her focus is to build sustainability around health and education. Mentorship is very important to Brown who actively encourages and supports individuals to become Gila River Tribal Council leaders.
“Do unto others as you would do unto yourself. Respect, give love and give in service of others.”—Lillian Garcia, chief volunteer services officer for American Red Cross
Lillian Garcia notices when others need help. She strives to serve and assist others in developing their strengths and becoming their best selves. Garcia is responsible for over 2,000 volunteers in the Arizona-New Mexico-El Paso region for American Red Cross. She’s improved health education and assisted in the empowerment of community members through her work.
“Live fully and help others.”—Sunnee O’Rork, executive director of the i.d.e.a. Museum
Sunnee O’Rork is a visionary creative full of energy. She’s delivered bold proposals to the i.d.e.a. Museum and launched its metamorphosis, resulting in a dramatic visitor increase from 40,000 to 105,000. Although O’Rork adores her work, she also wants to change her community for the better by preventing human trafficking and creating awareness on the issue.
“Do good work. Help others be the best they can be.”—Leah Roberts, CEO of Arizona School for the Arts
High-quality education, arts, culture, community and helping students become great leaders are all imperative to Leah Roberts. She’s a strong community leader, advocate for women and mentor. Roberts has helped establish the Arizona School for the Arts as a top academic school in Arizona and she actively promotes the development of a vibrant downtown Phoenix.
-Written by Carolina Lopez, digital marketing administrator for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce.