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The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce announced the 11 women chosen as finalists for its prestigious ATHENA Awards as it continues its 28-year tradition of recognizing outstanding Valley businesswomen.

The ATHENA Businesswoman of the Year Award recognizes a woman in the public and private sector, in addition to highlighting an upcoming leader in the Valley as an ATHENA Young Professional.  ATHENA finalists are chosen for their excellence in business and leadership, dedication to the community and support and mentorship of other women. The 11 finalists are:

ATHENA Private Sector finalists:
– Judi Butterworth, Velocity Retail Group
– Heidi Jannenga, WebPT
– Melissa Sanderson, Freeport-McMoRan Inc.
– Kay Wing, Southwest Advanced Neurological Rehabilitation (SWAN Rehab)

ATHENA Public Sector finalists:
– Cathy Brown, First Things First
– Lillian Garcia, American Red Cross
– Sunnee O’Rork, i.d.e.a. Museum
– Leah Fregulia Roberts, Arizona School for the Arts

ATHENA Young Professional finalists:
– Jessica Hipskind, University of Phoenix
– Ashley Kasarjian, Snell and Wilmer L.L.P.
– Lea Phillips, Ballard Spahr LLP

The ATHENA Award highlights women who have achieved the pinnacle of success within their industry, have mentored women throughout their career, and have dedicated themselves to the community through various activities and charities. The ATHENA Award, a program of the international ATHENA organization founded by Martha Mertz in 1982, supports, develops and honors women leaders and pushes them to reach their full potential by invoking the ideals of the Greek goddess of courage, wisdom, arts and science.

Three ATHENA Award recipients will be announced at the Chamber’s 28th Annual ATHENA Awards luncheon on Thursday, October 29, 2015, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Arizona Biltmore, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. Join the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce to help celebrate the outstanding businesswomen in our community and to support all nominees, finalists and recipients past and present. To register, visit online Registration for this event closes on Thursday, October 22 at 5 p.m. Call 602.495.2182 for any questions.

“All of today’s ATHENA finalists’ achievements serve as an inspiration for us all and embody the spirit of this prestigious award,” said Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. “These exemplary women represent professional excellence and leadership of the highest honor and have a genuine desire to inspire, develop and support other women to achieve their full potential. They make our community a better place in which to live, work and play.”

“It is exciting and humbling to be among the finalists for Arizona’s prestigious ATHENA award,” said Melissa Sanderson, vice president of international affairs at Freeport McMoRan Inc. “I will certainly continue to try and live up to the high standards set by previous ATHENA recipients.”

“I am honored, humbled and thrilled to be amongst such an outstanding group of finalists,” said Sunnee D. O’Rork, executive director of i.d.e.a. Museum. “The Phoenix Chamber’s ATHENA Award is widely recognized and held in high esteem and a point of pride for any woman to receive. Thank you for your work in the community to bring to light the difference so many women are making on the lives of children and families in the Valley and beyond.”

Added Sanders, “It is an honor for the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce to highlight the leadership, community service and contributions of these women and continue the great tradition of the ATHENA Awards.”

The Chamber congratulates all of the 2015 Nominees:

  • Susan Anable, Cox Communications
  • Rhonda Bannard, Inspired Connections
  • Samantha Bauer, AAA Arizona
  • Susan Berman, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation
  • Lynda Bishop, Relationship Insurance
  • Glynis Bryan, Insight
  • Tyler Butler, GoDaddy
  • Katherine Castignetti, Arizona Managing Partners
  • Alyssa Crockett, Ryan House
  • Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux, Pendergast School District
  • Cheryl Denham, Arizona Family Florist LLC
  • Michelle Dew, Scottsdale Community College
  • Jessica Estrada, Grant Thornton LLP
  • Dr. Rockel Etienne, Argosy University
  • Stefanie Fasciocco,  Awe Collective
  • Laura Franco French, Arizona Office of Tourism
  • Nicole Maroulakos Goodwin, Greenberg Traurig, LLP
  • Cheryl Green, AZ Big Media
  • Angela Hughey, ONE Community
  • Veronique James, The James Agency
  • Chris Linn, Feeding Matters
  • Salli Marinov, First American Stock Transfer, Inc.
  • Lupe Martinez, APS
  • Carol May, Wisdom Natural Brands
  • Kara McAllister-Dommel, Hair Again Salon
  • Julia Meyerson, Vista College Prep
  • Taryn Norley, The ALS Association, Arizona Chapter
  • Maureen O’Brien, Musical Instrument Museum
  • Jarrett Ransom, ReAwaken
  • Chandra Reilly, Sundt Construction, Inc.
  • Melba Rivera-Irizarry, Apollo Education Group
  • Karen Saelens, UnitedHealthcare
  • Carla Sandine, Highway Twenty
  • Blair Coe Schweiger, Genesis City
  • Margaret Serrano-Foster, Old Republic Title Holding Company
  • Scarlett Spring, VisionGate
  • Ursula Strephans, Central Arizona Shelter Services
  • Anne Trauter, Amalgamated Food Brokerage
  • Amanda Ventura, AZ Big Media
  • Terri Wogan, Social Venture Partners Arizona


Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce
Representing 2,500 businesses across Metropolitan Phoenix, the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce is Arizona’s oldest and largest Chamber. The Chamber supports the growth and development of business by offering networking and marketing opportunities, money-saving programs and a voice in government, keeping its members informed, connected and prosperous. The Chamber also enhances members’ success by promoting economic development, entrepreneurship and a connection to the community.

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Jill A. Brownley
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Posted by Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce

The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce supports business growth and drives economic development in the region by helping members stay connected and prosperous, growing the economy through Phoenix Forward, our collaborative economic development partnership, and advocating for pro-business policies.