The Greater Phoenix Chamber’s ATHENA Awards program recognizes and celebrates the achievements of businesswomen across the Greater Phoenix region. Each year, the Greater Phoenix Chamber’s ATHENA Awards highlight 11 women at the top of their field, who demonstrate inspiring leadership within their industry, mentor women throughout their career, and act as dedicated community servants. Of the 11 finalists, three recipients are selected as ATHENAs. Over the past 34 years, 59 accomplished and compassionate Valley businesswomen have earned the title of ATHENA. Recipients are announced at the ATHENA Awards Luncheon, which will be on November 18, 2021. Register for the awards luncheon today!

Private Sector

Catharine Ellingsen
Chief Legal Officer, Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer, and Corporate Secretary, Republic Services

I am incredibly honored to be nominated for this prestigious recognition of leadership, mentorship and community service. It is even more humbling to be selected as a finalist and to be included among such amazing and accomplished women.

Christine Gannon
Founder & CEO, Brightworks Consulting

What being an ATHENA finalist means most is gratitude. Professionally and personally, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have tremendous mentors, sponsors and coaches supporting my career trajectory which has taken me to the point in my life where I could be recognized for having built a successful career. It’s this career path that has afforded me the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in our community. It reinforces what it means to be an ATHENA, which is to be a leader who only achieves success by lifting others to their greatest potential. In addition, mentoring and sponsorship are the keys to every successful woman’s career. What does that look like? Guiding and advising others is mentoring and sponsoring takes this a step further to promote and make those warm introductions to key individuals. Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to have both, and these experiences have shaped me into the leader I am today. To have the opportunity to do that for other women is very important to me. If my experiences and/or network can help women achieve their goals, then I’ve been successful as a leader, community member and a sponsor. I will have been successful as an ATHENA.

Molly Stockley
Regional Vice President of Marketing, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

I have been an avid supporter of the Athena Program since 2008. I have visualized on becoming an Athena from afar due to how my personal values and the Athena Pillars are interchangeable to me. This was the first year that I was nominated and by someone whom I have never met, which made it more special. Personally, I strive to be a virtuous leader, an authentic mentor and purposeful community contributor not for recognition or accolades. I do it because I feel an overwhelming responsibility to continue the amazing work of the Athenas before me and my ultimate goal, to leave a legacy for my two little boys. They are taught to be kind, humble, helpful and contribute to society. To be a good person. A great human. To be an Athena.

Kathleen Winston, PhD, RN
Dean, College of Nursing, University of Phoenix

I have frequently been referenced as an Athena, a goddess of war and wisdom.
Like Athena herself, I have found in my fifty-year long career in nursing, education, and leadership that the two most powerful warriors are patience and time, and that wisdom is the reward of experience.

Time and patience have provided me opportunities to serve my personal and professional communities, and to support future warriors through leadership and mentoring.
It is Athena wisdom that humbles me as I gratefully accept the unprecedented honor of being named an Athena finalist.

Public Sector

Jeanine Bashir
Regional Director, First Things First

Being selected as a 2021 ATHENA Award Finalist is an honor. To stand alongside other women, who are trailblazers in their respective fields and who are actively serving their communities fills me with a deep sense of pride and gratitude. I wish my fellow Athena finalist the best and look forward to collaborating with them on future projects that enhance and pave the way for Phoenix Residents.

Debbie Esparza
Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix

This is a terrific honor for me and also great recognition for YWCA and our mission to empower women and eliminate racism. I am so humbled to be among the finalists! When looking at previous ATHENA recipients and finalists it gives me great hope that our community is led by engaged, powerful women.

Lauren Henschen
Chief Executive Officer, Phoenix Center for the Arts

I could not be more humbled by this recognition, on behalf of the entire Phoenix Center for the Arts team. I am excited to celebrate the meaningful and impactful work of all of this years’ finalists at the 2021 ATHENA Awards.

Mona Mehta Stone
SVP, General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer, Corporate Secretary, Goodwill of Central & Northern Arizona

This is not just a nomination for me alone, it is recognition of the endless pursuit of an organization that is committed to a vision of ending poverty through the power of work. It is a nomination that recognizes the next batch of leaders that have allowed me to mentor them, while they have taught me how to be a better leader myself and build a meaningful legacy. This is recognition for all the finalists, who steadily work to transform the workplace, our communities, and are paving a path for a better future for so many women throughout Arizona. I am greatly honored to be a part of this remarkable group of finalists who continue to make a significant impact every day.

Young Professional

Christina Ngo
Director of Social Embeddedness, Arizona State University

As the daughter of refugees and a first-generation professional, I am overjoyed to be a selected as a 2021 ATHENA Award Finalist. This is an extremely special moment for me, and I feel honored and privileged to be in the company of other women who demonstrate excellence in professional leadership, community service and mentorship. I feel humbled to be selected as a finalist. In my professional work, I remember each of the individuals who have served as examples for me and what it means to be a servant leader grounded in their community. I get the opportunity to collaborate and learn from inspirational leaders, and I would like to thank them all for playing an important role in helping me get here.

Stella O’Rourke
Corporate Development & Events Manager, UMOM New Day Centers

Being an ATHENA Young Professional Finalist is one of the highest honors I’ve received in my lifetime. To be considered a prominent young leader alongside current and past ATHENA finalists and recipients has been unimaginable. I have been able to expand my circle to include (and be mentored by) some of the most fearless and dedicated leaders of our community and I will never forget this experience.

Kimberly Roland
Vice President of Innovation and Entrepreneur Programs, Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest

It is an absolute honor to be named a Young Professional Finalist for the 2021 Greater Phoenix Chamber Athena Award. As a native Phoenician, my love for this city runs deep and I have committed my career in the public sector to bring resources to those who may be underserved in our society— from families to students to small business owners. I am grateful to be recognized for the work I do at Better Business Bureau Serving the Pacific Southwest and am humbled to be considered alongside so many other truly inspiring, deserving women.

Posted by Jocelyn McAlpin