ATHENA Leadership Award finalists announced

Wayne Bank and Indiana University East have partnered for the sixth year to bring the ATHENA Leadership Award to Wayne County. The ATHENA Leadership Award® is presented to an exemplary leader who has achieved excellence in their business or profession, served the community in a meaningful way and, most importantly, actively assisted women to achieve their full leadership potential.

The event recognizes women leaders who motivate, inspire and create positive change in the community. Previous award recipients include Mary Jo Clark, Jackie Carberry, Kim Poinsett, Angie Dickman, and Janice Buhl-Macy.

The award recipient will be announced at the celebration dinner on 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, 2019, at Forest Hills Country Club, located at 2169 South 23rd St. in Richmond, Indiana.

The request for nominations went out to the community in March. The three finalists chosen for the ATHENA Leadership Award® are:

Rhonda Duning of Richmond, Indiana, is a realtor at Coldwell Banker Lingle. She has served on Communities in Schools of Wayne County as a founding board member, former president of Richmond Realtors Association, past president of East Central Indiana Workforce Development, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce board, Girls Inc., and she was the first woman to serve on the YMCA board. Duning is a member of PSI-Iota-XI Sorority, Vintage Wheels, First English Lutheran Church and a member of its council and a women’s Bible study fellowship. Previously, she was a mentor for the Fairview reading and Study Buddy programs.

Jennifer Feaster of Richmond, Indiana, is the director of Financial Administration for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County. She is currently vice president for the Richmond Noon Kiwanis Club. She is also a board member for Safety Village of Wayne County and the IU East Alumni Association. She is a lifetime member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, a lifetime member of the IU Alumni Association, a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Indiana Chapter, and a member of the Academy of Model Aeronautics. Additionally, she serves as a secretary for EAA Chapter 373, the Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s The Professional Association Indiana Chapter, and as secretary/treasurer of the Hagerstown Indiana RC Club.

Melissa Vance of Richmond, Indiana, is the president and CEO of the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce. She has served on numerous community boards including Communities in Schools of Wayne County, the Center City Development Corporation, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Eastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, and Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Vance has served on advisory councils for IU East, Earlham College and Purdue Polytechnic Richmond, and participated on committees for Girls Inc., Downtown Business Group, Depot District and Centerville Main Street. She is also serves on the Greater Connersville Progress Committee.

The recipient for the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award is Ashley Sieb of Richmond, Indiana. She is the founder of Ashley Sieb Marketing and she is the marketing strategist and storytelling advocate for Stratavize Consulting. She is a visiting instructor and senior thesis advisor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She is also an instructor for Richmond Social Media and is a member of the board of directors for Birth to Five.

The first ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award recipient was Jessie Pilewski in 2018.

Additionally, Wayne Bank and IU East have announced a recipient for the Elysium Award, a special recognition designated by the selection committee this year.  According to Greek mythology, those who led righteous lives or performed great deeds spent their eternal afterlife in the beautiful realm of Elysium.

The posthumous recipient is Stacey Steele. Steele lived in Richmond, Indiana. She passed away on December 21, 2018. Steele was the director of the grants and outcomes for the Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County. She worked for the Boys & Girls Club for 20 years, previously as the director of education. She was the co-founder of the Richmond chapter of Brianna’s Hope and she was the executive director of Drug Free Wayne County. In 2017, she received the HYPE (Helping Young Professionals Engage) Outstanding Young Professional Community Involvement Award. She was also a member of Christ United Church.

Local sponsorship is provided by Wayne Bank and Indiana University East. Event proceeds will equally benefit the Women’s Fund of Wayne County and Girls, Inc.

The cost for the dinner is $75. To RSVP, visit waynecoathena.com or contact JoAnn Spurlock, assistant vice president at Wayne Bank, at (765) 259-0209 or jspurlock@waynebnk.com or Paula Kay King, director of Gift Development at IU East, at (765) 973-8331 or pkayking@iue.edu.

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