Local ATHENA Award Winners Announced

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Supporting, developing and honoring women is key in ensuring balanced leadership throughout the world.

Wednesday, two female leaders were honored after being given ATHENA awards at the Jefferson Street Inn for the annual luncheon hosted by the Wausau Area Chamber of Commerce.

Athena, is the Greek goddess of wisdom, known for her strength, courage and intelligence, and the ATHENA awards go to those who represent those traits while inspiring women to achieve their full potential.

Jeny Nieuwenhuis is the 2012 ATHENA award winner. She's the president of REI Engineering, Inc., one of the few female presidents of an engineering firm in the nation.

Nieuwenhuis is active in promoting programs that encourage leadership in the business, educational and community levels.

"It will be exciting to talk to young women and others about this program and the award I'm so humbled and I feel so appreciative," she said.

The 2012 ATHENA Young Professional Award winner is Megan Lawrence. Lawrence is the general manager of the Wausau Center Mall and is also involved with United Way's Emerging Leaders, Wausau Area Events and the Noon Rotary, to name a few.

"I've had to learn to use my calendar and juggle a lot but my husband's been very supportive and I just really enjoy it," she said.

Both women were nominated and chosen as winners by a committee, which includes past ATHENA award winners.

Other 2012 finalists for the ATHENA award were: Karen Katz, Sue Kersemeier, Diane Lotter and Karla Westcott. The finalists for the ATHENA Young Professional award were: Toni Dunwoody, Jacki Gessler and Rebecca Olson.

ATHENA programs are held in more than 500 communities in eight countries.

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