Women in Business Unlimited Announces 2021 ATHENA Award Recipients

The ATHENA awards at Cornerstone Center of the Arts. Photo by Matt HowellThe ATHENA awards at Cornerstone Center of the Arts. Photo by Matt Howell

By Amy Leffingwell—

MUNCIE, Ind. – Women in Business Unlimited (WIBU) announced the recipients of its prestigious ATHENA Awards at its annual ATHENA Awards Luncheon. The ATHENA Leadership Award, ATHENA Young Professional Award, and WIBU Lifetime Achievement Award were presented.

The ATHENA Leadership Awards are internationally recognized awards which WIBU has been pleased to present for twenty-two years. The nominations were submitted to a panel of judges outside of Delaware County to be evaluated and scored with a provided ATHENA recipient criteria form.

Jenni Marsh received the 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award.

The ATHENA Leadership Award honors individuals who strive toward the highest levels of professional accomplishment, who excel in their chosen field, have devoted time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and who open doors for women.

Jenni is President and CEO of Heart of Indiana United Way serving Delaware, Fayette, Henry, Madison, and Randolph Counties. Across this region, over 40% of households cannot make ends meet. Every day through her work, Jenni fully embraces her mission of making people’s lives better. By listening to community members and letting data inform this work, she, United Way staff, and volunteers have developed two-generation strategies to help families not only survive—but thrive.

Kate Elliott received the 2021 ATHENA Young Professional Award.

The ATHENA Young Professional Award is a natural extension of the ATHENA Leadership Award. This award celebrates an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence.  They have already shown, in a short time in their chosen field, that they hold the ideals of the ATHENA and are a role model for young women personally and professionally.

Kate is a lecturer of journalism and coordinates the magazine media concentration at Ball State University. Kate is a difference maker who can always be found initiating a small act of kindness. She empowers and connects women through a Facebook group, storytelling projects, nonprofit work, Girl Scout leader and youth soccer coach. Kate lives by the mission to inspire empathy, understanding and action through storytelling and to lead with grace, kindness, and honesty.

Muncie OUTreach received the 2021 ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award.

The ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award is presented to an organization in the community that fosters a culture that encourages women employees to achieve their full leadership potential and gives back to the larger community of women and girls by providing and supporting leadership development opportunities and initiatives.

Muncie OUTreach is a local non-profit that provides an accepting environment to enhance the personal growth of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in the Delaware County area. Through programming for LGBTQ youth, and education for the greater community, Muncie OUTreach serves as an advocate for community awareness and acceptance of young people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.

Pat Schaefer was awarded the 2021 WIBU Lifetime Achievement Award.

The WIBU Lifetime Achievement Award honors a woman who has dedicated her life to be a leader and role model and is selected by the WIBU Board of Directors. In addition to the award, WIBU awards a scholarship in Schaefer’s name to a full-time, non-traditional female student enrolled in a local college or university. The 2021 scholarship award presented in the name of the 2019 WIBU Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Sue Dalton, was awarded to Cassandra Buchanan and Melissa Davis.

The 2019 award recipients announced this year’s recipients in each category. They received an ATHENA statue, as well as a custom-made piece of jewelry by Muncie’s Shea’s Diamonds.