Greater Fort Wayne Inc. announces 2014 ATHENA Award nominees

Luncheon planned for April 16, 2014

Greater Fort Wayne Inc. will award two deserving community leaders this year. The prestigious ATHENA Leadership Award celebrates exceptional individuals who have achieved excellence in their profession, served the community in a meaningful way and assisted women in their attainment of professional goals and leadership skills. The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award celebrates those same qualities in community leaders forty years of age or younger.

The 2014 ATHENA Leadership Nominees are:

  • Patricia Irene Bader, M.D., President, Northeast Indiana Genetic Counseling
  • Denice Beights – Executive Director, Fort Wayne Children’s Choir
  • Kristi J. Cortezano – Life Coach/Mentor, LIFE Leadership
  • Cheryl Felger – Team Lead II Manufacturing, Raytheon
  • Katrina Kay – Association Executive, UPSTATE ALLIANCE OF REALTORS
  • Maria Krach, RD, CD – Owner /Dietician, Maria Krach, RD, CD, Medical Nutrition Therapy
  • Laura Kapp Miller – Financial Advisor, UBS Financial Services Inc. /Waggoner Miller Wealth Management
  • Julie Nill – Regional Account Executive, Comcast Spotlight
  • Josette Marie Rider – Chief Executive Officer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Indiana
  • Lanni Ruiz-Connelly – Owner, The Bookmark
  • Kathleen Turpin – Vice President-Human Resources, Brotherhood Mutual

The 2014 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Nominees are:

  • Rachida  Bejja – Clinical Director, Quality Counseling & Psychological Services
  • Sherry Holifield – Design Director, Vera Bradley
  • Kristin Marcuccilli – Chief Operating Officer,  STAR Financial Bank
  • Michelle Merritt – Principal, Merrfeld Resumes and Development / VP Operations, King+Knight LLC
  • Barbara  Molargik-Fitch, Director/Assistant Professor Master of Science in Criminal Justice, Trine University
  • Nicole C. Moore – Director of Retail Operations, Creative Women of the World (CWoW)
  • Rachel L. Rayburn – Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Indiana University Purdue University – Fort Wayne
  • Jenna Strick – Executive Director, United Way of Huntington County
  • Lanah K. Hake Tarango, President/Founder, LanahLink Social Impact Solutions
  • Jami VandeVelde – CEO, People TrueCare
  • Sue Wilhelm – Director, Victory Noll Center

The nominees will be honored and the winners announced at a luncheon on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. at Ceruti’s Summit Park.  WANE-TV NewsChannel 15 anchor Heather Herron will emcee the program.

The ATHENA Award includes presentations to nearly 6,000 individuals across the world. The Fort Wayne recipients will be invited to the International ATHENA Leadership Conference.

The ATHENA ceremony includes a presentation of two $1,000 scholarships to female high school students for use in continuing education, sponsored by Dr. Michele Helfgott and Parkview Physicians Group Integrative Medicine. Donations for the ATHENA Scholarship are being accepted at the time of ticket purchase.

The cost for individual tickets is $35. RSVPs are required, please respond by Friday, April 11, 2014 by clicking the registration button at


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