Over 300 attended the 10th annual ATHENA Leadership Awards, on Wednesday. The program, hosted by Greater Fort Wayne, Inc., and emceed by WANE-TV anchor Heather Herron, honored 11 Northeast Indiana women as nominees for the ATHENA Award and 11 nominees for the Young Professional Leadership Award.
Recipients meet criteria including excellence, creativity, initiative in their business and valuable service to improve the community while assisting women achieve leadership potential. The increased number of nominees this year and their caliber made the judges decisions difficult but in the end, they awarded Josette Rider, Chief Executive Officer, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of NE Indiana with the 2014 ATHENA Award.
Rider has devoted over 20 years to nonprofit organizations and led Big Brothers, Big Sisters to be nationally recognized for the 2012 Board of the Year, 2012, 2009, and 2006 Agency of the Year and 2012 and 2009 Big Sister of the Year. She has been instrumental in its growth as one of the largest and most cost-effective, successful Big Brothers, Big Sisters agencies in the country. As she accepted the award, she acknowledged the work of others to achieve success, and expressed that 1700 children in our area have requested a ‘big’ of their own, but are waiting for adults with whom to be matched. For more on how to become involved with Big Brothers, Big Sisters, visit the website.
Rachida Bejja was named the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award recipient. Bejja is the co-founder and Clinical Director of Quality Counseling and Psychological Services. In her relatively short time in Indiana, she has given young women professional opportunities to rise in the ranks. She also supports several charitable causes including Quality Closet and support groups.
This year’s scholarship
recipients are Jenna Klinedinst of South Side High School and Estrella Romero
of North Side High School.
Congratulations to the 2014 recipients and each nominee.