This evening marked a special occasion – the first Stark County/Canton, OH ATHENA International Leadership Awards ceremony. Nine incredible women finalists were recognized for their accomplishments in work, their charitable efforts and their mentoring and encouragement of girls and women.
It was a spectacular night. One hundred and seventy-six men and women gathered to recognize and celebrate these incredible women and hear their stories.
ATHENA International began in 1982 and since then 6,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities in nine countries have received the prestigious ATHENA award. The award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment. Doesn’t that sound like the qualities of a purposeful woman?
Following are the names of the nine finalists for Canton, Ohio/Stark County:
- Sheila Markley Black, Day Ketterer Ltd.
- Cheryle L. Casar, The Louisville Meal Center
- Janet Weir Creighton, Stark County Commissioner
- Trina Cutter, Western Reserve Public Media
- Michele D. Evans
- Hon. Sheila G. Farmer, Judge, Ohio Fifth District Court of Appeals
- Kari Groh, The Timken Company
- Shannon English Hexamer, Shannon English Marketing
- Renee Powell, Clearview Golf Club
After a lovely dinner and a presentation by Delores Pressley where each finalist’s story was told, the two award recipients were named and I’d like to share a little of their stories.
Janet Weir Creighton is the Stark County Commissioner, often referred to as the “Energizer Bunny.” For over 40 years Janet has been mentoring and encouraging women. Her journey started in the school system where she worked with young girls, helping to build their self esteem through physical education, cheer-leading, track and other physical activities.
Renee Powell was the other woman awarded the ATHENA Leadership award and her resume is extensive. Her father built and owns the first golf course in the United States built and designed by an African American: Clearview Golf Course. She began the game at a young age and toured for 13 years with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA). She started the LPGA Grils Golf club and she founded the Renee Powell Youth Gold Camp Cadre where inner city junior high students come to learn how to play golf. Just recently she’s launched a similar program for women veterans called Clearview HOPE.