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"The nominees will be honored and the winners announced at a luncheon on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 11:30 a.m. in The Diamond Room at Ceruti’s Summit Park.

Athena nominees announced

Statement as issued Tuesday by Greater Fort Wayne Inc.:

Fort Wayne, Ind. – Greater Fort Wayne Inc. is pleased to announce 22 nominees for the 10th Annual Northeast Indiana ATHENA Award Program.

GFW 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. in The Diamond Room at Ceruti’s Summit Park.

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 and Table Sponsorships are $500. Table Sponsors receive one table for eight individuals to attend the event and will have their logo/company name recognized at the table.

RSVPs are required, please respond by Friday, April 11, 2014 by clicking the registration button at

For additional sponsorship opportunities, contact Liz Struckholz 260 420-6945 or

About ATHENA International

Founded in 1982, ATHENA International’s mission is honoring, developing and supporting women leaders, inspiring women to reach their full leadership potential to create a balance of power worldwide. The Global ATHENA Leadership Award is presented to individuals who have achieved a high degree of professional excellence, have assisted women to develop their full potential by opening up leadership opportunities, and whose body of work has made a national or international impact. To learn more about ATHENA International, visit

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