Chamber of Commerce

The term and concept of leadership has come into a very bright spotlight these past few months. Leaders are important, especially when the world has turned into a place of high frustration and anxiety as we have observed this year. Leaders inspire us, guide us, keep us from harm and ensure that we stay our course and are not lost to the many, many calamities that we have been forced to endure this year.

Equally important is to recognize the things that our leaders do for us. Which is why the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce that we will be hosting the third Annual Athena Leadership Awards this fall. We will be presenting two awards this year, one to recognize the accomplishments of women leaders in our business community who have proven to assist women in achieving their full leadership potential and serve as a role model for them. A nominee must also have a proven record of creativity, innovation, and performance in their business field. Our first awardee will have demonstrated these qualities, and our second is to recognize a Young Professional.

The Athena Award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom, and enlightenment-qualities embodied in the Athena leadership model. The award is unique in both scope-local, national and international-and the Athena mission upon which it is based. The Athena Award is a nationwide program designed to honor those who are mentoring women in business and helping them strive to attain their highest level of accomplishment and leadership.

The Athena Young Professional Award program was founded in 2007 by Athena International to honor emerging women leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession.

Recipients must also demonstrate their commitment to service by contributing time and energy to improving the quality of life of others in the community while serving as a role model for young women both personally and professionally.

Both awards are presented under the guidance and criteria set by Athena International, who, since the program’s inception in 1982, have recognized more than 7,000 exemplary leaders in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The Athena Leadership Award is presented annually by Chambers of Commerce, Women’s organizations, and universities in more than 500 communities worldwide.

If you know someone you feel should be nominated, the criteria and nomination forms are available on our website, and we are accepting nominations until Sept. 1.

Nominating a candidate for either the Athena Leadership or the Athena Young Professionals Award from our website is an easy online form.

Our annual event will be held in November. We are planning to hold it in-person if health department guidelines will allow us to. If not, we will be hosting the awards online. For details on our event, to see who received the award last year, to register to attend, or to nominate a worthy candidate please visit

Kevin Eschelbach is the president of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

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