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WNC Business

Nominations open for 2024 ATHENA Award of Henderson County

Oct 26, 2023 07:36PM ● By WNC Business

HENDERSONVILLE - The Henderson County Chamber of Commerce is now accepting  applications for the 2024 ATHENA Award of Henderson County. The ATHENA Award is presented by UNC Health Pardee, Optimum and Hunter Automotive. Nominations will be accepted through Wednesday, January 17, 2024.  

Nominations are judged and a recipient selected by a panel of professionals out of the Henderson County area, based on the criteria set forth by ATHENA International. Nominators should plan to tell their nominee’s story through rich narrative and details, as judges will have no knowledge of even well-known community members. The nomination forms can be found on the Chamber website at  

Named for the goddess of wisdom and victory, Athena, the award is presented to a woman – or man – who is honored for professional excellence, community service, and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills. 

The ATHENA award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment. Established in 1982 by Martha Mertz, a business owner in Lansing, Michigan, Mrs. Mertz was then the only woman serving on the Chamber of Commerce Board. Mrs. Mertz was convinced that if women’s’ contributions and leadership were recognized and encouraged, they could no longer be overlooked, and women would become leaders in their communities. What Mertz conceived 38 years ago is now a global  movement. Since the program’s inception more than 7,000 awards have been presented in 500 communities and eight countries.  

The ATHENA award was originally sponsored and brought to Henderson County by Vanessa Mintz. Vanessa was a long-time local business woman, active Chamber volunteer and community advocate. After Vanessa’s untimely death in 2011, the award was and will continue to be presented in her memory. The ATHENA Award honors individuals who strive toward the highest levels of personal and professional accomplishments, who excel in their chosen field, devote time and energy to their community in a meaningful way, and forge paths of leadership for other women to follow. The award is co-sponsored by the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce. 

“It’s inspiring to spotlight women who are making amazing contributions and devoting time and energy to our  community and within their workplace and their family,” said ATHENA Committee Chair Sherri Holbert with  Relocate828.

The nominees will be honored at a reception in early Spring. Then the recipient of the 17th Annual ATHENA Award presented in memory of Vanessa Y. Mintz will be announced at the Business and Professional Women’s Luncheon on Tuesday, April 23 at Blue Ridge Community College.  

The Business and Professional Women’s Luncheon is hosted as part of the Henderson County Chamber’s Small Business Week celebration to honor the work that women are doing in area businesses and the community.  

Women-forward programming will continue throughout the year with the next Empower Hour which will be held on November 7 at The Main Event in Hendersonville.  

For more information on the ATHENA Award and related programs, please call The Chamber at 828-692-1413. 

About Henderson County Chamber of Commerce:
The Henderson County Chamber of Commerce is a 1000+ member business organization representing businesses in  Hendersonville, Fletcher, Flat Rock, Laurel Park, Mills River and all of Henderson County. Through its board of directors and committees, the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce advocates for business through policy and new business recruitment by providing opportunities to network, learn, and succeed. For more information on joining or becoming involved with the Chamber visit our office at 204 Kanuga Road in Downtown Hendersonville; call 828-692-1413; visit their website at; follow the Henderson County Chamber of Commerce on Facebook, Twitter (@hendersoncocham), or Instagram (hendersoncochamber). 
Source: Henderson County Chamber of Commerce