Since the program’s inception in 1982, nearly 6,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Leadership Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Leadership Award program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives. To view a complete list of past ATHENA Leadership Award winners, visit our awards page.
Nominations are solicited and an ATHENA sculpture is awarded to an individual in the community who meets specific criteria listed below. Recipients of the ATHENA Leadership Award possess the following qualities: - Demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession - Provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community - Actively assist women in realizing their full leadership
2015 Athena Young Professional Award winner, Emily Francis (Mercyhurst University) and 2015 Athena Leadership Award winner, former Erie Mayor Joyce Savocchio.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Dworek Photography
In addition to the leadership award, each of the four local universities is approached to nominate a female student for the ATHENA Young Professional Award. One nominee is selected from each university: Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Gannon University, Mercyhurst University, and Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. Each of the finalists is recognized at the luncheon event and one winner is announced. To view a complete list of past ATHENA Young Professional Award winners, visit our awards page.
Winners of the ATHENA Young Professional Award recipients possess the following qualities:
Are emerging leaders who demonstrates excellence, creativity, and initiative in their college community
Provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community
Clearly serve as a role model for young women, personally, professionally and in their college community
2017 Keynote Speaker - Tom Kennedy, CEO, Professional Development Associates, Inc.
Tom is originally from New York and in 1988 he accepted a transfer to Erie while working for GE after previous positions at GE Power Systems, GE Aerospace, and Ingersoll-Rand companies. He has a degree in Marine/Mechanical Engineering from State University of New York Maritime College, an MBA from Penn State, and achieved officer status in the US Navy, Merchant Marine, and Coast Guard.
In 1993, Tom left GE to pursue his dream of owning a business and founded Professional Development Associates which has become a prominent business and real estate development company. His businesses include Professional Development Associates, Inc., Altair Real Estate/Property Management, Palace Business Centres, and Cobblestone Hotels. Real Estate properties he owns include Palace and Renaissance Centres in Erie, Parkside Commons in Meadville, Westlake Centre in Cleveland, VA Medical Clinics, Cobblestone Hotels and several other commercial and residential projects in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
Tom has always been active in the Erie Community. He was an original Athena Powerlink Advisor, is a founding board member of ERIEBANK, serves on boards of the Erie Water Authority, Visit Erie, Gaudenzia, and Penn State Behrend Council of Fellows, and is a former Chair of the Erie Metro Transit Authority and Greater Erie Board of Realtors. Tom is also a past recipient of the ATHENA Erie Leadership Award. Tom has been married to his wife Kim for 31 years, has two sons, Devon and Grant, who also chose to attend Maritime College, and in his off time enjoys boating, snow skiing, ice hockey and traveling to new and interesting places. We are thrilled to feature Tom Kennedy as our 2017 Keynote Speaker!