Nominations for the 2018 ATHENA Awards® will open in late 2017. Stay tuned for more details.

For questions about the nomination process, please contact Krystal Testa at 716-541-1720.

The Partnership has been honored to produce the ATHENA Awards® Luncheon since 1989. The award is celebrated around the world in more than 500 communities and 8 countries and is awarded to individuals who have achieved professional and personal success, given back to their communities and supported women professionals in the region.

Award Categories:

  • ATHENA Leadership Award®
  • ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®

Honorary Steering Committee Members

Honorary Co-Chairs:

Crystal Peoples-Stokes
Assembly Member | New York State Assembly                                           

Trina Burruss
Regional Vice President & Community Relationship Office | Northwest Bank

Steering Committee Members:

Melodie Baker
Director of Education | United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

Felicia Beard
Director of Racial Equity Initiatives | Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Ann Evanko
President and Managing Member | Hurwitz & Fine, P.C.

Rhonda Frederick
President and CEO | People, Inc.

Amy Habib Rittling
Partner | Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, LLP

Donna L. DeCarolis
Vice President of Business Development | National Fuel Gas Company

Sharon Randaccio
President and CEO | Performance Management Partners

Rhonda Frederick
President and CEO | People, Inc.

Kari Root Bonaro
Director of Communications & External Affairs | Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Rupa Shanmugam
President and COO | SoPark Corporation

Thank you to the sponsors of our 28th Annual ATHENA Awards Luncheon:

Presenting Sponsor:

Northwest Bank

Event Sponsors:

PSESeneca Resorts & Casinos

Networking Sponsor:


Official Staffing Agency:

Key Resource Group

Official Accounting Sponsor:

LM logo final

Supporting Sponsors:

Heather Bellini Photography
Inky Fingers Printing
National Grid
National Fuel Gas Company

2017 ATHENA Awards® Recipients

On Thursday, March 30th, in front of a crowd of over 520 at the Buffalo Convention Center, we celebrated the ten finalists and announced the two recipients of the 2017 ATHENA Awards®.

2017 ATHENA Award Recipients

The 2017 recipients are:


For a full list of all previous ATHENA Awards® recipients, click here.