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February 28, 2022

Stephen Grimm, Director of Marketing

Buffalo Niagara Partnership Announces 2022 ATHENA Award® Individual Finalists

Awards recognize contributions made by individuals to advance the status of women in the Buffalo Niagara region.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is pleased to announce the individual finalists for the 2022 ATHENA Awards®. The awards recognize contributions made by women leaders that show professional excellence and advance the status of women throughout the Buffalo Niagara region.

Finalists were selected by the ATHENA Awards® Executive Committee, which includes women business leaders from a variety of companies, both for profit and non-profit, representing an array of business, industry, and professional services. Lumsden McCormick LLP tabulates the results of the secret ballot selection process, which will only be revealed during the LIVE presentation at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center on Tuesday, April 5th.

The ATHENA Leadership Award® honors exceptional individuals who have achieved the highest level of professional excellence, contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assist others—particularly women—in realizing their full leadership potential.

Finalists for the 2022 ATHENA Leadership Award® are:

  • Felicia Beard | Senior Director, Racial Equity Initiatives | Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo
  • Melinda Buckley | CFO | OLV Charities
  • Christine Dougherty | Senior VP, Managing Director | Mower
  • Lorna Fitzpatrick | VP Senior Medical Director | Univera Healthcare
  • Dawne Hoeg | Executive Director | Stitch Buffalo
  • Jennifer Johengen-Vogel | VP of Health Management | Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY
  • Lisa LaTrovato | Donor Relations Manager | Hauptman Woodward
  • Heidi Romer | Director of Community Advancement | Jericho Road Community Health Center
  • Patti Stephen | Executive Director | Buffalo Prep
  • Elizabeth Woike-Ganga | President & CEO | BestSelf Behavioral Health

The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® honors emerging leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession, contribute time and energy to improving the quality of life for others, and serve as role models for young women personally and professionally. Nominees must be under the age of 40.

Finalists for the 2022 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® are:

  • Chantal Benton | Program Manager, Diversity Equity & Inclusion | Moog
  • Rachel Dorgan | General Manager | Hyatt Place/Hamister Group
  • Tracy Garner | Senior Provider Account Manager | Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of WNY
  • Joanne Israel | Assistant General Manager | Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino
  • Christine Kemp | Director of Population Health | Evergreen Health
  • Darra Kubera | Director of Communications | FOS of CannonDesign
  • Meghan Lutz | Commissioner of Social Services | Niagara County Social Services
  • Molly Sievenpiper | Business Operations Specialist | American Red Cross
  • Sonya Tareke | Program Manager | Entrepreneurship for All
  • Vilona Trachtenberg | Distribution Coordinator | New Era Cap

For more information or to purchase individual tickets or tables, please visit

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area representative for ATHENA International, a nonprofit that seeks to support, develop, and honor women leaders. The ATHENA Awards® luncheon is presented by Title Sponsor: Northwest Bank. Other supporters include Presenting Sponsors: Seneca Resorts & Casinos; Official accounting firm sponsor: Lumsden McCormick LLP; Finalist Sponsor: National Grid; Official Media Sponsor:  Buffalo Magazine and supporting sponsors Heather Bellini Photography, St. Bonaventure University, and Grover Cleveland Press.


The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is the area’s regional chamber of commerce and privately-funded economic development organization. Partnership members employ more than a quarter of a million people in the Buffalo Niagara region. By mobilizing members and strategic partners around common goals, the Partnership grows private investment and jobs in Buffalo Niagara through advocacy, business development, and convening.