Call for nominations – 2014 ATHENA Awards®

Do you know a Buffalo Niagara professional that is making a difference in our region?

The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is excited to announce that we have opened nominations for the 2014 ATHENA Leadership Award®, and the ATHENA Young Professionals Award®.

The ATHENA Awards® are designed to promote and honor the valuable contributions being made to advance the status of women in the Buffalo Niagara region.

The awards are given to individuals who demonstrate support for the goals of female professionals. These individuals provide significant and selfless assistance on behalf of women in the workplace.

I recently spoke with Tony Dvorak from The Superior Group and Mary Cornwell from Child & Family Services who nominated the recipients of the 2013 ATHENA Awards®. They provided great insight on the nomination process:


Q: What did you think of our ATHENA nomination process? Did you enjoy it?

Lynne Marie Finn and Bridget O'Connell - the 2013 Recipients of the ATHENA Awards.
Lynne Marie Finn and Bridget O’Connell – the 2013 Recipients of the ATHENA Awards.

Tony: I found it pretty easy. I felt the open-ended questions gave me an opportunity to share the reasons why I felt Lynne was a strong candidate. It was also great that The Partnership shared the evaluation criteria, which prompted me to think of her in new ways.

Mary: When we sat down and started to think about what the award really meant and work through the nomination forms, it really made sense to us.  The descriptions and evaluation criteria really made it easy to work through. If you think about who ATHENA was as a person, a goddess of wisdom and justice, we felt Bridget was a perfect fit.

Q: Why did you decide to nominate someone?

Tony: I started more than ten years ago with the Superior Group, and Lynne Finn was integral in training and mentoring me. When it comes to leadership, it takes a lot of commitment to your yourself to continue to grow.

With high emotional quotients, great leaders adapt to business fluctuations, effectively motivate their staff based on their different personalities, and provide meaningful feedback. Lynne is just such a great leader.

Mary: To us, Bridget O’Connell was somewhat of an obvious choice. The award calls for someone who is a role model in the community.

Not only is Bridget a role model for other young professionals, but she is so active in the community outside of her normal work day. She lives and breathes justice and equality for children and that comes across in every aspect of her life; whether in her day job, volunteering or teaching.

Guests of the 2013 ATHENA Awards Luncheon

Q: Why do you feel it is important to recognize business leaders in Western New York?

Tony: Having this type of recognition vehicle is exciting to me because—boiled down—it’s simply the right thing to do. Lynne has always been a role model for me personally, and the ATHENA Awards® bring our community’s role models into the spotlight so that we can learn about and from them.

Mary: I believe it is important to recognize any type of leadership but specifically female leadership. We get caught up in our own jobs/lives, and the ATHENA Awards® are an opportunity to see what others are doing in the community and give us a chance to look at how we can help and using their time and talents to better WNY.

There are many awards given out in our region, but I think the ATHENA Awards® means something to our community and women leaders in our community. It gives young professionals something to strive to achieve.

Q: What can you tell an individual interested in nominating someone for the 2014 ATHENA Award®?

Tony: Leadership is tough to do right, and those who do it well really stand out. If you have someone in mind to nominate, be honest and share stories from the trenches. Talk about some of those defining moments when trust in your nominee grew, and your respect for her will guide you.

athena nomMary: Before you fill out the nomination forms, take a step back and really look at the story you want to tell about your nominee. Look at your nominee from all different aspects and share that story. Bridget was the first person we nominated, but we plan on nominating someone every year going forward.


Have someone in mind  you’d like to nominate for this prestigious award? Nominate them today!

Nominations are being accepted until 12 p.m. on Friday, November 21st.

All nominations should be submitted to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and addressed to Sara Schumacher.

If you would like to request a nomination form, or have questions about the process, please reach out to Sara at 716-541-1759 or by e-mail.

Finalists will be announced in December, so stay tuned and mark your calendar for our 2014 ATHENA Awards Luncheon, which will be held on Thursday, March 19th at The Hyatt Regency Buffalo.