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® are celebrated around the world in more than 500 communities and 8 countries. Since 1989, the Partnership has been honored to produce the annual ATHENA Awards® Luncheon, at which finalists for the ATHENA Leadership Award® and the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® are honored.

If you’d like to nominate someone for the 30th Annual ATHENA Awards® in 2020, scroll down to fill out the pre-nomination form and we’ll be in touch with a reminder when the nomination period opens.

2019 ATHENA Awards® Recipients

On Tuesday, June 4, in front of a crowd of more than 600 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center, we celebrated the 20 finalists and announced the two recipients of the 2019 ATHENA Awards.®

The 2019 recipients are:

  • JoAnn Falletta, Music Director, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra – 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award®
  • Katie Krawczyk, Partner & CEO, 19 IDEAS – 2019 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®


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


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2019 ATHENA Awards® Finalists

Visit our blog to learn more about each of the 2019 finalists.

ATHENA Leadership Award®

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

2019 Finalists included:


ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®

The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award® honors an emerging leader who demonstrates excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession, contributes time and energy to improving the quality of life for others, and serves as a role model for young women personally and professionally. Nominees must be under the age of 40.

2019 Finalists included:

  • Esther Annan, Program Director, Say Yes to Education Buffalo
  • Kara Burke, Vice President Innovation & Growth, Rich Products
  • Emily Burns Perryman, Director of Marketing & Public Relations, Trocaire College
  • Anna-Lesa Calvert, Executive Director, Algonquin Sports for Kids, Inc.
  • Amanda Coniglio, President & Owner, Cavalry Safety & Security Services
  • Anne Joynt, Junior Partner, Lipsitz & Ponterio, LLC
  • Jenna Koch, Human Resources Business Partner, Catholic Health and President, City of Tonawanda Common Council
  • Lori Overdorf, Director of Development & Youth Services, Valley Community Association
  • Katie Rozsa, Senior Manager, Audit, KPMG

ATHENA Awards® Honorary Steering Committee

Honorary Co-Chairs:

Crystal Peoples-Stokes
Assembly Member | New York State Assembly

Jennifer Gibson
SVP, District Manager | Northwest Bank


Steering Committee Members:

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

Ann M. Brooker
Specialty Product Manager | The Buffalo News

Lorrie Clemo
President | D’Youville College

Donna L. DeCarolis
President | National Fuel Gas Company

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

Rhonda Frederick
President and CEO | People, Inc.

Holly Gagnon
President & CEO Seneca | Gaming Corporation

Mary Owusu
VP, Digital Strategy & Analytics | Mower

Sharon Randaccio
President and CEO | Performance Management Partners

Amy Habib Rittling
Partner | Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, LLP

Jen Rung
Manager, Marketing & Creative Services | Catholic Health

Thank you to the sponsors of our 29th Annual ATHENA Awards Luncheon:

Presenting Sponsor:

Northwest Bank

Event Sponsors:

Houghton College

Seneca Resorts & Casinos

Official Media Sponsor:

Official Accounting Sponsor:

LM logo final

Television Sponsor:

Supporting Sponsors:

Heather Bellini Photography
Inky Fingers Printing
National Fuel Gas Company
National Grid
Performance Management Partners
St. Bonaventure University