Athena Young Professional Award winner Amber Penna of Mercyhurst University and Laurie Root, 2013 Athena Award winner and Vice President, Investor Relations, United Way of Erie County — Photo courtesy of Colleen Moore Mezler
Some were young. Some not so young. Some retired. Some were still in school. But the 200 women at the Erie Ambassador on Tuesday had one thing in common: They were on a mission to support one another in business and in life. Erie area women were honored and empowered — I’ll get to the honors, but first the empowerment.
Founded by retired Erie banker Linda Stevenson, the local Athena Powerlink group — in its 15th year –welcomed Erie area women and shared a powerful message from Christy Uffelman, a Pittsburgh businesswoman and Athena award winner. “Share your light,” she said. Uffelman shared her light and founded a number of peer mentoring groups for women that have been successful in Pittsburgh. Her message of top 5 things to do:
- You will say and do things you regret. Let it go.
- Get on a board and help other women join boards, and raise money. A national organization called the 2020 Women on Boards has a goal of increasing women on boards by 20 percent throughout the United States.
- It’s OK to not be liked.
- Saying no is a skill; practice it.
- Be strategic about building your network. Make contact with similar people, share problems, solutions. Those people will be there when you need them. But you must ask.
Congratulations, Laurie Root, ATHENA Leadership Award recipient. Root returned to Erie a few years ago with a mission of helping women. She is described as a quiet leader, and she has been very effective in her career and in helping local women and children. Root had been instrumental in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library’s success in Erie — the Imagination Ball is Saturday. Click here for details.
Thousands of children are signed up for the program that gives free books to children who cannot afford them. Click here for more information. That’s just one of Root’s many accomplishments. Get to know Laurie Root, who along with Colleen Moore Mezler and Linda Stevenson, will take Athena to the next level locally.
The 2013 Athena Young Professional Award went to Amber Penna of Mercyhurst University. Amber is a sports medicine major, and she serves as president of Mercyhurst Student Government.
You’ll be seeing much more about women empowering one another right here in this blog. Plus, Athena will launch its first local boot camp in May 2014.
I have had the privilege of serving on several Athena advisory panels that help women business owners take their businesses to the next level. I’ve seen the Athena influence in action, and it’s not just women. My former grade school teacher, CPA Dick Wachter, received the Athena Award in 2005 for empowering women in business.
If you want to share your light with Athena, contact Linda Stevenson at L.StevensonATHENA@hotmail.com or visit www.athenaerie.com.
Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is mom to three, stepmom to three and GramPam to one.