ATHENA Awards Luncheon Honors Women in Erie - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

ATHENA Awards Luncheon Honors Women in Erie

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A celebration Thursday, honored women in Erie.
It was the 11th Erie ATHENA Awards luncheon at the Ambassador Banquet and Conference Center.

It was all about paying tribute to the leadership of local women, and inspiring young women to succeed, "Really it's more about the future of women leaders, the emerging women leaders, we need to have role models for our young women in the grade schools, in the high schools in the universities," said Linda Stevenson, ATHENA Erie Founder. "I believe those people that have achieved a certain level of success in their lives and their careers have the greatest responsibility to give back and that's what today's about, it is our turn to give back and to celebrate our future leaders," Stevenson continued.

The event also honored college students who work to empower women.

Gannon University student, Katlyn Walters received the ATHENA Young Professional Award.

Walters served as the president of Students Against Violence Everywhere, where she educated new students about sexual and power-based violence.
She organized large community initiatives to educate the public about violence, "I'm incredibly honored and humbled, I think the work that we do never asks for attention but recognition means the world to me," said Walters. "I think that being a female and being empowered as a female is always important. I think the work that we do gives females the opportunity to have a voice.... and I think the work that we're doing has never been more important and will continue to be important," Walters continued.

Sister Joan Chittister received the ATHENA Leadership Award. A native of Erie, she has spent her life dedicated to empowering women.

Sister Chittister is a best-selling author of more than 50 books, an international speaker, and a co-chair of the Global Peace Initiative of Women, "When you look at what she has done for women and how she stands out not just in our community but worldwide, the things she's accomplished, she was so ahead of her time," said Stevenson.

Sister Chittister says it's remarkable to see a room full of strong, successful women and men, celebrating their accomplishments, "We're only beginning, but we are beginning. There was not group like this when I was a youngster, there was no group like this to hope that someday I could belong to, no this is the future and I was looking at the future not the past," said Sister Chittister. 

This luncheon comes as the national headlines are filled with allegations of sexual assault on women by Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Winestein.

Sister Chittister says it's situations like this that show there's still a lot of work that needs to be done, "Half the resources of the human race are not being brought to the decision making tables of our society and other societies," said Sister Chittister. "Until we have women's voices, women's agendas, women's ideals, and women's insights we are dealing with half the human race... and it shows," Sister Chittister continued.

This year's keynote speaker was Thomas Kennedy, a past recipient of the ATHENA Award.

And our Erie News Now Lisa Adams served as emcee of Thursday's luncheon. Erie News Now, a proud sponsor of the ATHENA awards.

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