The ten finalists for the 2014 ATHENA Award® have been announced! Chicago-based ATHENA International is a nonprofit organization founded in 1982 by Martha Mertz. In addition to supporting, developing, and honoring women leaders, the organization seeks to create balance in leadership worldwide and inspire women to achieve their full potential. Since the program’s inception in 1982, nearly 6,000 leaders in more than 500 communities have received the ATHENA Award®.

The recipient of the 2014 ATHENA Award® will be announced at the 23rd Annual ATHENA Award Luncheon, presented in partnership by The Chamber of Commerce of Southwest Indiana and A Network of Evansville Women (ANEW) and sponsored by Deaconess and The Women’s Hospital, on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014 at The Centre in Downtown Evansville.

2014 ATHENA Award® Finalists:

Sandra Appler
Sandra Appler currently serves as the director of development for The Salvation Army. During her time at The Salvation Army, the donations have more than tripled, increasing the programs to feed more families and children, to provide more homeless intervention allowing families to stay in their home, and increasing the number of children that attend The Salvation Army’s Summer Camp.


Kathy Boyd
As president & owner of Boyd Electric, Kathy Boyd is a success and inspiration as a female business owner in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Kathy currently serves as vice president, and is chair elect, of the board of directors for Holly’s House.


Sheila Huff
Sheila Huff serves as the Principal of Bosse High School and has been an employee of the Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation for nearly 40 years. In 2013, she received the Excellence in Education Award from AvancED, the world’s largest education community and global leaser of school accreditation and improvement. She was recently awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Indiana High School Athletic Association for having given herself and her talents for over 35 years to student athletes.


Sharon Kazee
As an educator and community volunteer for the University of Evansville, Sharon Kazee considers the partnership between the community and the University as intertwined and a benefit for everyone. She has been instrumental in opening the presidential home of the university to the greater community. At the University of Evansville, Sharon spoke to university students about “Women in Leadership” at the university Student Leadership Conference and was the keynote speaker for the university Office Staff Association about “Challenges and Rewards of Women in Leadership.”


Christine Keck
Christine Keck serves as director of federal governmental affairs for Vectren Corp. and director of government relations for Energy Systems Group. Christine’s roles allow her to lead strategic federal efforts while continuing her key leadership in the energy efficiency world.


Shelley Kirk
Shelley Kirk serves as marketing director for Fifth Third Bank. Shelley’s eagerness to help women grow is evident in her dedication to finding ways to help women overcome a variety of circumstances that may inhibit success. As part of the Women’s Network at Fifth Third Bank, she has taken leadership in supporting Women’s Financial Literacy training with the local YWCA to help women better understand how they can improve their financial acumen, improved comprehension, and make better decisions to improve their futures.


Christina Ryan
As CEO of The Women’s Hospital, Chris is a dynamic leader and has a passion for helping others realize their leadership potential. The Women’s Hospital has received the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Awards, been named a Best Place to Work by Modern Healthcare Magazine four years in a row, and is an America’s Best Hospital Certified, receiving their Women’s Choice Award for two consecutive years. Through her role at The Women’ Hospital, she has supported numerous community programs including Girls in Bloom, Girl Culture, the Young Women Lead Conference and the Boys and Girls Club. In addition, Chris is passionate and encourages her hospital education teams to offer programs that help young women build their confidence and empower them to handle both the mental and physical challenges life has to offer.


Sharon Walker
As founder and president of The Long View Group, Sharon Walker is committed to utilizing her 35 years of corporate experience in finance and strategy to inform and empower individuals and organizations. Sharon’s experience is enhanced by her global perspective, having conducted business in 30 countries in North and South America, Asia, Europe, and Africa.


Rose Young
Rose Young serves as project manager for the Evansville Vanderburgh County Building Commission. Rose took part in the creation of the Celebration of Diversity Distinguished Lecture Series and helped orchestrate women speakers such as Marlee Matlin and Lisa Ling.  Rose also worked and continues to champion women's causes, having served on the Women's Equality Day Committee and the Boards of the YWCA and the United Way as well as Willard Library.  She is currently a Gilda's Club of Evansville Board member and, since 2004, she has mentored young women at the former Harwood Middle School and the Cedar Hall Community School.


Tracy Zeller
Tracy Zeller is owner, president & CEO of Tracy Zeller Enterprises, Inc. Tracy is a Gemological Institute of America Diamond Graduate and is GIA certified – the premier standard of accreditation in the jewelry industry. In 2004, Tracy opened the first female-owned and operated fine jewelry showroom in the Tri-State area.