2020 ATHENA Leadership Awards®Virtual Gala Registration

2020 ATHENA Leadership Awards®




The Second Annual Vermont ATHENA Leadership Award®



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UVM Health Network-CVMC

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The Finalists are:

For the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®

Kristen Balschunat, Conservation Specialist for the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District

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Kristen grew up in Glens Falls, NY and earned a B.A. in Geography and Environmental Studies from SUNY Geneseo. Kristen worked as an environmental educator for four years, travelling across the country to teach experiential science curriculum to students of all ages at The Wild Center, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center, The Appalachian Mountain Club and The Ecology School. In her current role at Winooski NRCD, Kristen empowers community members from farmers to city-dwellers to make changes that improve water quality, soil health and wildlife habitat. She coordinates the Rethink Runoff Stream Team, organizes riparian tree planting events, works with farmers to write Nutrient Management Plans, provides training to partners and volunteers and mentors summer interns. She is an active community scientist, involved in projects like eBird, iNaturalist, spotted salamander research and bird banding. Kristen volunteers at Old Spokes Home by refurbishing donated bikes to share with community members in need and has supported Migrant Justice, Committee on Temporary Shelter, VT Racial Justice Alliance and VT Community Garden Network by fundraising and/or volunteering to advocate for their causes. In her free time Kristen enjoys hiking, birding, painting, gardening and canoeing.

For the ATHENA Leadership Award®

Nicole DiDomenico, Norwich University's Director of the Center for Civic Engagement

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Nicole DiDomenico has worked at Norwich University since 2002 when she was first hired to coordinate local volunteer programs for students and help faculty create service-learning opportunities for their courses. In 2009, she developed and became Director of the University’s Center for Civic Engagement and helped to establish the Center’s first endowment, which has since been renamed the Carol W. Todd Fund for Civic Engagement. As Director, Nicole helped to build local, national and international service programs, student organizations, special events and partnerships serving communities from Northfield, Vermont to Iban, Thailand. While working at Norwich, Nicole has also served several nonprofits as a member of their board of directors, such as the Green Mountain United Way, Planting Hope, Inc., and CERV of Northfield. She continues to consult nonprofit organizations on a pro bono basis with a focus on strategic planning, fundraising and board development. Nicole earned her Master’s degree in Teaching (with a concentration in service-learning) from Plattsburgh State University of New York, a Master’s in Public Administration (with a concentration in Organizational Leadership) from Norwich University, and several certifications related to volunteer administration, nonprofit leadership, and personal financial coaching. In Nicole’s free time, she serves as the Project Coordinator for an NGO in Tanzania called Upendo Mmoja, which combines vocational training and residential care for orphaned youth. She cherishes the friendships she’s developed with her students as they’ve graduated and kept in touch over the years, and her favorite pastimes include gardening, reading, volunteering as a member of the Barre Rotary Club and spending time with her family.

Press Conference Introducing the ATHENA Leadership Award® Finalists


ATHENA  Leadership Award®

The ATHENA Award® was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment-qualities embodied in the ATHENA leadership model. The Award is unique in both scope-local, national and international-and the ATHENA mission upon which it is based. The ATHENA Award® is a nationwide program designed to honor those who are mentoring women in business and helping them strive to attain their highest level of accomplishment and leadership.

In order to be receive the ATHENA Award®, the nominee must meet the four strict criteria:

• Assists women in achieving their full leadership potential
• A proven level of excellence and growth in a business or professional arena
• Perseverance, initiative and creativity in business, profession and/or community
• Ability to serve as a role model and advocate for women in the work place and community         
•Previous ATHENA nominees are eligible for renomination


ATHENA Leadership Award® nominees must work in Vermont. Prior recipients are not eligible.

A panel of prominent business leaders from across Vermont will review all nomination forms and select three ATHENA Leadership Award® finalists. All ATHENA nominees will be recognized at the ATHENA Award® Gala on Saturday, November 7th, 5:30 p.m. at Capital Plaza, Montpelier, Vermont, *or online virtually*, and the 2020 Vermont ATHENA Leadership Award® recipient will be announced. An evening of dinner and dancing will honor the recipient and the ATHENA Model. The recipient must be present, either physically or virtually, to accept their award. The applications will be judged by a group of impartial individuals who have been selected for their expertise and experience, and who are not themselves eligible for the award. The ATHENA Award® recipient will be announced on November 7, 2020 during The ATHENA Award® Gala.


ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award®

The Athena Young Professional Award® program was founded in 2007 by Athena International to honor emerging women leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession.
Recipients must also demonstrate their commitment to service by contributing time and energy to improving the quality of life of others in the community while serving as a role model for young women both personally and professionally.

The Young Professional award recognizes women under 40 years old who:

• Demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession.                         
• Provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.
• Clearly serve as a role model for young women personally and professionally.

The Athena Young Professional Award® recognizes emerging leaders under 40 years old who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession. Recipients must also show their commitment to service by contributing time and energy to improving the quality of life of others in the community while serving as a role model for young women both personally and professionally. We encourage you to review all of the below information carefully.

ATHENA Leadership Award® & ATHENA Young Professional Award® History & Criteria

About ATHENA International