Human Resources and Nonprofits

Grand Rapids chamber names ATHENA Award winner

August 2, 2016
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Shelley Irwin
Shelley Irwin.

The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce has announced the winner of its 2016 ATHENA Award.

The chamber said this afternoon that Shelley Irwin is the 27th winner of the award.

Irwin is the producer and host of WGVU’s “Morning Show” and several local PBS shows.

The chamber said that ATHENA Award winners are honored for their leadership, have mentored and provided opportunities for women and contributed to the community in a positive way.

Irwin was chosen from 10 finalists, each judged on their commitment to the ATHENA “tenets”: authentic self, relationships, giving back, collaboration, courageous acts, learning, fierce advocacy, celebration and joy.

Rick Baker, president and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, said Irwin has “relentlessly” given back to West Michigan, making her an “exemplary model” of the ATHENA Leadership Model.

“She has a sincere passion to make a difference in our community by elevating those around her,” Baker said.

Irwin’s background

Irwin has won five straight Gracie Allen Awards for Outstanding Program Host from the Alliance for Women in Media and multiple honors from the Michigan Association of Broadcasting and the Associated Press.

She has been a vocal supporter of women in the community and active with a number of female-focused organizations and events: Girls on the Run; Gazelle Girl Half Marathon/5K; Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore; Michigan Women’s Foundation; Greater Grand Rapids Women’s History Council; and more.

Additionally, Irwin serves on eight boards and more than 15 committees focused on “advancing professional success” and “enhancing the quality of life” in West Michigan and was named the first female president of the Grand Rapids Lions Club.

ATHENA Award finalists

Mina Breuker, Holland Home
Maria Erazo, Maria Erazo Agency
Shelley Irwin, WGVU
Jennifer Maxson, Varnum Consulting
Peaches McCahill, The McCahill Group
Michelle Rabideau, Saint Mary’s Foundation
Julie Sielawa, YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids
Sandi Steensma, Kennari Consulting
Michelle Suchovsky, Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation
Carrol Velie, Varnum

ATHENA luncheon

Irwin and the finalists will be honored at the ATHENA Awards Celebration on Sept. 15 at the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

The luncheon will feature the presentation of the ATHENA Young Professional Award and five ATHENA Scholarships to women over 30 who are pursuing higher education degrees.

The event is $50 for chamber members, $75 non-members and $700 for a table of 10 people.

People can register for the event online.

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