Two Wayne County leaders in health care and industry — and one organization helping girls succeed — soon will be honored at a dinner.  

After reviewing nominations, Wayne Bank and Indiana University East have announced this year’s Athena winners.

Sharrie Harlin has earned the Athena Leadership Award and Paige Crosset is the Young Professional. Girls Inc. of Wayne County receives the Organizational Leadership Award.

The Aug. 8 dinner recognizes women leaders who motivate, inspire and create positive change in the community. 

Harlin works as Reid Health’s community engagement manager. She aims to ensure all people have access to health care, regardless of socioeconomic status or other barriers. 

Harlin previously received the Volunteer of the Year award from Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce and recognition for her community leadership from Mount Olive Baptist Church.

Harlin’s extensive community service includes involvement with Centerstone of Indiana, Drug Free Fayette and Wayne Counties, Wayne County Community Corrections, Systems of Care Fayette and Wayne Counties, Main Street Richmond, Shoes for Kids, Hoosiers Enduring Legacy Program, Richmond NAACP, and Wayne County Purdue Extension.

Winners have demonstrated excellence in their business or profession, served the community in a meaningful way and, most importantly, actively assisted women to achieve their full leadership potential. 

Previous recipients include Mary Jo Clark, Jackie Carberry, Angie Dickman, Janis Buhl-Macy, Kim Poinsett, Tracie Robinson, Melissa Vance and Kathryn Girten.

Young Professional winner Paige Crosset, holding flowers, is seen with JoAnn Spurlock, Crosset’s Blue Buffalo colleague Chris Campbell, and Michelle Malott. Supplied photo

Meanwhile, Crosset is receiving the Young Professional Leadership Award for ages 18-35.

She is the plant technical manager for General Mills/Blue Buffalo in Richmond. Crosset quickly earned this position because of her industry knowledge, extensive education and care for her coworkers. She is the youngest General Mills employee to have attained this title. 

Crosset is actively involved as a mentor within Blue Buffalo as well as Girls Inc. She fosters community collaboration toward events such as International Women’s Day. Crosset serves as president of Betty’s Family, the LGBTQ+ affinity network for the entire General Mills supply chain.

Young professional nominees demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession. They provide valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in their community and serve as personal and professional role models for young women.

Previous recipients include Roxie Deer, Jessie Pilewski, Ashley Sieb and Tai Muldoon.

Girls Inc. of Wayne County staff, board and participants. Supplied photo

This is the third year for the Organization Leadership Award, which will go to Girls Inc. of Wayne County. 

Girls Inc. provides leadership development opportunities through after-school and summer programming and off-site outreach efforts with local schools and organizations. Girl Scouts and Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County are previous winners.

Founded more than 30 years ago, Athena International supports, develops and honors women leaders through the programs it administers. Its flagship awards program has honored more than 7,000 women leaders. 

The ninth local Athena awards presentation is 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 8, in Forest Hills Country Club, 2169 S. 23rd St., Richmond. Reservations may be made at or 765-259-0205 by July 31.

Proceeds benefit local organizations dedicated to leadership building for women of all ages. For more information, including sponsorship opportunities, call 765-259-0209 or email

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A version of this article appeared in the July 3 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.