Editor’s note: See the July 3 edition of Western Wayne News for a story and photos from the banquet.

Melissa Vance is the recipient of the 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award® for Wayne County. The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award winner is Ashley Sieb.
Vance and Sieb were presented with the awards during the ATHENA celebration dinner held June 27 at Forest Hills Country Club in Richmond. The event recognizes women leaders who motivate, inspire and create positive change in the community.
Wayne Bank and IU East partnered for the sixth year to bring the ATHENA Leadership Award® to Wayne County.
The ATHENA Leadership Award® is presented to an exemplary leader who has achieved 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. The event recognizes women leaders who motivate, inspire and create positive change in the community. Previous award recipients include Mary Jo Clark, Jackie Carberry, Kim Poinsett, Angie Dickman, and Janice Buhl-Macy.
Vance, of Richmond, Indiana, is the president and CEO of the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce. She has served on numerous community boards including Communities in Schools of Wayne County, the Center City Development Corporation, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Eastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, and Franklin County Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Vance has served on advisory councils for IU East, Earlham College and Purdue Polytechnic Richmond, and participated on committees for Girls Inc., Downtown Business Group, Depot District and Centerville Main Street. She also serves on the Greater Connersville Progress Committee.
The finalists for this year’s ATHENA Leadership Award® included Vance; Rhonda Duning of Richmond, Indiana, a realtor at Coldwell Banker Lingle; and Jennifer Feaster of Richmond, Indiana, the director of Financial Administration for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wayne County.
The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award actively supports and celebrates the ATHENA mission of supporting, developing and honoring women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full potential – creating balance in leadership worldwide. ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Nominees are 18-35 years of age. Nominees are emerging women leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; provide valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in their community; and clearly serve as a role model for young women both personally and professionally. The first ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award recipient was Jessie Pilewski in 2018.
This year’s ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award was received by Sieb of Richmond, Indiana. She is the founder of Ashley Sieb Marketing and she is the marketing strategist and storytelling advocate for Stratavize Consulting. She is a visiting instructor and senior thesis advisor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She is also an instructor for Richmond Social Media and is a member of the board of directors for Birth to Five.
Additionally, Wayne Bank and IU East presented a posthumous award to Stacey Steele. The Elysium Award is a special recognition designated by the selection committee this year. According to Greek mythology, those who led righteous lives or performed great deeds spent their eternal afterlife in the beautiful realm of Elysium.
Steele lived in Richmond. She passed away on December 21, 2018. Steele was the director of the grants and outcomes for the Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County, where she had worked for 20 years.
Local sponsorship is provided by Wayne Bank and Indiana University East. Event proceeds equally benefit the Women’s Fund of Wayne County and Girls, Inc.

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