There are lots of award ceremonies in Pittsburgh–with lots of deserving people to be awarded–but there’s nothing quite like the ATHENA Awards of Greater Pittsburgh. Nominated by others in the community with finalists selected by a committee, the Athena Awards are bestowed every fall at a luncheon attended by a gazillion women–ok, make that 800-plus–in a ceremony that is always inspiring. And that’s the point: To encourage more women to excel in their profession, contribute to their community and to help other women through mentorship.

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2015 ATHENA Pittsburgh 2015 nominees. Photo by Brian Cohen.

NEXTpittsburgh is happy to be part of the ATHENA Awards and to present these wonderful group photos of nominees and finalists. Getting all these busy, successful women in one room at one time wasn’t easy. Every time our (very patient) photographer clicked his shutter, it seemed to be a cue for another nominee to walk in the room, apologizing for being late.

Hey, we’re just grateful they showed up.

See the ATHENA Award finalists in the top photo,including Doris Carson Williams, African American Chamber of Commerce of Western PA, Lynn M. Banaszak, Disruptive Health Technology Institute, Carnegie Mellon University,  Rhonda Moore Johnson, Highmark Inc., Lisa Lenihan, United States District Court for the Western District of PA, and Lucille Prater-Holliday, Black Women’s Empowerment Institute.

See below all the ATHENA Award nominees, including the Young Professional ATHENAs.

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2015 ATHENA Award and ATHENA Young Professional Award nominees. Photo by Brian Cohen

And finally, below the 2015 ATHENA Young Professional Award finalists: Aurora Sharrard of the Green Building Alliance, Josie Badger, PEAL Center and Meredith Grelli of Wigle Whiskey.

2015 ATHENA Young Professional Award (AYPA) Finalists (L to R): Aurora Sharrard, Josie Badger and Meredith Meyer Grelli

2015 ATHENA Young Professional Award (AYPA) Finalists (L to R): Aurora Sharrard, Josie Badger and Meredith Meyer Grelli

Here’s the full list of 2015 ATHENA Award nominees. See you on October 9th! Get your tickets here before it sells out.

2015 Nominees

Shirley Anderson

Beauty Mark, Inc.

Barbara Baker

The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

Dotti Bechtol

Fragasso Financial Advisors

Marsha Blanco


Lori Brinker

Merrill Lynch

Tracy Certo


Rosemary Crawford

Crawford McDonald, LLC

Tracy DeCock

PNC Bank

Deborah Degner

Noble Energy

Kim Dellostretto

Allegheny Health Network

Ilana Diamond

Innovation Works

Susan Dietrich

Sterling Office Professionals

Lisa DiGorio Miller

Lisa DiGorio School of Dance

Pat Downey

Chatham University

Karen Wolk Feinstein

Jewish Healthcare Foundation

Melissa Ferraro

Sisters Place, Inc.

Jennifer Fox Rabold

FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.

Mamar Gelaye


Tisha Germany

KBK Enterprises

Abby Goldstein

91.3 WYEP

Denise Graves

Covenant Church of Pittsburgh / Oakland Service Ministries

Karen Hochberg

Pittsburgh Area Jewish Committee

Susan Jordan

Fox Rothschild LLP

Eva Kerschbaumer

ESSpa Kozmetika and eDRY

Debra Killmeyer

Community College of Allegheny County

Darcel R. Madkins

PNC Financial Services

Wendy Maletta

NFM Group

Jill McKibbin

McKibbin Consulting

Melissa McNeil

University of Pittsburgh & UPMC

Natalie Mihalek

Natalie Mihalek Attorney At Law

Arlinda M. Moriarty

Moriarty Consultants

Chris Phillips

PNC Bank

Mary Jo Podgurski

Academy for Adolescent Health/Teen Outreach

Betty Rich


Aisha Robinson

Pittsburgh Public Schools

Elisabet Rodriguez

Elisabet Rodriguez & Associates

Casey Ryan

Reed Smith LLP

Fern Schwartz

Merrill Lynch/The Schwartz Group

Dana Ann Slizik

Caye for Judge Committee

Tracy Vitale

Seneca Valley School district

Michelle Welch

PPG Industries

Olga Welch

School of Education, Duquesne University

Dr. Claudia Wendel


Jillian Zacks

Metz Lewis Brodman Must O’Keefe LLC

And finally, the full list of Young Professional ATHENA nominees:

Young Professional Award Finalists

Started in 2011, the ATHENA Young Professional Award recognizes an emerging leader age 35 or younger.

Josie Badger

PEAL Center

Meredith Meyer Grelli

Wigle Whiskey

Aurora Sharrard

Green Building Alliance

 2015 Nominees

Erin Baker

PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.

Stacie Bara

Club Cycle

Nina Barbuto

Assemble Pittsburgh

Diana Bellini

BNY Mellon

Wendy Berrill, P.E.

Michael Baker International

Lisa Boyette


Jackie Celender

K&L Gates LLC

Kelly Collier

ActivAided Orthotics

Julie Cramer

NanoVision Diagnostics

Krystle Grandy

Freelance Production

Stephanie Hannan


Laura Harshberger

PPG Industries

Blayre Holmes

The Women and Girls Foundation

BreAnna Kirkland

Clarion Center for the Arts

Suzie Lachut

Eat’n Park Hospitality Group

Emily Markham

World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh

Alichia Parker

A Par Educational, LLC

Danielle Parson


Lee Anne Pontis

Woodlands Foundation

Lindsay Scarpo

Greensburg Salem School District

Jessica Schmid

Braddock Youth Project

Victoria Snyder

Robert Morris University

Elizabeth Uhler

K&L Gates LLP

Sarah Wagner

Vira I. Heinz Program for Women in Global Leadership

V. Fawn Walker-Montgomery

Macedonia FACE