Lisa Scales of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Photo by Brian Cohen.

The Homeric hymns of ancient Greece describe Athena as “the glorious goddess, bright-eyed, inventive, unbending of heart, savior of cities.”

Today, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development honored local women leaders with their annual Athena Awards. The awards, which have been a tradition since the early ’90s, honor Pittsburgh goddesses who lead in their own fields while also mentoring the next generation of woman leaders.

This year’s Athena Award winner is Lisa Scales of the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Toni Murphy of Comcast received The Young Professional Award for women under 35.

“Women leaders are making a difference in Pittsburgh every day, and our 2018 recipients — and all of the award nominees — deserve recognition for their contributions, professional and personal,” says Allegheny Conference CFO Janel Skelley. They are positively impacting the lives of many people in our region while helping other women, in particular, reach their full potential.”

Lisa Scales. Courtesy of the Athena Awards.

Scales has led the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank since 2012. In that time, the organization has distributed 23 million meals annually via a network of 400 partner agencies in 11 counties across Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Scales was lauded for her expertise and creativity in the delivery of fresh produce where it’s needed most; innovative partnerships with the medical community to address health and wellness issues, and the use of technology to measure performance.

Outside of work, Scales serves as a mentor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Johnson Institute for Responsible Leadership.

Toni Murphy. Courtesy of the Athena Awards.

Toni Murphy has served as the vice president of Comcast Business since June of 2017. In her post, she manages a team of 160 employees, which is in turn responsible for 100,000 customers spread across four states.

She was hailed as being a force in shaping cultural transformation at Comcast where she led the creation of the Keystone Region’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and acts as executive champion for its Black Employee Network.

In addition, Murphy makes to time to serve as development committee chair and regional board member for Strong Women, Strong Girls Pittsburgh.

The staff of NEXT can also attest that she is a discussion moderator par excellence.

Bill O'Toole was a full-time reporter for NEXTpittsburgh until October, 2019. He previously reported in Myanmar.