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Chamber News Release

2023 ATHENA International, Young Professional, and Organizational Award Finalists Announced

November 7, 2022

ROCHESTER, NY (November 7, 2022) –– Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its Women’s Council affiliate announce the finalists chosen for the ATHENA International Award®, the ATHENA International Young Professional Award®, and the ATHENA International Organizational Award®.


Greater Rochester Chamber and the Women’s Council plan to present the internationally recognized awards, which honor and empower women in business, at the 37th annual ATHENA Awards in-person celebration on February 2, 2023. The ATHENA International Award is given annually to a professional female leader who has demonstrated significant achievements in business, community service, and the professional advancement of women.


The 2023 ATHENA International Award finalists are:


  • Carmen Allen, President/Executive Director, Beyond the Sanctuary
  • Kirsten Allen Reader, Director of Enrollment and Financial Aid, The Harley School
  • Michelle Cain, Partner, Mengel Metzger Barr & Co.
  • Jeanne Casares, President and CEO, NYSERNet Research & Education Network Provider
  • Chetna Chandrakala, Chief Financial Officer, Thundermist Health Center
  • Christina Gullo, President and Chief Executive Officer, Villa of Hope
  • Connie Marple, Founder/Owner, Women of Color New York
  • Kelly McCormick-Sullivan, President, Rochester Regional Health Foundations
  • Mary Ognibene, Partner, McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, PC
  • Evelyn Parker, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer, Stride K12
  • Jodie Ryan, Partner, McElroy Deutsch Law Firm
  • Gretchen Wood, Vice President, Institutional Advancement and Executive Director, MCC Foundation, Monroe Community College (MCC)


The ATHENA International Young Professional Award recognizes emerging female leaders in the 30- to 45-year-old range who demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession and serve as a role model for young women both personally and professionally.


The 2023 ATHENA International Young Professional Award finalists are:


  • Twylla Dillion, Executive Director, HealthConnect One
  • Maiah Johnson Dunn, Beverage Education Manager, New York Kitchen
  • Jeiri Flores, Advocacy Specialist; Co-Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities
  • Melissa Gardner, Executive Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
  • Kristy Gonzalez, CEO/Founder, IntegrateXpress LLC
  • Jennifer Aronson Jovcevski, Corporate Attorney and Creator/Host of She Talks Law podcast, Nixon Peabody LLP
  • Jessica Kruse, Project Manager/Architect, LaBella Associates
  • Lesley Niebel, Attorney, Faraci Lange Attorneys
  • CaTyra Polland, Founder/CEO, Love for Words
  • Randi Nicole Proukou, Founding Partner, Zea Proukou PLLC
  • Yversha Roman, Director of CASH (Creating Assets, Savings & Hope), Empire Justice Center/CASH
  • Natalie Sinisgalli-Kettavong, Founder & CEO, NSP Studio and Embolden


The ATHENA International Organizational Award goes to a woman-owned or woman-led business or organization that creates a culture encouraging women employees to achieve their full leadership potential and supports leadership development opportunities for women and girls in the community.


The 2023 ATHENA International Organizational Award finalists are:


  • Baldwin Richardson Foods
  • Littler Mendelson P.C.
  • New York Kitchen
  • Nocon & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC


Women's Council President Kate Pellett said, "The Women's Council is thrilled to recognize this exceptional group of female leaders and women-led organizations. Their contributions have a profound impact on their colleagues, mentees, organizations and the community. We are so grateful for their commitment to our region and for forging a path for the next generation of women leaders. On behalf of the Women's Council board, sincere congratulations to all our finalists."


Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Bob Duffy said, "Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and our Women’s Council affiliate are excited to recognize the outstanding women in our community who advocate for themselves and others and inspire us all to achieve excellence in our professional careers. The importance of the work these individuals are doing in our community cannot be overstated. We look forward to joining our members, sponsors, community, and finalists in February 2023. Congratulations to all!”


For more information on the ATHENA International Awards, contact Greater Rochester Chamber Events Director Susan George at


To explore sponsorship opportunities for the ATHENA Awards celebration in February, please click here. For more information and event registration details, please click here.


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