Skip to content

Chamber News Release

2024 ATHENA International, Young Professional, and Organizational Award Finalists Announced

November 13, 2023

ROCHESTER, NY (November 13, 2023) – Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and its Women’s Council affiliate are excited to announce the finalists for the 2024 ATHENA International Award®, the 2024 ATHENA International Young Professional Award®, and the 2024 ATHENA International Organizational Award®. These internationally-recognized awards will be presented at a ceremony on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. 

Greater Rochester Chamber has been presenting the ATHENA Awards, designed to honor and empower Greater Rochester’s female leaders in business, since 1987. 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 2024 ATHENA International Award finalists in the Greater Rochester, NY area are: 

  • Julie Chapus, Founder/Director, Miss Julie's School of Beauty 
  • Lisa Harris, MD, Senior Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield 
  • Christina Lee, Global Education Coordinator/Board of Education Vice President, Monroe Community College/Brighton Central School District 
  • Lynn Malooly, Executive Director, Water for South Sudan 
  • Kim McCluski, Chair of Board, Golisano Children's Hospital 
  • Denishea Ortiz, Executive Director, Strategic Marketing, Rochester Institute of Technology 
  • Tiffany Owens, Executive Vice President of Programs, Urban League of Rochester 
  • Angelica Perez-Delgado, President & CEO, Ibero-American Action League 
  • Gerianne Puskas, President and Founder, Mission Advancement Group 
  • Cassandra Rich, Special Counsel - Real Estate Group, Barclay Damon 
  • Julie Sadwick, Director of Admissions & EDI (Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion) Special Projects, Simon Business School at University of Rochester 
  • Stephanie Schaeffer, Vice President, Chief Legal & Ethics Officer, and Corp. Secretary, Paychex 
  • Stephanie Seiffert, Partner, Nixon Peabody LLP 
  • Dr. Stephanie Von Bacho, Senior Director, Learning & Development, University of Rochester Medical Center


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 2024 ATHENA International Young Professional Award finalists are: 

  • Elissa Burke, Chief Program Officer, Starbridge 
  • Collene Burns, Vice President of Global Talent, ITX 
  • Lindsay Connelly, Owner, CEO, Linden Digital Marketing 
  • Nicolette Gaesser, Project Manager, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. 
  • Agathi Georgiou-Graham, Owner, President, Arbor Venues + Agathi & Co. 
  • Brie Harrison, Finance Director & Capital Projects Manager, Monroe County Library System & Rochester Public Library 
  • Jazzmyn Ivery-Robinson, Assistant Director for Campus Life: Student Clubs and Organizations, Rochester Institute of Technology 
  • Kristin Merrick, Partner, Faraci Lange LLP 
  • Dr. Tyana Rene Velazquez-Smith, Director of Early Childhood, Rochester Area Community Foundation 
  • Nicole VanGorder, Chief Operating Officer, Rivent Partners 


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 2024 ATHENA International Organizational Award finalists are: 

  • AAC Contracting, LLC 
  • JK Executive Strategies, LLC 
  • Littler Mendelson P.C. 
  • Van Bortel Auto Group 
  • YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County 


Bob Duffy, President & CEO, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, said, “Congratulations to the finalists for the 2024 ATHENA International Awards—you are an inspiration to us all. These outstanding women are advocating for themselves, uplifting others, and inspiring excellence each and every day. We look forward to joining our members, sponsors, and community on Thursday, February 1, 2024, to celebrate their achievements.” 

Dr. Seanelle Hawkins, President, Women’s Council, a Greater Rochester Chamber affiliate, 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." 

For more information about the ATHENA International Awards, please contact Susan George, Events Director, at 

Sponsorship opportunities are available for the ATHENA Awards Celebration in February. To learn more about how you can showcase your brand in front of Greater Rochester’s top women in business, please see here. Event registration is also open; tickets are available for purchase online here 


Scroll To Top