The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is committed to promoting the advancement of women within our region, and recognizing them for their personal and professional successes and is pleased to honor SuEllen Fried and Susan Leonard in accordance with that mission.
The ATHENA Leadership Awards are granted to women who have displayed exemplary leadership across professional sectors, given their time and talent to the community, and who actively assist women in their attainment of professional excellence.
Founded nearly 30 years ago, ATHENA International women’s leadership organization has paid tribute to more than 6000 women. The Chamber has honored local leaders including Mamie Hughes, Susan Stanton, and Kathleen Sebelius since it began hosting the program in 2001.
“The KC Chamber recognizes how important women are in the leadership and foundation of Kansas City businesses, and strongly supports the ATHENA philosophy. Recognizing extraordinary women like SuEllen and Susan highlights the long-standing tradition of outstanding leadership women have had and will continue to have in Kansas City,” says Jim Heeter, president and chief executive officer of the KC Chamber.
SuEllen Fried, 2013 Kansas City ATHENA Leadership Award recipient and founder of BullySafeUSA, is recognized for her numerous accomplishments include advocacy for women and children in abusive relationships. She’s a creator of dance therapy and a Charter Member of the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA), giving people a therapeutic outlet through the arts. She’s been recognized by President George H.W. Bush for her 30 years of volunteerism with the Kansas Department of Corrections and contributions to Reaching Out From Within (ROFW), which has shown positive reductions in the rates of recidivism. In 1970 she became the first woman president of the Kansas Mental Health Association (KMHA). In 1976 she was asked to orchestrate a Model Chapter for the group, now known as Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA). The success of the Kansas model prompted her to become Chairman of PCAA in 1980 and she continues to serve as a Life Board member. She has authored or co-authored four books on child and peer abuse and bullying. She founded BullySafeUSA in 2002 and was invited to participate in 2011’s White House Conference on Bullying Prevention.
ATHENA also recognizes emerging female leaders. The 2013 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership award goes to Susan Leonard, Ph.D. The Pembroke Hill School middle school principal has proven success at educating students, elevating teachers, and collaborating with parents. After four years at The Pembroke Hill School and previously more than a decade spent with North Kansas City Schools, Leonard has established herself as an advocate for education and children’s causes. Leonard is a graduate of the KC Chamber’s Centurions Leadership Program, a donor and educator for lung cancer and juvenile diabetes research, a steering committee member for the Kansas City Area education Research Consortium, and a coach of several youth sports teams.
ATHENA International is nationally underwritten by KPMG. Local sponsorship is provided by KPMG LLP in Kansas City, led by Office Managing Partner, Brad Sprong. Burns & McDonnell is also a presenting sponsor.
“KPMG is pleased to honor SuEllen and Susan, two of the many exceptional women in our community,” says Sprong. “By honoring their contributions, hopefully we inspire others to aspire for the same level of excellence.”
“These awards match Burns & McDonnell’s efforts to showcase a diverse workforce. Susan and SuEllen’s efforts make our community a better place and give women, no matter what stage of their career, a strong example which to emulate,” says Greg Graves, president and CEO of Burns & McDonnell.
ATHENA Award honorees are chosen by a selection committee made up of a diverse group of business and community leaders.
The recipients of Kansas City’s 13th annual awards will be celebrated at a private reception in October.