Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Moran-Townsend, Vojtkofsky receive ATHENA Awards at luncheon

For the first time, The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce honored two nominees with awards at The ATHENA Awards luncheon on March 23.

The ATHENA Leadership Award went to Marilyn Moran-Townsend, chairman and CEO of CVC Communications.

"Her diverse contributions and accomplishments are just a few examples of why she is a worthy ATHENA recipient," said Mike Landram, president and CEO of the Chamber. "Marilyn is an example of mentorship in all areas personal and professional. Her gifts to the community are priceless and too numerous to list, embodying the essence of the ATHENA award."

Moran-Townsend has provided executive speech coaching for community leaders such as Olympic Greco-Roman Gold Medalist Rulon Garder, a former Disney executive, a mayor, and more.

In 2001, Moran-Townsend was named Indiana Business Leader of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.

Moran-Townsend is the vice chair of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce Foundation, chair of the Better Business Bureau Foundation, secretary to the board of directors for Parkview Hospital, and a member of the board of directors for the History Center.

The new award is The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, which was given to Tonya Vojtkofsky, co-founder of the Fort Wayne Derby Girls.

"The community has sincerely benefited from Tonya's efforts through the Derby Girls in the past seven years," Landram said. "She consistently gives of her time, talent, and resources to ensure young women are encouraged, empowered and educated in ways that allow them to avoid peer pressure. Tonya is a true emerging leader in our community and one we're proud to honor."

Vojtkofsky also founded the Fort Wayne Derby Brats in January 2009, a junior flat track roller derby league for girls 9-17, teaching young girls the fundamentals of playing in a team sport along with empowerment, courage to avoid peer pressure and acceptance of peers from all social backgrounds.

The Fort Wayne Derby Girls, now celebrating its sixth season, have donated more than $55,000 to local organizations which support women and children.

In 2009, Vojtkofsky was nominated for the nationally recognized "Break Thru Woman" with CNN's Robin Meade and last year was a nominee for The ATHENA Award.

Also awarded today were The 2011 ATHENA Scholarships, which honor young women who have excelled in their academic career while demonstrating leadership potential and a commitment to their community.

This year's scholarship recipients are Thet Mar of North Side High School and Brittany Mihalec-Adkins of Northrup High School. Each student received a $1,000 scholarship.

The ATHENA Scholarship was founded with a generous contribution from Dr. Michelle Helfgott of Northeast OB/GYN. Dr. Helfgott presented the scholarships to this year's recipients at the luncheon.

Sponsors of this year's ATHENA Award ceremony include Business People, Media 401, WANE-TV, Burt Blee Dixon Sutton & Bloom, Farmers Insurance Group, Fort Wayne Metals, Frontier Communications, Harrison College, Indiana Michigan Power, Prairie Quest Consulting, Raytheon, 3 Rivers Federal Credit Union, Tower Bank and Vera Bradley.

This year's luncheon was held at The Diamond Room at Ceruti's Summit Park on Innovation Boulevard.

ATHENA recipients must meet each of three specific criteria. They must:
  • Assist women in reaching their full leadership potential.
  • Demonstrate excellence, creativity, and initiative in their business or profession.
  • Provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.
The ATHENA Award program, celebrated internationally, recognizes individuals for professional excellence, for providing valuable service to their community and for assisting women in their attainment of professional goals and leadership skills. Established in 1982, the program boasts more than 500 active communities in the United States, Canada, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom. More than 6,000 individuals have received the ATHENA Award.

The Greater Fort Wayne Chamber of Commerce is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving its membership of nearly 1,700 Northeast Indiana businesses. The Chamber serves as a catalyst for economic growth in Northeast Indiana by providing relevant business resources for our members and facilitating strategic connections across business, education, and government.

As the recognized voice of commerce in our region, we leverage our influence to advocate a pro-business agenda at the local, state and federal levels while serving as a government watchdog to keep our members informed of policy changes that will impact their businesses. By working in partnership with regional stakeholders, we will align the development efforts of our community to drive progress and promote economic vitality for Northeast Indiana.

For more information, contact Jon Swerens, director of communications at The Chamber, at or (260) 424.1435 ext 257.

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