April 4, 2019 | Bettendorf, IA | Quad Cities Waterfront Convention Center

Athena + Male Champion of Change Awards Luncheon & Program

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Bank of America

2019 Presenting Sponsor

Congratulations Athena and Male Champion of Change Honorees

ATHENA Finalists

Nancy Ballenger

Dr. Kit Evans Ford

Janet Sichterman

Heidi Storl

Gwen Tombergs 

Male Champion of Change Finalists

Paul Rumler

Dan Portes

Jay Justin

Andrea Conner headshot.jpg

Andrea Conner, President

ATHENA International

2019 Keynote Speaker

Andrea Conner is a change agent and strategic relationship builder. Through her success in global leadership roles spanning four countries, she promotes corporate social responsibility, leadership development, and gender equity.

As President of ATHENA International, Andrea leads the organization in its mission to support, develop and honor women leaders. In doing so, she brings an international approach and global awareness of the challenges facing women’s educational and equal opportunity advancement.

A servant to the global community, Andrea serves on the Board of the Sias International University Foundation that supports a private post-secondary school in rural China, and is a Governing Body Board Member for the Raleigh Chapter of the US National Committee for UN Women. She is a consultant for the World Academy for the Future of Women and previously worked on assignment for United Nations Women-Beijing.  

Andrea holds a master’s degree in Global Leadership from Duquesne University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from Edinboro University. Currently residing in North Carolina, Andrea advocates fiercely for issues important to the advancement of the world’s women and global citizenship.

Additional Information

11:30 p.m.

Registration and Networking

12:00 p.m.


12:30 p.m.

Presentation by Athena International CEO, Andrea Conner

1:00 p.m.

ATHENA and Male Champion of Change Awards

2:00 p.m.

VIP Reception with Award Recipients

What is an ATHENA Award?

The prestigious ATHENA Leadership Awards honors individual who demonstrate excellence creativity and initiative in their business or profession, who provides valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and who actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential. The ATHENA Award is a coveted honor and opportunity to recognize our peers who do so much to make the Quad Cities such a great place to work and live. 

At the first Quad Cities ATHENA Awards in 2006, there were two driving forces: the desire to recognize outstanding leaders in the region; and, the belief in raising up and honoring today’s women leaders who encourage others to reach for the stars. 

The mission of ATHENA International is to support, develop and honor women leaders, to inspire women to achieve their full potential, and to create a balance in leadership worldwide. Since 1982, more than 6,000 ATHENA Awards and Global ATHENA Leadership Awards have been presented by ATHENA International in more than 500 communities in the U.S., Canada, Russia, china, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.


In 2014, the First Male Champion of Change Awards was created for the simple fact that more decent, powerful men needed to be recognized for stepping up beside women in building a gender equal community. Gender equality is an issue of international economic and social importance and for far too long women alone have led the way advocating for and achieving hard-won improvements when so many men hold the power and influence to help advance this work. This starts with those male leaders who are willing to step up, work together, listen, learn and lead with action. By honoring these men, we hope to encourage others to take notice of their leadership and the positive impact gender diversity has had in their organizations.


Nominations are sought from the community, and must meet and excel in the following four areas:

  • Be a leader in her business or profession
  • Be a role model/mentor to other women in not only her profession but her community
  • Display creativity and innovation and contribute these talents to the growth of her profession
  • Contribute time and energy to community betterment 

All nominees go through a selection process and then five (5) finalist are chosen, who are tasked with writing an essay to be used in the final selection process of the ATHENA Recipient. The integrity of the entire nomination and selection process is taken very seriously as we hold up the talented women in the Quad Cities with ATHENA’s from all around the world.

Male Champion of Change Awards - CLOSED

Nominations are sought from the community, and must meet and excel in the following areas:

  • Exhibit exceptional commitment to the acceleration of women in leadership
  • Utilizes his influence, talents, and abilities to enhance gender diversity

All nominees go through a selection process and then five (5) finalist are chosen, who are tasked with writing an essay to be used in the final selection process of the MALE CHAMPION OF CHANGE Recipient.


"I attended the 2018 ATHENA and Male Champion of Change awards program. First of all, the room was strikingly beautiful and the dinner was great. But, the most amazing thing was just being in a room full of so many local leaders among women and men of the Quad Cities, hearing their stories, and learning about all of the great work being done in our area. The keynote address was more than inspiring. I hope to attend this event in future years!"

-Lisa Killinger, Palmer College (2018 ATHENA Honoree)

"Women Lead Change has become the organization that showcases the talented ATHENA’s that our Quad Cities has always had…but, now our ATHENA’s are getting the proper recognition for the amazing leadership, skill and talent they give back to our community 24/7/365."

-John Anderson, President/CEO-Quad City Bank & Trust

"I would like to thank Women Lead Change for the platform they provided to host the Male Champion of Change and the ATHENA Awards banquet. The event was even more than I had anticipated with a perfect venue and an outstanding program. I think I can speak for not only myself but everyone who joined us that evening in saying how inspirational the event was. Thank you again and truly looking forward to next year's event."

-LuAnn Haydon, 2018 ATHENA Leadership Award Recipient

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