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Ontario County ATHENA leadership awards celebrate 2023 honorees

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  • Staff Report 

The Ontario County ATHENA Leadership Program recognized the achievements of local women leaders at an event held at Hotel Canandaigua on November 8th. Eleven nominees, seven professional and four young professional women, were celebrated in front of an audience of three hundred guests. The event, which began in Canandaigua in 1985, is organized by the Ontario County Chamber of Commerce and supports the Professional Women of the Finger Lakes through silent auction proceeds.

This year’s nominees spanned a diverse range of sectors and roles, reflecting generations of professional excellence and leadership. The nominees were celebrated for exemplifying the eight tenets of the ATHENA Leadership model, which includes continuous learning, collaboration, fostering relationships, advocacy, authenticity, community service, courageous acts, and celebration of success.

Elisha Everson, Operations Manager for Simco HR, was presented with the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award for her contributions to the community, including her leadership roles within the Kiwanis Club of Canandaigua. The evening’s highest honor, the ATHENA Women’s Leadership Award, was bestowed upon Kristen Harter, Event Coordinator for Nolan’s on Canandaigua Lake and Canandaigua Country Club. Harter was recognized for her innovative response during the COVID-19 pandemic, creating a take-out program that sustained her team’s employment and supported essential workers in the community.

The event highlighted the ongoing dedication of local leaders and the 38-year history of the ATHENA Leadership Program in the community. More information about the honorees and the program can be found at, with a recap of the event to be available on Finger Lakes Television.