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3 businesswomen presented 2023 ATHENA Awards by Phoenix chamber

Photo of Athena Awards winners in Phoenix
From left are Jeri Royce, Melody Lewis and Naquana Borrero, who are winners of the 2023 Athena Awards presented by the Greater Phoenix Chamber earlier this week. (Photo Courtesy of the Greater Phoenix Chamber/DigitalFreePress)
ATHENA Awards bestowed recognize business excellence in Valley of the Sun
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

Officials at the Greater Phoenix Chamber are announcing the private sector, public sector, and young professional award recipients from its 36th annual ATHENA Awards held recently in Phoenix.

Melody Lewis, who is founder of the Indigenous Community Collaborative, was awarded the 2023 ATHENA Award in the private sector.

Jeri Royce, president & CEO of Advance Community, earned the 2023 ATHENA Award in the public sector.

Naquana Borrero, principal at the Bella Vita Consulting Group, took home the 2023 ATHENA Young Professional Award.

“The Greater Phoenix Chamber’s ATHENA Awards celebrates the most inspiring women leaders in the Valley,” said Todd Sanders, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber, in prepared statement. “These influential women are dedicated to building a brighter future and ensuring our community remains strong. They embody the best of the Arizona business community, and we look forward to seeing how they will carry the legacy of ATHENA through their work.”

ATHENA Awards bestowed recognize business excellence in Valley of the Sun

The ATHENA Awards, an internationally prized honor through ATHENA International, recognizes women across the Valley for achievements in leadership, community service, and mentoring.

“The biggest thing for me is representation. I am the first Native American from my community to win this award,” Ms. Lewis, 2023 ATHENA private sector recipient, said. “To be here to represent my people and Indigenous people overall. This award means to me, ‘Hey she did it, I can do it too.’ So representation is the most meaningful and impactful to me right now.”

Ms. Lewis, chamber representatives tell the Arizona Digital Free Press, is a passionate community advocate and a trailblazing entrepreneur, wholly committed to the resurgence of Indigenous communities and the amplification of Indigenous voices. At the heart of her mission is the Indigenous Community Collaborative, an organization she spearheads.

Ms. Royce is amid a career spanning over three decades whereas she has made significant contributions to both profit and nonprofit organizations, locally, nationally, and internationally. She holds the esteemed position of president & CEO at Advance Community, making history as the first female to assume this role in the organization’s half-century history.

“It’s amazing! Such an honor to be among such incredibly talented women, and I am grateful for every minute of it. I am grateful to the Chamber and all of the sponsors,” she said following receiving her award.

Ms. Borrero is a seasoned nonprofit executive and fundraiser, contributing her expertise to Jazz in Arizona/The Nash.

As a member of the organization’s executive team and chief fundraiser, Ms. Naquana leads all philanthropic fund development and communications efforts, both for the performance venue and the educational programs at Southwest’s premier jazz venue. She also owns a consulting firm specializing in fund development and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the nonprofit and political realms.

“I am feeling grateful, overwhelmed, and excited,” Ms. Borrero said. “This platform will help not only me but a lot of other organizations that I represent. I am excited for all of us to have this platform. I am also very excited to be the first black woman to win this award in this category, and that’s something that means a lot to me.”

Ms. Lewis, Ms. Royce, and Ms. Borrero were chosen from among 11 ATHENA finalists selected from a large group of nominees.

The following is a complete list of the 2023 ATHENA finalists:

Private Sector finalists:

Ginger Clayton, CEO, Elontec

Melody Lewis, owner & founder, Indigenous Community Collaborative

Jen Scrivner, chief operating officer, Goodmans

Kristen Shroyer, co-founder & chief impact officer, ONEHOPE

Public Sector finalists:

Tara Jackson, president, Arizona Town Hall

Jeri Royce, president & CEO, Advance Community

Lorraine Tallman, founder & CEO, Amanda Hope Rainbow Angels

Dawn Trapp, CEO, Civitan Foundation, Inc.

Young Professional finalists:

Ashlee Atkins, diversity manager, ASU Enterprise Partners

Heather Vana, senior director of external communications, Avnet

Naquana Borrero, CFRE; director of development and communications Jazz in Arizona/The Nash & owner, Bella Vita Consulting Group

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