The Greater Phoenix Chamber announced the 2023 Athena private sector, public sector, and young professional award recipients at its 36th Annual Athena Awards.
Melody Lewis, Indigenous Community Collaborative owner and founder, was awarded the 2023 Athena Award in the private sector. Jeri Royce, Advance Community president and CEO, earned the 2023 Athena Award in the public sector. Naquana Borrero, CFRE; Director of Development and Communications Jazz in Arizona/The Nash and owner, 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,” Todd Sanders, Greater Phoenix Chamber president and CEO, shared in a press release. “These influential women are dedicated to building a brighter future and ensuring our community remains strong.”
The Athena Awards, an 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,” Lewis stated. “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.”
Lewis stands as a community advocate and Indigenous entrepreneur 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 through which she engages in consultations with various entities, propelling initiatives centered around workforce development, economic growth, diversity, inclusion, and education, all while nurturing the unique cultural identity of Indigenous communities.
Over three decades Royce has made significant contributions to both profit and nonprofit organizations, locally, nationally, and internationally. As president and CEO at Advance Community, she made history as the first female to assume this role in the organization's half-century history.
“Such an honor to be among such incredibly talented women, and I am grateful for every minute of it,” Royce stated.
Naquana Borrero, CFRE, is a seasoned nonprofit executive and fundraiser, currently contributing her expertise to Jazz in Arizona/The Nash. As a member of the organization's executive team and chief fundraiser, Borrero 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 in the nonprofit and political realms.
“I am feeling grateful, overwhelmed, and excited,” Borrero, stated. “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.”
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