ATHENA – The Mythology, the Magic and the History

In ancient Greek Mythology, the goddess Athena ranked as one of the most powerful of the 12 Olympian gods. Known for her wisdom, strength, strategy, female arts, crafts, justice, and skill; she was worshiped in many cities. Rulers sought her wisdom in both government and military matters and commoners thought her to be so powerful and protective that they even named a city after her.

While Greek mythology is an extensive body of old legends and narratives concerning gods, heroes, and the nature of the world, they continue functioning as powerful allegories in modern day society.  There certainly aren’t gods, goddesses, and mythical creatures walking around in contemporary society, but there are still those who serve as leaders, activists, role models, and sources of inspiration. Parallel to the gods and goddesses in Greek Mythology, they are the few-and-far between with the will to overcome barriers, work diligently, and make the most profound influences on others.

According to the ATHENA International website, ATHENA International was founded in 1982 by Martha Mayhood Mertz.  Since its inception, women leaders in more than 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, Unite Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. To date, over 6,000 award recipients have been recognized.

The CWCC continues the ATHENA spirit by honoring a Denver woman who best exemplifies:  exceptional professional achievement, devotion to community service and generosity in actively assisting other women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.  This year that woman is Mimi Roberson, President and CEO of Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center. Mimi is in great company and follows a long line of amazing Denver women starting with Elaine Demery, former State Director of the Colorado Women’s Business Office, who was awarded the first ATHENA presented in Denver in 1997.

Plato said, “What’s honored in a country will be cultivated there.”  The recognition and celebration of one woman’s achievements uplifts and inspires us all and continues to remind us of how far we’ve come as individuals, as women and as a society.

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