CWCC crowns the 2022 ATHENA Leadership Award recipient, Lauren Y. Casteel


On Tuesday, December 6th, 2022 the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CWCC) crowned its 24th ATHENA Leadership Award recipient, Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of The Colorado Women’s Foundation.

The award, inspired by the Greek goddess of war known for her strength and wisdom, recognizes Casteel’s professional accomplishments and deep commitment to women and girls.

The atmosphere of the Pinnacle Club in downtown Denver Tuesday was as spectacular as the views from the 38th floor and the vibe in the room matched the energy of the nearly 200 guests and the content of the program.

As one guest put it, “The vibe was classy and real,” as one guest described it. “The audience was diverse and welcoming and the message was fire!”

Additional inspiration came in the form of a keynote address by Sara Blanchard, co-host of the Dear White Women podcast which encourages using privilege and power to address systemic issues of racism and bias in workplace culture. Blanchard was the last speaker of CWCC’s 2022 Powerful Voices Conversation Series, presented by Bank of America.

The 2022 ATHENA Leadership Award presentation highlighted the incredible contributions of Casteel throughout her career. Born as a child of prominent civil rights activists, Casteel dedicated her life and career to building justice programs and creating opportunities for gender, racial, and economic equity.

Casteel was the first person in Colorado to lead three separate foundations: The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Temple Hoyne Buell Foundation, and Hunt Alternatives Fund. She is known for leading innovative and groundbreaking social and economic justice programs. In addition, she meets regularly with emerging female leaders to offer advice, guidance, and lessons she’s learned along her way.

The award presentation was followed by a conversational interview with Casteel and CWCC CEO, Simone D. Ross. When asked about her legacy, Casteel’s answer was simple: The People. She hopes to have been a mentor, sponsor, and accomplice to the next generation of female “leaders in feathers” referencing Ross’ fabulously pink feathered dress.

The CWCC’s work continues to create economic equity and advance women of all identities and lived experiences in work and business. For more information about the organization and to join its inclusive community, visit

Selection of event photos… to see the full collection, CLICK HERE


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