Getting to know 2011 ATHENA Recipient: Mimi Roberson

Roberson upon accepting the ATHENA award at the April 28 gala:  “What an honor—recognition by not only peers, but by women peers.  I think it’s an extraordinary event of my life, and one I’ll treasure forever, thank you.” For over a decade, The Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce has presented a prestigious honor, the ATHENA award, to a Denver woman who not only exemplifies the characteristics of the goddess Athena, but who serves as a dynamic role model in the business world, has a devotion to community services, and generously assists other women in their attainment of excellence and leadership.

In previous years, esteemed professionals such as Paula Herzmark of the Denver Health Foundation, Caz Matthew of Wellpoint/Anthem, Sister Alicia Cuarón, Director of Bienstar Family Services at Centro San Juan Diego, among others, have won the ATHENA award.

This year, the CWCC presented the ATHENA award to Mimi Roberson, President and CEO of Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children at P/SL. While there are a vast number of driven, influential women in the Denver business world, Roberson’s culmination of accomplishments and contribution in many arenas is what sets her apart.

Her list of achievements include: two careers, one in law, she earned her Juris Doctorate from Louisiana State University, and one in health care administration; two governor appointments, one to the Provider Fee Oversight and Advisory Board in 2009 and one in 2002 to the Colorado Workforce Development Council; community awards such as the Denver Business Journal’s Champions in Healthcare Award in 2009, the Southeast Business Partnership for vision and dedication in leading the entire Metro Denver Region, the Top50 Healthcare Leader’s from Becker’s Hospital review in 2010, and she was also a finalist for Colorado Business Person of the Year by The Denver Post.  She has also held leadership positions in local, state and federal organizations and served on numerous boards of philanthropic organizations, foundations and associations.

Roberson approaches her position as CEO with a high degree of equanimity. In an interview conducted by Denver Woman Magazine, she says:

“This is seen as a powerful job, but power is not the allure for me. I don’t see myself as powerful. There’s got to be someone in charge, and I just happen to be that person. My challenge is to not become the power, but to help others use their own power to succeed. When I go home, it’s not about power, it’s about being a good wife, a good mother, and enjoying life.”

It is not only career accomplishment that makes Roberson the embodiment of ATHENA.  Another major element is having assisted other women along the way.  “Any time someone confides in me that they need help, that, in and of itself, is reason to do it, states Roberson in the May 2011 ColoradoBiz ATHENA award article. “The goal is to help them.  That’s what philanthropy is about.  You always answer.”

Roberson exemplifies all of the ATHENA characteristics that make this award unique and meaningful. In presenting the ATHENA, we honor these characteristics in all women. As Roberson eloquently stated in her acceptance speech, “This award is not for me but for everyone who is here.  I celebrate other women; know that with hard work and passion you can achieve what you want.”

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