Women’s Council names ATHENA Award recipient

Women’s Council names ATHENA Award recipient

Dixon Schwabl Advertising Founder and Chairman Lauren Dixon was named the 2021 ATHENA International Award winner on Thursday.

The ATHENA Organizational Award recipient was Brockport Research Institute and its President and CEO Sara Silverstone. This year’s ATHENA Young Professional was Cicely Strickland-Ruiz, chief operating officer of the United Way of Greater Rochester Inc.

Lauren Dixon
Lauren Dixon

After a start in television, Dixon launched her own business in a male-dominated field, which would go on to become one of the largest firms in the Rochester region. Dixon Schwabl has been one of the Top 25 Small Companies to Work for in America for 15 consecutive years, and ranked one of the Top 20 on the Ad Age list and the Top 20 on the PR News list for five years.

Dixon’s name is synonymous with board, volunteer and philanthropic efforts, but on Thursday she thanked her family, particularly her husband, Mike Schwabl, who was the ultimate partner when she was building her company. Dixon and Schwabl celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary on the day of the event.

The ATHENA Awards are held annually by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce Inc. and its Women’s Council affiliate. The award is given to a professional female leader who has demonstrated significant achievements in business, community service and the professional advancement of women.

The 35th annual ceremony was broadcast live from the Joseph A. Floreano Rochester Riverside Convention Center, where dozens of women and organizational finalists were honored for their successes and asked to say a few words about their paths and advice for the future.

Rochester’s nominees and award recipients spoke of lifting each other up and often quoted the likes of Susan B. Anthony and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.

“I’d like to speak to the nominees for this award. You exemplify the highest level of professional excellence. You give back to your community and you open up leadership opportunities for others, especially for women. For these and all the other impactful things you do in your community, you inspire others to achieve their full potential” said ATHENA International Founder Martha Mayhood Mertz in a video played during the event.

Since 1982, more than 6,700 top leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. By honoring exceptional leaders, the ATHENA Award Program seeks to inspire others to achieve excellence in their professional and personal lives.

Past local recipients of the ATHENA Award include Heidi Macpherson of the College at Brockport; Hilda Rosario-Escher, formerly of Ibero-American Action League; Elaine Spaull of the Center for Youth; and Sharon Napier, CEO of Partners + Napier.

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