Eight nominated for ATHENA Award

Rosemary Conder considers herself to be in excellent company.

She’s one of eight local women nominated for the 22nd ATHENA Award, which will be presented at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at the Owensboro Convention Center.

Conder has her fingers crossed — but not for herself.

As it turns out, Conder nominated another candidate who she feels deserves to win.

The ATHENA Award celebrates people who empower women and strive to make their communities better places to live. Girls Inc. and the Chamber partner each year on the award and luncheon.

Conder, the executive director of CASA of Ohio Valley, usually attends the annual luncheon because the speakers inspire her.

“Each time I hear the bio of the winners, I am so amazed at their abilities to share their gifts and talents and to lift up the women and young girls around them. That makes our community stronger,” she said.

Regardless of who wins, being nominated is an honor, Conder said. “It’s being recognized by your peers and your coworkers to say together you can make a tremendous difference in the lives of people around you.”

Other nominees this year are Belinda Blair, Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Kentucky; Heather Cavitt, Owensboro Public Schools; Judy Dixon, retired from OPS; Joan Hayden, Hayden Electric and Hayden Farms; Dr. Elizabeth Ottman, Women’s Healthcare Partners; Alma Randolph, Alma Randolph Charitable Foundation; and Pam Smith-Wright, Owensboro City Commission.

In addition to announcing the new ATHENA Award winner at Thursday’s luncheon, Girls Inc. officials will honor someone posthumously with the Legacy Award, which recognizes someone for her work in advancing women.

Each year, Girls Inc. asks local residents to nominate people for the ATHENA Award. A panel of judges from outside the area selects the winner.

Randolph was humbled to be nominated this year.

“It’s a tremendous honor,” she said.

Randolph said she has had moments in which she questioned whether she is worthy of the nomination because her foundation, which has clothed more than 15,500 children and improved several homes for low-income families, is not a one-person organization. Instead, its success depends on an army of hard-working board members, volunteers, donors and corporate partners.

For that reason, she feels the Alma Randolph Charitable Foundation is less about her and more about “a community that supports the mission of the foundation.”

She has attended several ATHENA Award luncheons in the past. They always are inspirational, she said.

“It plants seeds,” Randolph said. “When you hear the stories of the other nominees and knowing the work they do in the community, it helps stir a passion to do more.”

Renee Beasley Jones, Messenger-Inquirer