Rutherford ATHENA

2021 ATHENA International Award ceremony set for June 2021

RUTHERFORD Cable, founding sponsor of the ATHENA International Leadership Award for Rutherford County, announces the 2021 nominees for this year’s award; 15 area women representing 15 Rutherford County organizations have been nominated, along with 12 young professional women (see page 2 and beyond for a complete listing and bio of each nominee).  The nominees were introduced at RUTHERFORD Cable’s April 13 breakfast meeting.

The community-wide celebration of this year’s nominees is open to the public and will be held Thursday, June 3, at the Embassy Suites Hotel, 1200 Conference Center Boulevard. The luncheon event begins at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $65 per person or $600 for a table of ten. To reserve a seat at the luncheon, please go to to register. 

In addition to honoring the accomplishments and contributions of Rutherford County women, the Rutherford ATHENA Awards also provides a $3,000 educational scholarship to a Rutherford County non-traditional female student who has been out of high school for at least five years. The local program is part of ATHENA International, a nonprofit organization that seeks to support, develop and honor women leaders. Since its founding in 1982, more than 8,000 ATHENA awards have been presented in eight countries. 

“We are excited to introduce the 2021 Rutherford ATHENA nominees as well as our young professional nominees to the community. The ATHENA program showcases the caliber of professional, committed leaders we are fortunate to have here in our community,” said Julie Lewis, 2021 Rutherford ATHENA chair. “These nominees excel in their careers, volunteer and take on leadership roles throughout Rutherford County. They make our community a better place to live, and we are proud to share their stories.”

In addition to founding sponsor RUTHERFORD Cable, the 2021 Rutherford ATHENA Awards are sponsored by:  Pinnacle Financial Partners, First Horizon Bank, Smith Wright Law, PLLC, State Farm, Holloway Accounting Services, Dr. Ellen Slicker, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford, Ascend Federal Credit Union, Deloitte, Locally Owned Murfreesboro, Adams Place, Amazing Lash Studio, Brass Horn Coffee Co, Franklin’s Printworks, Olive Branch Bakery and VIP Murfreesboro Magazine.

“RUTHERFORD Cable is proud once again to present this important program,” said Lori Williams, RUTHERFORD Cable President. “With the growth of Rutherford County, we want to honor leaders who are stepping up to make a difference right here at home. The scholarship component of ATHENA is an investment in our collective future. I especially want to thank all the sponsoring organizations who are visionary and see the value in highlighting exemplary leadership.”

2021 ATHENA Nominees

Meet our 2021 ATHENA and Young Professional Nominees
and learn more about all they do in our community. 


About the ATHENA Award

The ATHENA Award®, named for the strong, enlightened goddess, goes to individuals who excel in their professions, give back to their communities and help develop other leaders, especially women.

ATHENA – Leadership ModelToday, ATHENA International is a global program. Since the program’s inception, more than 7,000 awards have been presented in over 500 communities in the United States, Canada, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

The ATHENA Leadership Model® was developed through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and identifies eight distinct attributes that are reflective of women’s contributions to leadership.

Nominees for the Rutherford ATHENA and Young Professional Awards must live or work in Rutherford County. If the nominee lives outside of Rutherford County, she must work in Rutherford County.

ATHENA International Award Recipients Honored September 16, 2020

Dr. Yuan-ling Chao, American Association of University Women of Murfreesboro
Leslie Anne Collum, League of Women Voters of Murfreesboro/Rutherford County
Kristin Coile Demos, Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation Ambassadors
Judge Lynn England Alexander, MTLAW
Dr. Linda Gilbert, United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties
Cherillyn A. Maddox, Cherillyn A. Maddox
Betsy Maples Taylor, Jones College of Business
Elizabeth McPhee, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated® Pi Nu Omega Chapter
Celeste Middleton, Boys & Girls Clubs of Rutherford County
Dr. Mary T. Moss, Charity Circle of Murfreesboro
Judge Donna Scott Davenport, Junior League of Murfreesboro
Sharon Seibert, Murfreesboro Breakfast Rotary Club
Nancy Skinner, Guaranty Trust Company
Dr. Barbara F Turnage, MTSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women and the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students
Gina W. Urban, RUTHERFORD Cable
Mary M. Wade, Murfreesboro Branch of the NAACP

Nominate an Outstanding Leader Today!

Have questions about nominating a local leader? Join us for a Zoom Conference on Wednesday October 21, 8:30 – 9:30 am

ATHENA Awards Ceremony

When: June 3, 2021
11 am registration
11:30 am Program begins
Virtual option – Virtual guests will watch the event LIVE on YouTube.

Where: Embassy Suites Murfreesboro, 1200 Conference Center Blvd, Murfreesboro, TN  37129  

Diane Cummings Turnham

2020 ATHENA Award Recipient



ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award

The Young Professional Leadership Award recognizes an emerging leader under age 40 who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in her profession, gives back to the community and serves as a role model for young women.

ATHENA Patrons Society

The ATHENA Patrons Society provides an ongoing foundation of sustainability to the Rutherford ATHENA Award Program. Contributions to this annual fund support the Program and its ATHENA Nontraditional Scholarship.

ATHENA Nontraditional Scholarship

The Rutherford ATHENA Award Program bestows a scholarship annually to women who have embodied ATHENA’s characteristics of wisdom, strength, and justice in their own life and endeavors.

ATHENA Leadership Forum


2021 ATHENA Sponsors

For more information about the Rutherford ATHENA Award® Program, please contact Julie Lewis, 2021 ATHENA Chair, at
For more information on the ATHENA International Leadership Award, please visit