Rutherford ATHENA

2022 Rutherford Athena awards now seeking nominees

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.

Today, 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.

2021 Rutherford athena award presented to patti James

Lori Cutler (2021 ATHENA Co-Chair), Patti James, Meagan, Flippin, Julie Lewis (2021 ATHENA Chair)

The 2021 Rutherford Athena Award was presented to Patti James at a luncheon held June 3 at Embassy Suites.
“As a leader, coach, and mentor, James inspired fierce advocacy with her collaborative style in business and the community,” said Julie Lewis, 2021 Rutherford ATHENA chair. “Patti represents the heart of Athena with her years lifting other women who were also working in male-dominated industries.”
The ATHENA Award recognizes an individual who excels in her profession, gives back to the community, and helps raise up other leaders, especially women. 
“I’m the daughter of a preacher and a teacher. For those of you who grew up in families like that, you know it was a life of service,” said James, who was nominated by 100 Women Who Care of Rutherford County.
James’s life of service began more than three decades ago. Throughout her successful career with three global corporations, James led successful strategies for human resources. Her career began with Shell Oil, then with Schlumberger, before joining Bridgestone Americas from 1992-2013. After her years in the automotive industry, James led Leadership Middle Tennessee and now operates PB&J Consulting which focuses on career coaching and development. 
James holds a bachelor’s degree and MBA from Ohio State University and a master’s degree in Civic Leadership from Lipscomb University. She is active in the community and mentors in various programs throughout the country.
“Madeleine Albright has a saying ‘there’s a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.’ From here, I can see that Rutherford County has a great future for the next generation of women,” James said.
James was honored along with the 2021 Athena class: Kenya Adams, Dr. Gloria Bonner, Lee Anne Carmack, Terri Deal, Beth Goodner, Cynthia Harris, April Holland, Kara Kemp, Andrea Loughry, LaTonya Martin, Dr. Lucy Matthews, Jody Powers, Jolene Radnoti and Deborah Thompson.
Rutherford Athena also presented two scholarships, one for $3,000 to Amanda Hawk, an MTSU student who is studying criminal justice and one $1,500 scholarship to Allison Sordelet, a Motlow State Community College student, who is completing her general education for later completion of a bachelor’s of nursing at Austin Peay State University.

Meagan Flippin is the 2021 ATHENA Young Professional recipient

The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award recipient is Meagan Flippin, president and CEO of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties.

Like the ATHENA Award, the Young Professional Leadership Award recognizes an emerging leader under 40 years old who exemplifies the ATHENA attributes and serves as a role model for young women.

“I’m honored to be nominated among so many individuals who embody the Athena principles … I want to thank you for letting me be a part of this community. It’s been my pleasure to give back,” Flippin said.

Flippin is the immediate past president of RUTHERFORD Cable and a past president of the Junior League of Murfreesboro, Murfreesboro Young Professionals, and the Blue Raider Athletic Association. She is active with the Murfreesboro Noon Rotary, Charity Circle of Murfreesboro, and Leadership Middle Tennessee. Flippin serves on United Way’s state association board and the Alpha Delta Pi Foundation Philanthropy Committee. She earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a master’s degree in strategic leadership from MTSU and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. Flippin was joined by 2021 ATHENA Young Professional nominees Courtney Chavez, Katie Schroder Hall, Jamie Morgan Harrington, Aleece McKnight, Dr. Adelle Monteblanco, Tosha Price, Francela Salas, Alicia Stachura, Tiffany Taylor, Essence Threlkeld and Loren Walker.

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

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

Have questions about nominating a local leader? Contact 2022 ATHENA Chair, Lori Cutler:

ATHENA Awards Ceremony

When: April 29, 2022
11 am registration
11:30 am Program begins

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

2021 ATHENA Award Recipient

Patricia Brown James

2021 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 Lori Cutler, 2022 ATHENA Chair, at
For more information on the ATHENA International Leadership Award, please visit