Leaders of Distinction Awards

The Leaders of Distinction Awards, features the McLean County Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Leadership Award and the Pantagraph's Twenty Under Forty and will be held on Wednesday, October 10 at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center and the adjacent Normal Theater. The event will begin with a reception at 6:00 PM in the Marriott Hotel ballroom prior to the awards program in the Normal Theater, which will take place from 7:00 to 8:00 PM


Tickets are $50 

Included in the ticket price is entry into the Pre-Awards Ceremony Cocktail Reception featuring heavy appetizers and a hosted bar, as well as a reserved seat inside the Normal Theater for the Awards Presentations.  

Reserved seating inside the Normal Theater will be in theater rows.  Please send any seating requests to Traci Andracke 


Register to Attend - Click Here 

The deadline to purchase tickets is Wednesday, October 3, 2018. 


About The Awards


The ATHENA Leadership Award recognizes outstanding individuals in our community defined as role models for others to emulate who inspire and encourage the empowerment of women leaders. Presented to a woman or man, this award is presented to someone who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.  Nomination forms for the 22nd Annual Athena Leadership Award are now being accepted - please click here for a nomination form for this award.  


The Twenty Under Forty recognizes young professionals who excel in their career, are passionate about the community and are making a mark in Central Illinois. Nominees must be 39 years of age or younger as of September 1, 2018. You may nominate more than one person, and you may nominate yourself. Nominees must work and live in McLean County.   The deadline for nominations closed on Friday, July 27th.  


New in 2017, the Chamber added a new annual award, Liz Larson Rising Leader Award, in honor of a Chamber friend who passed away in 2017.  This award will be given to someone from the Twenty Under Forty classes who exemplifies similar characteristics to Liz; passionate about McLean County, active in community service and advocacy, all while excelling in their career



For pictures of last year's event click here


If you have any questions regarding the event or sponsorships opportunities, please contact Traci Andracke at 309-829-1183 or traci@mcleancochamber.org

Thanks to our Sponsors!




Previous ATHENA Leadership Award Recipients

2017: Dr. Paige Holt

2016: Linda Healy

2015: Doan Winkel

2014: Cathy Woods

2013: Vicki Tilton

2012: Judy Buchanan

2011: Barb Nathan

2010: Leanna K. Bordner

2009: Pamela Westerdahl

2008: Janet Hood

2007: Gigi Fansler

2006: Kira Hudson-Banks

2005: Diane Lerman

2004: Julie Dobski

2003: Patricia Kaisner

2002: Evelyn Young

2001: Deanna Frautschi

2000: Paula Walsh

1999: Mary Ann Webb

1998: Sonja Reece

1997: Patricia Ann Grogg


Previous Liz Larson Rising Leader Award Recipients

2017: Lauren Hardy

20U40 Class Photos

Class of 2017

Names are listed in alphabetical order and not in order of appearance:


Angela Bargmann

Music Teacher / Director

Chemberly Cummings

State Farm, Town of Normal

Dr. Jessica Bruin

Eastland Lifestyle Center

Class of 2016

Names are listed in alphabetical order by last name and not by order of appearance:

Bianca Abalos – Underwriting Service Assistant for State Farm Insurance

Tim Bassett – Director of Facilities in the Central Illinois Region at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center

Amelia Buragas – Attorney at Kelly

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Class of 2015

Names are listed in alphabetical order by first name and not by order of appearance:

Chris Downing Executive Director of the Heartland Community College Foundation Emily Vigneri Coordinator of Orientation and Transition Services, ISU Erin Williams General
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Class of 2014



Names are listed in alphabetical order by first name and not in order of appearence:

Grant Anderson

Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington-Normal

Phani Aytam

State Farm Insurance Companies

Sarah Franzen

Habitat for

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