FRAMINGHAM – On International Women’s Day, the United Way of Tri-County hosted the 2018 Athena Luncheon to recognize 14 finalists and announce the two
winners of the 2018 ATHENA Leadership Award ® .
The winners were Nishita Roy-Pope, from Dell EMC Global Centers of Excellence, and Susanne Morreale Leeber, President and CEO of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Roy-Pope is a Ssenior consultant at Dell EMC. She is on the board of directors for Girls, Inc. and advocates to further the mission to inspire all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Her goal is to empower the next generation of women leaders in STEM fields.
She also helps women and girls by creating opportunities through her employer and is the founder and program manager of an externship program, established in 2014, and has already assisted more than 25 high school students with training, mentorship and real-world experiences.
She volunteered her time at a local high school during their Women STEM Day and facilitated a workshop for students on how to position themselves for a job in STEM by demonstrating key skills and experiences.
Last year at her job, she led a global team to host local events focused on women’s advancement and leadership across 20 sites in 7 countries for International Women’s Day 2017.
Morreale-Leeber has been committed to supporting the growth of women business leaders. She has elevated the importance of girls and women in business and civic engagement both locally and nationally. She has volunteered her time and mentored other women in the community by establishing professional development work series and mentoring female students through school and business partnership programs and student scholarship programs.
Her leadership style is one that brings women together to learn from each other and empowers them to grow professionally. She has helped and touched many women over the years by providing them with business advice, trouble-shooting challenging situations, referring new clients, and introducing them to other women in the community. She has established a growing network of women that share best practices and supports the education and mentoring of female students through initiatives like the school and business partnerships program and student scholarship program. She has been successful in growing her organization to over 500 business members and is always eager to help women advance their careers.
“Our 2018 ATHENA finalists and recipients represent a great group of women who have volunteered their time and have played a significant role in the development and advancement of girls and women in the local communities,” said Paul Mina, President and CEO of the Framingham-based United Way of Tri-County, in a media release.
The ATHENA Awards, named after the Greek goddess of courage and wisdom, is a program of ATHENA International, which is dedicated to creating leadership opportunities for women.
“It was an honor to be in a room filled with inspirational women who are dedicated to improving the quality of lives of local girls and women in the community. Nishita and Susanne have volunteered a vast amount of time outside of their work and personal obligations to help empower girls and women to have a voice and make a difference,” said Sandhya Malur of FM Approvals and Chair of the Women United group, in a press statement.
Marcy Reed, Chief of Business Operations, Engineering and Process at National Grid was the event keynote speaker. She oversees U.S. Gas and Electric Process & Engineering as well as the Customer Group. She joined National Grid in 1988 and has held various positions including most recently the President of the
Massachusetts business as well as positions in finance, merger integration, and corporate affairs. She spent three years in London as the head of Investor Relations for National Grid. She is also the global executive sponsor for National Grid’s Women in Networks employee affinity group.
She spoke to the group about working in a male-dominated industry and the obstacles she had to overcome. She spoke about her perseverance and drive, which helped her rise to the top.
The 2018 Athena luncheon was possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of BOSE Corporation, FM Global, National Grid, Align Credit Union, Framingham State University, American Girl, Spavia, and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.
Nominations are now being accepted now for the 2019 award at www.uwotc.org/athena.
The 2018 Athena Award finalists were:
Susanne Morreale Leeber
Kristen Wildman Shirahama
Cheryl Tully Stoll
Women United is a group of like-minded women who contribute their personal passions, inspired ideas, and unique strengths to the mission of improving the quality of life for women and girls in the MetroWest/495 corridor through volunteerism and philanthropic giving.
Photos courtesy of the United Way of Tri-County