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Leading Waco Women

About Leading Waco Women

Leading Waco Women was created to celebrate, empower and develop women leaders in the Waco community with professional development opportunities through half-day conferences, keynote speakers, panel discussions and networking. The Greater Waco Chamber kicked off the Leading Waco Women Summit Series in November 2018 with the presentation of the inaugural ATHENA Leadership award. Leading Waco Women is a three-part series focused on the three components of leadership: serving, empowering and mentoring.

About the ATHENA Leadership Award

The ATHENA Leadership award is presented to leaders across professional sectors. Its rich history, international scope and mentorship distinguish it as one of the most prestigious leadership awards one can receive. The ATHENA Leadership award celebrates women who achieve excellence in their professions, serve the community in a meaningful way, and help other women reach their full potential. The ATHENA Leadership award celebrates exemplary leadership and is reflective of a quote by Plato: "What is honored in a country will be cultivated there." Over 7,000 Recipients have been honored with the ATHENA Leadership award since the program’s inception in 1982. Each summer the Waco Chamber will accept nominations from the community and present the ATHENA Leadership award each year at the Leading Waco Women Serving Summit held in November. For more information about the nomination process, please see below.

Learn more about ATHENA Leadership Award

Leading Waco Women is a three-part summit series. For more information on each summit, please go to our Calendar of Events.

The Leading Waco Women Serving Summit was on Nov. 7, 2019, at the Phoenix Ballroom where we heard from the four finalists in a panel discussion before announcing the 2019 ATHENA Leadership award recipient, RoseMary Mayes. Dr. Linda Livingstone also joined us as the keynote speaker.

Make plans to join us again as the 2019-2020 summit series continues on Feb. 13, 2020, at the Ridgewood Country Club with the Empowering Summit. Guests will hear from a panel of local women about empowerment in their professional and personal lives. Purchase your tickets now. 

We will conclude the series on Apr. 16, 2020, at the Carleen Bright Arboretum Pavilion with the Mentoring Summit where we will participate in a day of workshop-style professional development centered around mentoring and leadership. Purchase your tickets today.


Congratulations to our Four Finalists for the 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award!


Dr. Soo Battle, Medical Advisor, Advocacy Center for Crime Victims & Children
Deborah McGregor, Chief Executive Officer, Care Net Pregnancy of Central Texas
Rachel Woods, J.D., President, Leadership Trek Corporation
RoseMary Mayes, President, RM Mayes LLC

Congratulations to Each of our 2019 Nominees!

Kristina Baucom | Carrie Kuehl | Kim Mulkey | Wendy Gragg | Andrea J. Barefield | Deidra Emerson | Esmeralda Hudson | Betty Willis | Leslie Murphy King | Jessica Attas | Sheronda Pruitt-Jones | Nancy McEachern | Charlene Tierce | Emily Mills | Kenyouna Ridge | Ann Harder | Lindsay Liepman | Amie Kelly | Kim Patterson | Dr. Jeanie Johnson | Maria Reed | Cara M. Chase | Autumn Outlaw | Sonya Wilson | Erin Davis | Vicki Menard | Aura Swital | Mackie Bonner | Maria Y. Berry | Ashley Allison | Ashley Weaver | Catherine Bauer | Joyce Brammer

Nomination Information

Each summer, nominations will open for potential candidates. After the Waco Chamber has received the nominations, an independent selection committee comprised of community leaders will select an individual to receive the ATHENA Leadership Award at the Leading Waco Women Serving Summit. The selection committee scores solely on the information provided by the nominator. The top four nominees will be announced as our finalists, but the ATHENA Leadership award recipient will not be announced until the Serving Summit in November.

Nomination Requirements:

ATHENA Leadership award nominees must meet each of the following three criteria:

  • Demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession
  • Provide valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in their community
  • Actively assist women in achieving their full leadership potential

Nominee Qualifications:

  • ATHENA Leadership award Nominees may represent either the profit or not-for-profit sector.
  • Previous ATHENA Leadership award Recipients are not eligible for nomination, however, past nominees may be nominated again.
  • There is no minimum or maximum age qualification that must be met by ATHENA Leadership award Nominees.

2019 Nominations are closed.

Questions regarding the nomination process, please contact Brittany Knight at 254-757-5605.


For questions contact Amanda Haygood at 254-757-5611.

Thank you to our presenting sponsor: