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The goddess of Greek mythology, known for her strength, courage, wisdom, and enlightenment, was the inspiration for the Athena Leadership Award presented to two area women at different events. The award is given annually by chambers of commerce, women's organizations, and universities to honor women for professional excellence, creativity, initiative, community service, and promotion of women as community leaders.
Marianne Ballas, president of Ballas Buick GMC, was honored with the Athena award sponsored by Davis College during the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce annual lunch meeting presented by Medical Mutual Jan. 31 at the Premier Banquet Facility.
Shirlee Bostdorff, an advocate for the agriculture industry, was honored during the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce annual meeting Jan. 26 at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union on the Bowling Green State University campus. It was the 28th annual presentation of the award by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce.
The BG Chamber also has a Zeus award for a man who provides community support, demonstrates excellence, creativity, and initiative in his profession, and encourages women to reach their potential as community leaders. Michael Sibbersen, Wood County auditor, is the 2013 Zeus award winner.
Also honored during the dinner were Al Green of A.A. Green Realty, Inc., with the Male Outstanding Citizen of the Year award and Jodi Anderson of Bowling Green High School with the Female Outstanding Citizen of the Year award.
Project chairman Sandy Milligan was assisted by committee members Doris Herringshaw, Greg Kegler, Dean King, Sondra King, Jackie Metz, Ron Newlove, Veronica Ramos, Bruce Stevens, Ann Stott, and Cathy Newlove Wenig.
The Toledo Fair Housing Center, a nonprofit civil rights agency started in 1975 by the Women of the Old West End and the League of Women Voters, hosted a reception at Georgio's International Cafe for its retiring president and CEO Katherine Lawson Broka and new president and CEO Michael Marsh, who started the next day, Feb. 1.
After a national search, the board found the new head within its system and the vote was unanimous for Mr. Marsh, who is a certified fund-raising executive and served as the agency's vice president and in development and public relations until his promotion. Mr. Marsh has more than 16 years of fair housing experience and nonprofit management.
But this night was fun as well, with community leaders stopping by, including Toledo Mayor Mike Bell. Special guests were Shanna Smith and Lisa Rice, both Toledo natives. Ms. Smith is the founding president and CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance and was the first president and CEO of the Toledo Fair Housing. Ms. Rice, vice president of the National Fair Housing Alliance, was the second president and CEO of Toledo Fair Housing. She started as an intern at Toledo Fair Housing at the age of 15 through the Upward Bound program and continued there during summer and holiday breaks while getting her degree at BGSU.
Also seen was Linda Furney, former board member; and board members including Lupe Siewert and Marshall Rose, board president.