Women leaders in spotlight as Athena approaches

Published Tuesday, 4th March 2014
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Rotherham Athena Awards

The countdown has begun to this year’s Rotherham Athena Awards – a celebration of women from all walks of life, in leadership roles around the borough.

Since it was launched in 2005, scores of Rotherham women have become Athena Honourees, having been nominated for the award. Nominations for the 2014 award are now officially open.

Recipient of last year’s award was inspirational Council library officer Alnaar Clayton, who works closely with women from potentially isolated communities. She collected her award at a ceremony attended by 11 other local Honourees.

Alnaar’s nomination outlined how she had been inspiring a love of reading in women from potentially isolated communities – many of whom have very limited use of English – for more than a decade. She was recognised for her work in providing a relevant library service to these so-called “hard to reach” women and for placing herself in situations where she could talk to individuals, and then ensuring their signposting into other experiences and activities to increase their self-confidence and engagement.

The Rotherham Athena Award is affiliated to the US-based Athena International Programme, established in 1982, and which aims to secure a balance in leadership worldwide by "acknowledging and honouring those quiet leaders, mostly women, whose efforts are adding immensely to the fabric of their communities, while they remain unacknowledged and not visible as leaders."

The Council again holds the licence for the 2014 award, on behalf of Rotherham’s Local Strategic Partnership, which brings together local decision-makers from the council, health services, police, colleges, voluntary and community groups, with the business and private sector. The award will be presented at a ceremony next month.

This year’s Rotherham Athena judging panel comprises Councillor Rose McNeely, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Safe and Attractive Neighbourhoods; Alison Iliff, of the Council’s Public Health team; Janet Wheatley, Chief Executive of Voluntary Action Rotherham; Swallownest businesswoman Lisa Pogson, representing Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber’s Women in Business Network, and Rotherham Partnership Manager Carole Haywood.

Other previous recipients include Gillian Banks of the Gillian Banks Theatre School in Maltby; Carol Bowser; of the award-winning Winthrop Park; children’s author Victoria Bown-Copley; senior bank executive Sue Pearce; Janet Lister, who runs her own engineering company and is a former member of the Athena International Board; Jackie Freeborn, Chief Executive of Business and Education in South Yorkshire, and Chief Inspector Caroline Rollitt, of South Yorkshire Police.

Make a nomination