Leaders of Distinction Awards


About The 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 at the Marriott Hotel & Conference Center on Wednesday, October 25 at 5:30pm.


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.


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 October 1, 2017. 


A very special presentation will be made to a recipient in honor of a Chamber friend who passed away earlier this year. A new award in Liz Larson’s honor will be presented 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. The recipient of this new Liz Larson Rising Leader Award will be announced and presented for the first time at this event by her friends and family at the reception.   


If you have any questions regarding the event or sponsorship contact Traci Andracke at 309-829-1183.


Thanks to our Sponsors!


Congratulations to the 2017 "Twenty Under Forty" Class! 

Nominee Name Workplace
Angela Bargmann Music Teacher / Director
Chemberly Cummings State Farm, Town of Normal
Dr. Jessica Bruin Eastland Lifestyle Center LLC
Jennifer Carrillo YWCA
Jeremy Kelley State Farm
Jessica Jackson Childrens Home + Aid
Josh Remington Illinois State University Athletics
Justin Bellas Bellas Landscaping
Katie Grojean Advocate BroMenn Health & Fitness Center
Lauren Hardy Easterseals Central Illinois
Marc Poirier Abbey Placements LLC
Mike Pohlman Palace Events
Mitch Stebel Busey Bank
Molly Dietmeier BEER NUTS® Brand Snacks
Raymond Ceresa Double Tree-Hilton Bloomington-The Snyder Companies
Seth Carter State Farm
Seth Couillard Couillard & Company Real Estate Solutions-Keller Williams
Stephanie Duquenne Illinois State University
Timothy Kirk Henson Disposal & Recycyling
Wendy Secord Cancer Center



Congratulations to the 2017 ATHENA Leadership Award nominees!

Dr. Paige Holt
Plastic Surgeon
Twin City Plastic Surgery and
Creator of beFORtheAFTERproject

Roxanne Hartrich
RE/MAX Choice and
Owner of Kara's Kloset
Pamela Reece
Deputy City Manager
Town of Normal


Previous ATHENA Leadership Award Recipients

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


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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