On March 14, 2013 ATHENAPowerlink held their most recent graduation and reception in Winter Park, Florida, taking place at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. Guests attended to celebrate and honor three women who have successfully completed the 12 month program ATHENA offers: Denise Imbesi of Muscle Mixes Music; Jennifer Dickerson of EnRep Inc; and Kimberly Lawton Koon of Lawton Printers join as the newest alumni. This brings the number of graduates to 22.
ATHENAPowerlink, a non-profit program of ATHENA International, is “an organization dedicated to creating leadership opportunities for women.” During the 12 months, a female business owner is paired with a hand-picked advisory panel, at no charge, to help elevate their already established business. The panel assists the initial year with various types of business related strategizing, which includes but is not limited to helping with the formulation of a business plan, marketing development, and serving as a sounding board, for ideas a business owner may have.
Ultimately, the advisory panel assists with bringing the owner’s vision forward while using their professional expertise to offer insight on getting there. When speaking to the crowd on behalf of her peers, Imbesi shared her interpretation by saying, “These professionals shake things up and look at your business with another set of eyes.”
Dickerson stated in reference to her panel, “They took my business to the next level.” She went on to say, “They’ve been there, they’ve done it, they know what you might run up against.”
In regards to how a business owner may be paired with a panel member, current mentor Susan Vernon-Devlin, who is the Director of Public Relations for Massey Communications in Orlando, explains, “We look at what their business is looking to gain. We’re not judgmental, we listen, and we volunteer because we want to see their success.”
Many of the ladies find the first year is just the beginning of advice, guidance, and they often form a bond. Dickerson shared the support she has felt “is the greatest feeling.” One in fact she would love to pass on from the other side as a mentor. “I hope to be on a panel someday,” Dickerson stated.
The deadline to apply for the next class is March 31, 2013. To learn more about this please visit: ATHENAPowerlink