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Elizabeth Shabaker ATHENA Award(PHOENIX) – The Greater Phoenix Chamber announced the 11 women chosen as finalists for its prestigious ATHENA Awards, continuing its strong tradition of recognizing outstanding Valley businesswomen.

The ATHENA Businesswoman of the Year Award recognizes a woman in the public and private sectors, in addition to highlighting an upcoming leader in the Valley as an ATHENA Young Professional.  ATHENA finalists are chosen for their excellence in business and leadership, dedication to the community, and support and mentorship of other women.

The 11 finalists are:

Private Sector finalists:

Cindy Dach, CEO Changing Hands Bookstore, Co-Founder MADE art boutique and Roosevelt Row CDC

Sarika Desai, DO, CEO & physician, Arizona Heart 360

Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier, Partner, Snell & Wilmer, LLP

Elizabeth Shabaker, CEO, Versant Capital Management


Public Sector finalists:

Sherri Collins, Executive Director, Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing

Marchelle Franklin, Human Services Director, City of Phoenix

Angela Johnson, Co-founder, Arizona Apparel Foundation/FABRIC

Lisa Scarpinato, CEO, Kitchen on the Street


Young Professional finalists:

Yassamin Ansari, Policy Advisor, Climate Action Summit Team, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations

Reyna Montoya, CEO & founder, Aliento

Jennifer Yee, Attorney, Snell & Wilmer, LLP

“We are proud of the incredible group of ATHENA finalists this year. These women are making tremendous contributions to our business community, and to the Greater Phoenix region. They represent the best of the best, and their leadership contributes to making the Valley a great place to live and do business,” said Todd Sanders, President & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber. “Congratulations to all of our 2019 ATHENA Awards finalists.”

The ATHENA Awards highlight women who have achieved the pinnacle of success within their industry, have mentored women throughout their career, and have dedicated their time to their community and making a difference in the lives of others.

Join the Greater Phoenix Chamber to celebrate outstanding businesswomen in our community and to support all nominees, finalists and recipients past and present.

WHO: Three ATHENA Award recipients will be announced during the 32nd Annual ATHENA Awards luncheon.

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 | 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

WHERE: JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge | 5350 E. Marriott Drive | Phoenix, AZ 85054

REGISTER: Register here | Registration closes on Friday, Nov. 8 at 5 p.m.

QUESTIONS: Email events@phoenixchamber.com or call 602.495.2182 for any questions.


Finalist reactions:

“I am so honored to have been selected as an ATHENA finalist. Working to address the climate crisis can be emotionally draining work, but I am lucky to have incredible female mentors and colleagues who inspire me every day to keep pushing. This is why I deeply value the mission of the ATHENA Awards. I am humbled to be part of such an impressive, powerful group of women leaders in Phoenix, and I look forward to supporting and empowering many more women to reach their full potential.” –Yassamin Ansari, Executive Office of the Secretary-General, United Nations

It is a true honor to be considered as a finalist for the ATHENA Award. I know several women who are past ATHENA recipients, and to be categorized as a finalist alongside them feels incredibly rewarding already. Women empowering women as leaders right here in our own community is an inspiring notion that promotes compassion and inspiration for us all every day, and especially for our Deaf and Hard of Hearing community that we personally serve. Congratulations to all of the finalists that I get to stand beside this year. –Sherri Collins, Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing

“It is an incredible honor to be named an ATHENA finalist.  I am in awe and humbled by all the nominated leaders and finalist.  These women work tirelessly every day, and they are an inspiration.  Many extraordinary people, both young and old, have influenced and guided me along the way.  This is a tribute to their generosity.  As we thoughtfully care for our community and place, I will embrace this honor and continue to evolve, continue to grow and always ask how I do more and be better.” –Cindy Dach, Changing Hands Bookstore

“As we uplift each other, both men and women, we all will rise and be active participants in making our Phoenix community great. As an ATHENA finalist, I feel especially blessed and energized to continue carrying the torch of bravery and resilience among women to stand up for what is right despite any negativity that may come our way. These are the principles of a true ATHENA and I am honored.”

–Sarika Desai, DO, Arizona Heart 360

“Knowing that the Athena in Greek mythology represents a woman of wisdom, courage, inspiration, strength and strategy, I am so very humbled to be an ATHENA finalist in the public sector category.  I share this honor with my family, friends and colleagues who have molded me into the woman I am today.” –Marchelle Franklin, City of Phoenix

“I’m so proud to be included in this group of esteemed women. Just being nominated among these goddesses has been such an honor. Now, as a finalist, I am humbled and so grateful for this opportunity to further serve my community and impact the lives and careers of future Athenas.” –Angela Johnson, Arizona Apparel Foundation/FABRIC

“Humbling. Overwhelming. Honored. Simply, words alone cannot convey the feeling of being selected an ATHENA finalist. The Phoenix business community boasts some of the most impressive, accomplished and courageous women in the country. I have been fortunate to have had multiple committed and wise mentors over the years blaze the trail for me and others. I am inspired to continue to pay it forward in the spirit of upholding the ATHENA tradition.” Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier, Snell & Wilmer, LLP

“I am honored to be an ATHENA finalist among so many outstanding women, and I thank the Greater Phoenix Chamber for this powerful voice in our community. What I love about the ATHENA platform is that it’s a dynamic springboard for women to experience leadership opportunities through mentoring and other support systems. Robust mentoring is central to ATHENA’s mission, and is not only key to professional development, but proactively addresses the unique challenges that inevitably occur throughout women’s careers. Moreover, mentoring supports women, making us feel engaged, heard, productive, and overall emboldened. And emboldened women can change the world.” –Elizabeth M. Shabaker, Versant Capital Management

“My family moved to Phoenix when I was 4 years old; growing up in The Valley instilled in me a love for this city and this community.  I am completely humbled to be considered among the likes of the incredible women nominated for this year’s ATHENA award.” –Lisa Scarpinato, Kitchen on the Street

“I am honored to be selected as an ATHENA finalist. I look forward to getting to know the remarkable women affiliated with ATHENA who similarly strive to uphold the three pillars of ATHENA: leadership, mentorship, and community service.” –Jennifer Yee, Snell & Wilmer, LLP


The Chamber congratulates all of the 2019 ATHENA Nominees:

Private Sector Nominees

Jennifer Anderson, Wells Fargo

Beate Assmuth-Ong, Mane Attraction Salon

Carol Colombo, AlertGPS

Cindy Dach, Changing Hands Bookstore, MADE Art Boutique

Sarika Desai, Arizona Heart 360

Catharine Ellingsen, Republic Services, Inc.

Andrea Tyler Evans, Frontdoors Media

Danielle Feroleto, Small Giants

Kristiana Fox, Think Outside the Box, LLC

Caroline Lobo, suoLL architects

Jodi Low, U & Improved

Erin Mahoney, International Sports Science Association

Carol May, Wisdom Natural Brands

Vicki Mayo, The Touchpoint Solution

Marti McCurdy, Spirit Electronics

Heidi McNeil Staudenmaier, Snell & Wilmer LLP

Christina Noble, Sonora Quest Laboratories/Laboratory Sciences of Arizona

Abigail Olaya, Olaya Events & Company

Peggi Peaslee, Valor Global

Julie Rake, AZ Integrative Medicine and Spa

Gail Ricketts, ON Semiconductor

Kathleen Schnier, University of Phoenix

Jen Scrivner, Goodmans Interior Structures.

Elizabeth Shabaker, Versant Capital Management, INC.

Rebecca Stenholm, EPCOR USA

Lisa Stevens Anderson, Equality Health

Eileen Sullivan, Sullivan Law Firm, P.C.

Patti Tellez Olds, Kuniklo Corporation

Bernadette Thies, Valor Global

Ruth Urban, On the Money, LLC

Genevieve Vega, Slalom

Alexi Venneri, Digital Air Strike

Barbara Whye, Intel Corporation


Public Sector Nominees

Lisa A. Atkins, Arizona State Land Department

Ashley Camhi, Arizona Sustainability Alliance

Peggy Chase, Terros Health

Sherri Collins, Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing

Carrie Collins-Fadell, Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona

Lin Sue Cooney, Hospice of the Valley

Nicole Cundiff, Colleen’s Dream Foundation

Lauren Daniels, Happily Ever After League

Sybil Francis, Center for the Future of Arizona

Marchelle F. Franklin, City of Phoenix

Kris Gaw, Maricopa Integrated Health System

Dawn Hocking, The Centers for Habilitation

Deborah Hutterer, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Angela Johnson, FABRIC/AZ Apparel Foundation

Cheryl Lombard, Valley Partnership

Kristen Merrifield, Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits

T. Regina Nixon, Phoenix Conservatory of Music

Jennifer Rauhouse, Peer Solutions

Maria Reyes, Phoenix College

Naketa Ross, ResilientMe

Vanessa Ruiz, Arizona State University

Lisa Scarpinato, Kitchen on the Street

Laura Shivers, Back 2 School Bounty

Torrie A. Taj, Child Crisis Arizona

Nicolee Thompson, Harvest Compassion Centers

Maria Valenzuela, Esperança

Teresa Welborn, Maricopa County Department of Transportation


Young Professional Nominees

Yassamin Ansari, United Nations

Nicole Buratovich, Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Marina Carpenter, Arizona Coyotes

Jessica Estrada, Grant Thornton LLP

Lisa Fernandez, City of Phoenix, Office of Mayor Kate Gallego

Jill Foley, Four Leaf Financial & Accounting, PLLC

Liz Illg, Puff & Fluff Grooming & Pet Sitting

Dr. Auriane Koster, Pierce Energy Planning

Trisha Larson, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Nicole LaSlavic, Arizona Association of REALTORS

Alissa McDowell, Axon Enterprise, Inc.

Dr. Tasha Menaker, Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence

Elizabeth Montgomery, The Arizona Republic

Reyna Montoya, Aliento

Amanda Muir, Vanguard

Sophie O’Keefe – Zelman, OH Strategic Communications

Stephanie Parra, Arizona Education Association

Jaclyn Pederson, Feeding Matters

Kate Vawter, Arizona State University

Amber Wesson, Point B

Kimberlee White, Jabz Franchising

Jennifer Yee, Snell & Wilmer, LLP

Chelsea Young, So Scottsdale Magazine


About the Greater Phoenix Chamber

Representing 2,400 businesses across the Greater Phoenix region, the Greater Phoenix Chamber promotes regional prosperity by serving as a catalyst for economic vitality and strong communities. The Chamber pursues this mission by collaborating with business, political and community leaders to grow the regional talent pool, create a regional approach to economic development and drive a pro-Arizona agenda.

About the ATHENA Award

The ATHENA Awards, an internationally prized honor, recognizes the achievement of businesswomen across the Greater Phoenix region. ATHENAs are challenged across industries to continue their dedication to leading, serving and mentoring. The award highlights three women every year who are at the top of their field and who invest in their career, their community and especially other women. ATHENAs demonstrate inspiring leadership within their industry, mentor women throughout their career and dedicate themselves to the community.

About the ATHENA Young Professional Award

ATHENA International established an award to honor emerging young leaders in our community. The ATHENA Young Professional Award officially launched at the 2007 International ATHENA Leadership Conference and Phoenix was proud to be one of the first cities to present it within their community. These are the “women to watch.”

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About Versant Capital Management, Inc.

Versant Capital Management, Inc. provides customized wealth management services for high-net-worth clients, including individuals, families and their related entities, trusts, corporate pension and profit-sharing plans, closely held businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and other tax-exempt entities, with a focus on multi-generation and next-generation education. For more information or to view the firm’s disclosures, visit versantcm.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]