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unstoppable women

During my childhood, I remember watching actors win Oscars during the Academy Awards. The next day, they would inevitably be interviewed and would mention how they could not remember their acceptance speech. I can clearly remember thinking: well, look who's acting now!

I would officially like to apologize to all those Oscar recipients for my childhood self thinking you were full of it. I understand now...

On Wednesday, November 9th, 2022, I was seated in a ballroom full of community members supporting and recognizing leaders who support and empower women to become even greater leaders. I was fortunate enough to be counted amongst a group of phenomenal women.

In the moment before *the* moment, I can remember clearly thinking. That's it. That's all. I can remember in the moment before... I. could. think. Clearly think.

Suddenly, the presenter read my name and everything inside my skull began to buzz, a dull roar between my ears I was uncertain would end. Every nerve ending lit from within, adrenaline coursing thru my veins erupting in a maelstrom of synapses simultaneously firing in my mind...

I was the 2022 recipient of the ATHENA Leadership Award!


This mother,




and Gigi....


I am being handed a beautiful sculpture which I immediately fear dropping and the buzzing in my ears is sounding like a hive ready to swarm. I know there is a microphone nearby and I know there are people to thank... when suddenly, I am leaving the stage!

What did I say?! My thoughts turn to those interviews from my childhood and I understand.... and I pray I said everything I wanted to say and thanked everyone I wanted to thank.

Thankfully, a dear friend recorded my acceptance speech and I have been able to watch it. I am beyond grateful to have those recorded memories to buoy my emotional ones. When I close my eyes, my memories are from watching the video - and yet, when I hit a mental re-play, the emotions that wash over me are freshly overwhelming and wonderfully surreal.

It has been a humbling, wonderful, astonishing, rewarding week! I have been blessed with congratulatory emails, texts, social media messaging, phone calls, floral deliveries, hugs, hollers, and cheers from more than 300 different people in the first 72 hours. WOW! and thank you! Thank you, everyone! I am trying to respond to you all!!

I promise to continue being worthy of my ATHENA; to continue empowering women until they become #empowerful; and to keep living by the Eight Principles of Enlightened Leadership of the ATHENA Leadership Model:


ATHENA leaders continually seek to understand and develop themselves.


ATHENA leaders embrace and encourage others.


ATHENA leaders live out their convictions.


ATHENA leaders contribute to their communities and memorialize shared experiences.

“When you know your power, when you know your worth, and you know you are worthy – you are unstoppable. When you make sure a woman knows she is powerful, that [she] knows her worth, and knows that she is worthy – she is unstoppable, too. Here’s to unstoppable women!” ~H. Martell

unstoppable it is...


PS: a fun fact I also learned this week... the same company that creates the ATHENA sculpture also creates the Oscar. Speechless speeches while accepting either are the norm!

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* to the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce and ATHENA International for their recognizing of brilliant leaders teaching and leading the way for women in our communities

* to my phenomenal fellow finalists - keep going! Know your power! Know your worth! Know you are worthy! Thank you for all that you do in our communities - we are blessed because of you!

*to my children - my failures while learning to be your mother taught me some of my greatest life lessons. You are my success. Thank you for being my teachers. I love you!

* to my #Zgirl - being your Gigi is a sweet, sweet gift . You are by far the wisest of all my teachers and we are learning great life lessons together. Keep doing good for goodness' sake! I love you!

* to Jason - your love and strength are a critical part of my life. You encourage me to rest and re-charge and you remind me to be nice to me. You are my loving, self-care cheerleader and I am beyond grateful. I love you!

* to my family and framily (that's friends who are family) - it takes a freakin' village and my village people rock! Without your support, guidance, and help - I would not be where I am today. I simply would not. I love you!

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"2022 ATHENA Leadership Award recipients announced" - Wausau Pilot & Review - Nov 10, 2022

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