IWLC Quad Cities is pleased to announce the 2018 ATHENA honorees and the 2018 Male Champion of Change honorees. The Awards Dinner & Program will be held Thursday, March 29 beginning with cocktail hour at 5:30 p.m. The event will be held at Waterfront Convention Center and will feature keynote speaker, Robyn Benincasa.

The ATHENA Honorees are women within the Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois region who are known for their professional excellence, community service and for actively lifting up other women to do the same.  The 2018 Honorees are chosen by the previous year Honorees.  The ATHENA Honorees are selected based on the following criteria: 

  • Nominee is a leader in her business or profession
  • Nominee serves as a role model to other women in her profession and in her community
  • Nominee displays creativity and innovation and contributes these talents to the growth of her profession
  • Nominee contributes time and energy to community betterment

  In addition, the MALE CHAMPION OF CHANGE award was created to honor men who exhibit an exceptional commitment to the acceleration of women in leadership and who utilize their influence, talents and abilities to enhance gender diversity.        

 “Athena International supports, develops and honors women leaders.  Its mission is to inspire women to achieve their full potential.  Our 2018 ATHENA Honorees are achieving that mission on a regular basis in both their professional careers and personal lives.  The 2018 MALE CHAMPION OF CHANGE Honorees are actively engaged in women’s leadership development.  It is important to recognize these ATHENA and MALE CHAMPION Honorees and lift them up as the true role models they each are in the Quad Cities community. ~Deanna Woodall, IWLC Quad Cities Regional Manager.  

2018 ATHENA Honorees 

Monica Forret, Ph.D. | Director of Doctor of Business Administration Program | St. Ambrose University 

 Dr. Monica Forret is an instrumental leader in advancing business education in the Quad Cities and beyond.  Dr. Forret graduated from St. Ambrose University in Accounting, became a CPA and worked for Deloitte and Prudential. She returned to academics to pursue a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Dr. Forret returned to St. Ambrose University in 1997 to launch the Doctor of Business Administration Program, which was the first doctoral degree offered by the university and was designed for working professionals.  

LuAnn Haydon | Manager, Global Visual Services (retired) | John Deere 

By the time of her retirement in 2013, LuAnn Haydon had risen through the ranks of John Deere to achieve responsibilities that were global in scope.  She was able to excel in corporate culture, which was very male-dominated through hard work and a sense of fair play. When LuAnn decided to retire in 2013, she was a true leader at John Deere, but she wasn’t finished yet.  She told friends, family and colleagues that her retirement would allow her to devote more of her time, talent and treasure to various non-profits in the Quad Cities. She specifically said that she wanted to spend that time working with women to help them succeed in leadership positions.   

Lisa Z. Killinger, DC | Professor | Palmer College of Chiropractic Dr. Lisa Killinger has been a leader in chiropractic and in her faith community.  She was the first chiropractor ever to be hired in a chiropractic capacity for the US Government, with a year of work for the Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Dr. Killinger has been a leader at Palmer College for 23 years and served for 10 of those years as the Director of Diagnosis and Radiology, and 7 years as a researcher.   

  Chris McCormick Pries | Clinical Director | Vera French 

 During her 40+ years at Vera French, Chris McCormick Pries has provided a wide variety of clinical services, and as Director she oversees all outpatient programs, including Assertive Community Treatment and School Based Services, a program placing therapists in 22 schools in all four districts in Scott County, Iowa.  Recently, Chris was honored by the Vera French Community Mental Health Center with the Courage and Compassion in Advocacy of Mental Health Award and also received the 2017 Benfer Award from the American Psychiatric Nursing Association, Iowa Chapter for exemplifying leadership in mental health nursing management and administration.    

  Amy Nimmer | Director of Global HR Operations (retired) | John Deere 

 Amy Nimmer began her career at John Deere in 1977 as an administrative assistant in information systems.  Later, shifting her focus to Human Resources, Amy spent time in leadership roles in many HR departments, including Diversity Training Services, US Recruiting and Staffing and Global Learning and Development.  At the time of her retirement in 2016, Amy was serving as Director of Global HR Operations, where she led, engaged and inspired HR teams around the world by aligning the company’s HR strategies, policies and processes across the globe. In this role, Amy recognized that not only was John Deere having an impact worldwide, but also that leveraging its worldwide talent pool would enhance John Deere’s overall performance.     

  2018 MALE CHAMPION OF CHANGE Honorees:   

  Brian Hollenback | President & CEO | Economic Growth Corporation 

 Brian Hollenback started as Executive Director for Economic Growth Corporation in 1998 back when it was a small housing based Rock Island organization with three employees and a balance sheet of less than $1million dollars. Jump forward nearly 20 years, through bold decisions by its Board of Directors and visionary leadership of Brian, Economic Growth Corporation changed dramatically in response to community needs. Brian is very active in recruiting and developing women within the organization, with 80% of the management team being female.    

  Joe Moreno | President | Quad City Marathon 

 Joe Moreno is the race director for Quad City Marathon, Genesis Fire Cracker Run and the Freedom Run. In this capacity, Joe has a team that includes many women that take great pride in being involved with these races. Je started with a small group of volunteers and the diversity in his team are unparalleled.  Further, the diversity at all of these races that Joe Moreno directs exemplifies what the Quad Cities community represents.    

  A J Loss | President & CEO | Bush Construction 

 A J Loss is dedicated to encouraging and providing the support women need as they grow toward their professional and personal goals.  In his role as President and CEO of Bush Construction, A J has provided a clear upward career progression chart toward leadership roles and encourages the women in the organization to take advantage of opportunities to train in any position—whether in the field or in the office.  This past fall when #metoo spread virally in response to widespread, high-profile sexual harassment in the workplace, A J spoke company-wide and published a letter in the internal newsletter in support of women as he emphasized Bush Construction’s intolerance for this type of disrespectful behavior, working to change the perceptions typically found in the construction industry.   

  Daniel Huber | Owner & CEO | Frontier Hospitality Group 

 Dan Huber exudes a mindsight of building a company culture where the guests and the team feel welcomed and appreciated.  Dan believes every person brings value and experience to the table that can help the organization culture grow.  Frontier Hospitality promotes from within the organization, so many of the leadership roles are held predominantly by female staff.  12 of 18 of the corporate level staff members are female, as well as 25 of 39 upper level managers and supervisors within the organization. Dan has spent in excess of $35,000 on educating his head female staff in 2017 and will continue to do so every year as he knows the significance this has on the individual employee and the culture of Frontier Hospitality Group.   

  Christopher Hunter | Outpatient Rehab Supervisor | Genesis Health Systems 

 Chris is a unique, selfless leader.  He has an outward focus when it comes to female staff and presents those staff members with opportunities to benefit us, not himself of the clinic. Chris is dedicated to making his female staff feel respected as professionals. The clinic Chris supervisors is diverse due to his thinking and his view that women are strong, capable and have the same desires to advance their careers as men. 

 Come and celebrate these outstanding Honorees on March 29th at Waterfront Convention Center and hear our special keynote speaker, Robyn Benincasa.  World Champion Adventure Racer and San Diego firefighter ROBYN BENINCASA was named one of CNN's Heros for the Project thena Foundation in 2014.  For the past 20 years, she and her teammates have been competing in the most extreme challenges on Earth; from the leech-infested jungles of Borneo to the dizzying peaks of Tibet, from the scorching deserts of Namibia to the epic brush fires of Southern California.  Robyn gives audiences the tools they need to cross their own finish lines, especially when the challenges are steep, the goals are audacious, the competition is fierce, and constant change is the only guarantee.   

 Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.  Feel free to contact Deanna Woodall, IWLC Quad Cities Regional Manager at or 563.275.8749.      


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