The Women’s Connection and Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce today announced the 2015 ATHENA Awards ® Honorees and the 2015 Male Champions of Change Honorees. The 2015 ATHENA Event, to be held March 12, noon, at Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Rock Island, is presented by Missman, Inc.

The ATHENA honorees are women within the eastern Iowa and western Illinois region whom are excelling in their profession, making a significant difference in the community, and empowering women to be leaders. The 2015 ATHENA Honorees were selected based on the following criteria:

·Nominee is a leader in her business or her 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

The Male Champions 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.

"Gender diversity and the inclusion of more women in leadership isn’t just good for women, it’s good for business and for our community,” says Nancy Renkes, Co-Executive Director of Women’s Connection. "We’re excited to raise up and honor this year’s outstanding men who champion inclusion and diversity.”

The 2015 ATHENA honorees are as follows:

Dr. Nancy Hayes, St. Ambrose University

Since 1999, Dr. Nancy Hayes has taught in the English Department at St. Ambrose University, advancing from adjunct instructor to her current position as Department Chair and English Professor. Throughout her teaching career she has presented numerous academic papers throughout the U.S., and her work has been published in multiple academic and creative writing publications.

Dr. Hayes received her B.A. from Smith College, her M.A. in English from the University of Connecticut, and her M.F.A. in Literary Translation and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Iowa.

With a strong passion for literacy, the arts and community betterment, Dr. Hayes serves on numerous non-profit boards, including the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association, Midwest Writing Center, Davenport Schools Foundation, and Davenport Central High School Hall of Honor. Previously, Dr. Hayes served as President of the Friends of the Davenport Museum of Art, Vice President of the Museum of Art Foundation, Secretary of the Quad Cities Sports Center Association, Secretary of the Nova Singers, and board member of the Friends of Davenport Public Library.

Dr. Hayes has been nominated as St. Ambrose University’s Professor of the Year, and she was the recipient of the Jim Mullins Arts Advocacy Award.

Dr. Ida Johnson, United Neighbors, Inc.

In 1973, Dr. Ida Johnson recognized a need in her neighborhood for a safe place for children to play, so she began organizing games and learning activities in her living room. Before long, she was managing a small community action agency out of her home, which today has grown to a busy neighborhood center that serve thousands each year.

Dr. Ida Johnson started United Neighbors Inc. to help families provide structured activities to keep children out of trouble, bridge the technology gap, and stabilize homes through homeownership. Today, the programs at United Neighbors provide first-time homebuyer education, down payment assistance, lead-based paint reduction, a handicapped accessible ramp program, and a fully-staffed HUD certified housing counseling staff. Youth programs include after school programs and kid’s cafe, summer parks program, alternative suspension program, and a four year-old pre-school program. Additionally, under Ida’s leadership, United Neighbors offers a neighborhood organizing program, a crisis resource program, and a multicultural health initiative.

Dr. Ida Johnson received the National Community Reinvestment Coalition's esteemed National Achievement Award in 2010 in Washington, D.C. She also is the recipient of the A. Phillip Randolph Community Award, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award,

and United Way Beacon of Compassion Award, to name a few. She received the 2001 Power of One Award from Augustana College, 2009 Iowa African American Women’s Leadership Award for her outstanding contributions to the mentoring and leadership of African American women in Iowa, was named a 2012 L’Oreal Woman of Worth, and was selected in 2015 for the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame. Dr. Johnson received an Honorary Doctorate Degree from St. Ambrose University.

Dr. Ida Johnson resides in Davenport and is the mother of five, grandmother of two and great-grandmother of three.

Jodie Kavensky, NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Foundation

In 2008, Jodie Kavensky started the NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Foundation in honor of her mother (Norma) and aunt (Leah), both of whom died of the disease. With a mission to create public awareness, promote early detection and support research for ovarian cancer, the foundation’s ultimate goal is to make ovarian cancer screening a routine component of a woman’s annual health exam. In the past three years alone, NormaLeah has distributed more than 100,000 ovarian cancer BEAT symptom cards to women across the U.S. and in 12 foreign countries.

With a B.A. in Journalism/Public Relations from The Ohio State University and a Masters in Advertising from Northwestern University, Jodie Kavensky began her career in Chicago working in advertising for clients that included the Mayo Clinic Health Letter and Michael Reese Hospital.

Since moving to the Quad Cities, Jodie has continued to provide marketing consulting in the non-profit sector, primarily for health and arts organizations.

Currently a board member for the Illinois Arts Council Agency, she is a sustaining member of Junior League of the Quad Cities, and a board member for Experience Quad Cities and the Mayor of Rock Island’s Arts Advisory Committee. Additionally, Kavensky served for many years as Vice President of the Tri-City Jewish Center’s Beth Israel Sisterhood and was instrumental in the center’s Feast-ival fundraising event. Kavensky is the recipient of the Royal Neighbors of America Nation of Neighbors Award, was a Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce Small Business Excellence honoree, and was named a Quad-City Times’ Top 12 Health Hero.

Jodie Kavensky resides in Rock Island with her husband, Craig. They are the parents of two daughters.

Natalie Linville-Mass, Media Link, Inc.

A veteran with more than 25 years experience in the media field, Natalie Linville-Mass also is a successful entrepreneur, serving as Founder and President of Media Link, Inc., a media communications and advertising company she founded here in the Quad Cities in 2001.

An innovator in media planning and purchasing, Linville-Mass helped create Media Link Software ™, a proprietary system used by media buyers throughout the U.S. which revolutionized media purchasing, analysis and reporting, and enabled smaller media buying entities access to necessary data.

Natalie has contributed significantly to community betterment, currently serving on the board for The ARC of the Quad Cities Area, and on the Public Policy and Quad City Airport Committees of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. She is a past board member of the Workforce Investment for Rock Island, Henry and Mercer Counties; Living Lands and Waters; and the Quad Cities Advertising Federation. Natalie founded and leads a Women’s Executive Group dedicated to supporting the advancement of regional women to greater leadership. Nationally, she has worked with The Water Foundation, and she helped launch a public relations campaign for Earth 911.

A recipient of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce 2014 Small Business Excellence Award, 2013 NDIA’s Illinois Small Business Award, and 2012 Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award for her longstanding service to Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Natalie also was named a 2003 Quad-City Business Journal "Top 40 Under 40,” and a 2005 Davenport One "Women in Business” Advocate of the Year.

Natalie Linville-Mass and her husband, John, live in Rock Island and are the proud parents of two children.

Kathleen Repass, Henry County Economic Development Partnership

Named in 2013 as the first full-time executive director of the Henry County Economic Development Partnership (HCEDP), Kathleen Repass has accomplished many firsts in her short tenure – including the first rural economic development plan, first business needs assessment and first local foods council. Since taking the helm at HCEDP, Repass also has spearheaded an application to the State of Illinois for a new economic development enterprise zone in Henry Country.

With a B.S. in Biology from Northern Illinois University and an M.B.A. from the University of Houston, Kathleen Repass previously worked at St. Malachy Catholic Church, Geneseo, and at Blackhawk Bank & Trust.

Kathleen’s extensive community involvement reflects her commitment to education, health care and her faith. Currently serving as President and Commissioner of the Geneseo Park District and on the Capital Campaign Team and Foundation Development Council for Hammond Henry Hospital’s Annual Support Committee, she also sits on the Business and Vocational Advisory Board for Geneseo High School and served as Past President of the Geneseo High School Booster Club for Soccer. Kathleen also volunteers countless hours at St. Malachy Catholic Church, having served as Past President of the Education Commission. For 10 years she also sat on the steering committee and served as Kitchen Chairperson for Cursillo/Teens Encounter Christ.

Kathleen Repass lives in Geneseo and is the single mother of three grown children.

Kathy Wine, River Action

The Mississippi River is an American icon known around the world. For 30 years, Kathy Wine has led River Action, dedicating herself to implementing a framework and spearheading initiatives that ensure the environmental, economic and cultural vitality of this Quad Cities treasure.

Having co-founded River Action in 1985 and served as Executive Director since 1995, Kathy Wine leads this flagship organization that makes action happen along the Mississippi River and helps ensure the vibrancy of our community.

Since 1985, River Action has been instrumental in lighting the Centennial Bridge, securing funding for the Credit Island Bridge, developing the QC Waterfront Master Plan, securing a $2 million U.S. EPA grant to clean and restore Nahant Marsh, creating Mississippi River Design Principles, launching the Channel Cat Water Taxi Service, creating the RiverWay historical identification system for community trails, and connecting Iowa and Illinois bike trails across Arsenal Island. Additionally, through River Action, Kathy Wine has implemented an annual calendar of special events, including the Floatzilla canoe and kayak flotilla, Taming of the Slough adventure race, annual Ride the River bike ride through nine cities and two states, and the Tweed Bicycle Ride, to name a few.

A true community collaborator, Kathy Wine’s efforts have raised over $5 million for the RiverWay Project, which includes river trail improvements, public arts on the river, river education, wetland restoration, and storm drain and clean water programs. Working with 13 communities, Kathy Wine coordinated the Quad City area in the American Heritage Rivers Program for the Upper Mississippi, Grand Excursion 2004, Mississippi River Trail, Retain the Rain Conservation Program, Explore the River Education Series and QC Wild Places.

A native of Iowa, Kathy Wine received a B.F.A. from Drake University. She lives in Davenport with her husband, Tom.

The recipients of the 2015 Male Champions of Change Award are:

Todd Hopkins, Lujack Lexus of the Quad Cities

A graduate of Davenport Central High School who attended the University of Iowa majoring in Business and Computer Sciences, Todd Hopkins has worked at Lujack Lexus of the Quad Cities since 1991, currently serving as General Manager. Todd exhibits a firm commitment to the mentoring and advancement of women in this historically male-dominated field. His numerous community involvements include the United Way, March of Dimes Signature Chef Event Chairperson, Great River Show Choir, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Young Women of Achievement Selection Committee, John Deere Classic, Friends of Trinity and Wild About the Child. Todd lives in Davenport with his wife, Kiki and their five children, Peter, Riley, Katie, Jack and Maddie.

Douglas Hultquist, QCR Holdings, Inc.

With a degree in Accounting and Economics from Augustana College, from which he also received an honorary doctorate degree in 2009, Doug Hultquist is a certified public accountant and co-founder, President and CEO of QCR Holdings, Inc. A strong community advocate, Doug currently serves as Chairman of the Board for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Board Member of the Rock Island County Children’s Advocacy Center, and participates as a mentor with Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Doug previously served on the Board and as Past Chairman of the John Deere Classic, Past Chairman of the Augustana College Board of Trustees, Past President of the Quad City Estate Planning Council, and Past Board Member of the Illinois Bankers Association. He is the recipient of the 1998 Ernst & Young "Entrepreneur of the Year” for the Iowa and Nebraska region, was inducted into the Quad City Area Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame in 2003, and was selected as the Iowa Society of CPAs Outstanding CPA in Business and Industry in 2011, He and his wife, Nancy, live in Rock Island and are the parents of two grown daughters.

Steve McCann, McGladrey LLP

A graduate of Western Illinois University with a B.A. in Accounting, Steve McCann is a certified public accountant with more than 35 years experience with McGladrey, currently serving as Managing Partner of the Davenport Office. A committed mentor, Steve was a member of McGladrey’s Central Region Women’s Leadership Steering Committee, and he has been an instructor and facilitator for numerous women’s leadership development programs within McGladrey. A member of the Western Illinois University Foundation Board of Trustees, Steve was named a distinguished alumni by the university in 2003. His community commitment is strong, having served on the Board of Directors and as Past Chair of Gilda’s Club Quad Cities, Board of Directors and Past Chairman of the John Deere Classic, Board of Directors and Chairman of Renew Moline, and Board of Directors of American Red Cross, Quad Cities Chapter, to name a few. Steve and his wife, Heidi Parkhurst, live in Coal Valley and have three children and two grandchildren.

Rob Woodall, Alcoa

With a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology and an MBA from the University of Iowa, Rob Woodall began his career at Alcoa as a mechanical engineer in 1989 and today serves as Manufacturing Director for Alcoa Davenport Works and Satellites, overseeing more than 2,500 employees. Rob is sponsor of Alcoa Women’s Network in Davenport, a catalyst for recruiting and developing women leaders within Alcoa, and he served as a gender diversity panelist at Women’s Connection’s 2014 leadership conference. Dedicated to advancing women and bettering community, Rob serves on the Board of Directors for the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, Regional Opportunities Council, Family Resources and Genesis Philanthropy, and he’s a longtime advocate for gender equality in the workplace. Rob lives in Bettendorf with his wife, Deanna, and their children Jessica, Sam and Jadwin.

ATHENA Awards Luncheon

The 2015 ATHENA honorees and the 2015 Male Champions of Change honorees will be recognized at a luncheon event on March 12. During the event, one ATHENA Recipient will be named from the field of six honorees.

Event Details:

When: Thursday, March 12, 2015

Time: Noon-1:15 p.m. luncheon

Location: Jumer’s Casino & Hotel, Rock Island

Cost: $30 for individuals or $275 for a table of 10

To register, visit or call (309)631-0167.

The ATHENA Awards Luncheon is presented by Missman, Inc., and major sponsors are Senior Star at Elmore Place, DHCU Community Credit Union, Quad City Bank & Trust, Quad City International Airport, River City Tire, Quad-City Times and St. Ambrose University. In-kind sponsorships are provided by Mediacom and Hotel Blackhawk.

The mission of ATHENA International is "to support, develop and honor women leaders; to inspire women to achieve their full potential; and to create balance in leadership worldwide.” Since 1982, 6,000 ATHENA Awards and Global ATHENA Leadership Awards have been presented by ATHENA International in more than 500 communities in the United States, Canada, Russia, China, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

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