KC Chamber Announces 2020 ATHENA Leadership Award Recipients

The prestigious group of women leaders receiving the ATHENA Awards has grown by two. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 2020 ATHENA Leadership Award will go to Karen Daniel, former Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer and President of the Global Finance & Technology Solutions division for Black & Veatch. Chelsea Laub, President of Crossroads Wealth Management, has been named the 2020 Young ATHENA.

Both women will be honored at the Virtual ATHENA Awards Reception, Thursday, October 8 from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. More than 60 women were nominated for both awards. An independent group of community leaders made the selection.

The ATHENA Leadership Award is presented to individuals honored for professional excellence, community service, and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills. The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award is a natural extension of the ATHENA Leadership Award and is presented to emerging women leaders across professional sectors for exemplary leadership.

About the Recipients

Karen Daniel ATHENA Award Recipient
Karen Daniel

Karen Daniel

Karen Daniel retired in July 2018 as Executive Director, Chief Financial Officer and President of the Global Finance & Technology Solutions division for Black & Veatch. As CFO, she was responsible for leading the company’s global financial operations and IT organization including systems, technology development and strategic alliances. Karen joined Black & Veatch in 1992 as Manager of Internal Audit. She quickly took on more responsibility as she was promoted to increasingly senior positions, culminating as CFO in 2000 and Division President in 2010. She also played an integral role in the transition to 100% employee ownership in 2014. Before her time at Black & Veatch, Karen was Senior Audit Manager for the public accounting firm of KPMG where she served the governmental, manufacturing, banking and not-for-profit industries.

Karen’s professional awards are vast. In 2015 she received the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management Alumni Achievement Award and a Northwest Missouri State University honorary doctorate. She was named Black Engineer of the Year in 2010, and in 2008 was the first recipient of the Kansas City Business Journal’s CFO of the Year Award.


Other distinctions include the 2000 KPMG Humanitarian Award, and a distinguished alumni award from Northwest Missouri State in 1998 - First recipient of annual award for most significant impact in the community.

She is also actively involved in the community, having served as a member of the KC Chamber Board, and Board Chair in 2017. She also held Board positions with the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, KU Advancement Board, Northwest Missouri State University Foundation, and Women’s Employment, among others. She is past President of the Kansas City Missouri Parks Board and led the $80 million restoration of Liberty Memorial.


Chelsea Laub ATHENA Young Professional Award Recipient
Chelsea Laub

Chelsea Laub

Chelsea Laub, President of Crossroads Wealth Management, earned her BS from The University of Iowa in 2012. She started her financial planning practice in 2015, where she specializes in empowering women to take control of their financial lives by delivering refreshing financial education workshops and serving as a true partner for her clients. Since 2016, Chelsea has been a co-founder and President of Underground Social - an organization focused on bringing together the next generation of female leaders in Kansas City through social gatherings, mentorship, personal & professional skills development, and civic engagement.

Chelsea has served as Treasurer of the Big Shifts Foundation since 2019, is an active member of Women in Insurance & Financial Services and serves on the social media committee for the national organization. Additionally, Chelsea serves on the Women’s Advisor Network committee at Principal Financial Group, where she started a mentorship program that was implemented in 2020. She is also a volunteer for Junior Achievement and PrepKC. In 2018, she was selected as a Big Brothers Big Sisters Most Wanted honoree and was showcased in 2017 as one of Ingram’s Magazine’s “20 in Their Twenties.”

The 2020 Sponsors for the ATHENA Leadership Awards are Bank Midwest and KPMG LLP.