Individual Recognition

Honoring KC Individuals Achieving Excellence

The KC Chamber presents awards throughout the year to individuals for promoting diversity and inclusion in their workplace and the community; for helping women leaders advance and reach their full potential; and for selflessly building a stronger regional community.

Nominate your ATHENA and ATHENA Young Professional Candidate

Nominations are open through June 30. If you have questions please contact Lindsay Jarquio at jarquio@kcchamber.com.

ACE Awards Recipients

Highlights of the POWER of Diversity Breakfast include the presentation of ACE Awards to up-and-coming senior level managers who are advocating for expansion of their company's D&I and/or supplier diversity efforts. The 2021 ACE Awards went to Astra Garner, ReDiscover; Subashini Nadarajah, VMLY&R; and Darla Wilkerson, Disability Inclusion of Greater Kansas City.

2021 Ace Award Winner Astra Garner, ReDiscover

2021 Ace Award Winner Subashini Nadarajah, VMLY&R

2021 Ace Award Winner Darla Wilkerson, Disability Inclusion Greater Kansas City

2021 POWER of Diversity Breakfast

ATHENA Award

The ATHENA Award is presented annually by the KC Chamber. The award honors a person “who has achieved the highest level of professional excellence, devoted time and energy to the community, and, especially, opened the doors of leadership opportunity to women.” The award was created by the Lansing, Michigan, Chamber of Commerce in 1982. Since the program’s inception in 1982, more than 7,000 exemplary leaders in over 500 communities have received the prestigious ATHENA Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, United Arab Emirates and United Kingdom. The award was first presented locally by the KC Chamber in 2001. The 2021 ATHENA Award was presented to Sherry Turner, Executive Director, Kansas City Women’s Business Center.

Athena Young Professional Leadership Award

The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award is presented to emerging women leaders in the metro area, across professional sectors, for exemplary leadership. 2010 was the first year for the Young Professional Leadership distinction of ATHENA. The 2021 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award recipient is Michele L. Watley, Founder and Owner, The Griot Group LLC.

Kansas Citian of the Year Award

Photo of 2020 KCOY David Warm, 2021 KCOY John Sherman, and KC Chamber President Joe Reardon on stage at the KC Chamber's 2021 Annual Dinner
(L-R) 2020 KCOY David Warm, 2021 KCOY John Sherman, KC Chamber President and CEO Joe Reardon

The Kansas Citian of the Year Award is the highest honor the KC Chamber can bestow. Presented at the Annual Dinner in November, the award is given “only to those persons whose civic contributions and achievements have reflected the insight, creativity and consciousness necessary to build and maintain a quality urban community.”  The Kansas Citian of the Year Award is now recognized as the most significant honor bestowed upon a single individual by any organization in the metropolitan area. In 2021, the Kansas Citian of the Year was John Sherman.

Centurions Leadership Award and Bernard Powell Award

The Centurions Leadership Award and Bernard Powell Award are presented at the Centurions Leadership Reception each spring. The Centurions Leadership Award is presented to a community leader who embodies the spirit of Centurions to learn, serve, and lead. The Bernard Powell Award was established in 1980 in memory of the award’s namesake, a renowned community activist in Kansas City. Winners of the award have been actively involved with the Centurions Alumni Association, worked on community projects that have positively impacted Greater Kansas City, and demonstrated extraordinary community leadership and action. In 2018, the Centurions Leadership Award was presented to Karen Daniel, retired CFO of Black & Veatch, and the Bernard Powell Award was presented to Mark Larrabee of Arvest Bank.

Past Award Winners

Past ATHENA Award Winners

  • 2021 - Sherry Turner
  • 2020 - Karen Daniel
  • 2019 - Kathy Nelson
  • 2018 – Anita Bajaj Newton
  • 2017 – Carol Hallquist
  • 2016 – Debby Ballard
  • 2015 – Dianne Cleaver
  • 2014 – Betsey Solberg
  • 2013 – SuEllen Fried
  • 2012 - Jan Kreamer
  • 2011 – Mary Kay McPhee
  • 2010 – Adele Hall
  • 2009 – Mamie Hughes
  • 2008 – Susan Stanton
  • 2007 – Karen Pletz
  • 2006 – Governor Kathleen Sebelius
  • 2005 – Roshann Parris
  • 2004 – Mayor Peggy Dunn
  • 2003 – Julia Irene Kauffman
  • 2002 – Anita Gorman
  • 2001 – Beth Smith

Past ATHENA Young Professional Award Winners

  • 2021 - Michele L. Watley
  • 2020 - Chelsea Laub
  • 2019 - Caitlin O'Byrne Waters
  • 2018 – Adrienne Haynes
  • 2017 – Jessica Nelson
  • 2016 – Chandra Clark
  • 2015 – Sunita G. Lavin
  • 2014 – Marshaun Butler
  • 2013 – Susan Leonard, Ph.D.
  • 2012 – Katie Dunn Fitzgerald
  • 2011 – Mary Bosco Heinrich
  • 2010 – Marie Farrell

Past Centurion Leadership Award

  • 2018 – Karen Daniel
  • 2017 – Mark Donovan and Adrienne Haynes
  • 2016 – Award not given
  • 2015 – Joyce Hayhow
  • 2014 – Steve Roling
  • 2013 – Greg Graves
  • 2012 – Thomas M. Bloch
  • 2011 – Tom Van Dyke
  • 2010 – David Oliver
  • 2009 – Bernard Franklin
  • 2008 – Lee Derrough
  • 2007 – Shirley and Barnett Helzberg
  • 2006 – Kay Barnes
  • 2005 – Jeffrey W. Comment
  • 2004 – Jim and Virginia Stowers
  • 2003 – Carol Marinovich
  • 2002 – Thomas A. McDonnell
  • 2001 – Fernando Gaitan, Jr.
  • 2000 – Henry W. Bloch
  • 1999 – Buck O’Neil
  • 1998 – Jack C. Craft
  • 1997 – William Nelson
  • 1996 – Dr. Samuel Rodgers
  • 1995 – R. Crosby Kemper
  • William Dunn
  • Alvin L. Brooks
  • Anita Gorman
  • Adele Hall
  • Emanuel Cleaver II
  • Albert P. Mauro
  • H. Marshall Chaffield

Past Bernard Powell Award

  • 2020 - Ora Reynolds
  • 2019 - Dan Cranshaw
  • 2018 - Mark Larrabee
  • 2017 - Tami Greenberg
  • 2016 - Laurie Roberts
  • 2015 - Richard Wetzel
  • 2014 - Award Not Given
  • 2013 - Tyrone Flowers
  • 2012 -  Mike Burke
  • 2011 -  Greg Wolf
  • 2010  - David Fowler
  • 2009 - Richard Stilwell
  • 2008 -  Deth Im
  • 2007 - Rick Kahle
  • 2006 - Jonathan Cohn
  • 2005 - Teresa Woody
  • 2004 - Holly Swyden
  • 2003 - Edward "Ned" O'Connor, Jr.
  • 2002 - David A. Smith
  • 2001 - Sean Miller
  • 2000 - Mary Larson-Diaz
  • 1999 - Dan Ryan
  • 1998 - Brad Stratton
  • 1997 - Larry Dietz, Ph.D.
  • 1996 - Judith A. Krtek
  • 1995 - Thomas Brill
  • 1994 - Brock Rule
  • 1993 - Sam Jordan
  • 1992 - Susann Riffe
  • 1991 -  Jennifer Nicholson
  • 1990 - Ron Malcolm
  • 1989 -  Scott Seitter
  • 1988 - Reggie Giffin
  • 1987 -  Elizabeth Brown
  • 1986 - Terry Christenberry
  • 1985 -  H.E. “Dan” Bunch

Past Kansas Citians of the Year Award

  • 2021 - John Sherman
  • 2020 - David Warm
  • 2019 - Al Brooks
  • 2018 - Kay Barnes
  • 2017 – Dr. Roy Jensen
  • 2016 – Don Hall, Jr.
  • 2015 – Greg Graves
  • 2014 – Leo Morton
  • 2013 – Phil Kirk
  • 2012 – James B. Nutter, Sr.
  • 2011 – Robert D. Regnier
  • 2010 – Tom Watson and Buck O’Neil
  • 2009 – Jeannette Nichols
  • 2008 – Beth Smith
  • 2007 – Bill Hall
  • 2006 – Drue Jennings
  • 2005 – Carol Marinovich
  • 2004 – Jim and Virginia Stowers
  • 2003 – Tom McDonnell
  • 2002 – Lucile Bluford
  • 2001 – Shirley and Barnett Helzberg
  • 2000 – Robert A. Kipp
  • 1999 – Emanuel Cleaver II
  • 1998 – Jerome Cohen
  • 1997 – R. Crosby Kemper
  • 1996 – Ollie W. Gates
  • 1995 – Richard C. Green, Jr.
  • 1994 – Richard L. Berkley
  • 1993 – Lamar Hunt
  • 1992 – Anita Gorman
  • 1991 – David Stanley
  • 1990 – Adele Hall
  • 1989 – Jay B. Dillingham
  • 1988 – Jack W. Steadman
  • 1987 – Irvine O. Hockaday, Jr.
  • 1986 – Ewing M. Kauffman
  • 1985 – William N. Deramus III
  • 1984 – Paul H. Henson
  • 1983 - Rev. M.E. VanAckeren, S.J. and John H. Kreamer
  • 1982 – William H. Dunn
  • 1981 – Robert A. Long
  • 1980 – Robert H. Gaynor
  • 1979 – William P. Harsh
  • 1978 – Henry W. Bloch
  • 1977 – Charles E. Curry
  • 1976 – Jerome A. Smith and Everett P. O’Neal
  • 1975 – Morton I. Sosland
  • 1974 – Dutton Brookfield
  • 1973 – Charles N. Kimball
  • 1972 – Donald J. Hall, Sr.
  • 1971 – Bert Berkley
  • 1970 – Ilus W. Davis
  • 1969 – Miller Nichols
  • 1968 – John A. Morgan
  • 1967 – George E. Powell, Jr.
  • 1966 – Elmer Pierson
  • 1965 – Frank A. Theis
  • 1964 – Arthur Mag and John B. Gage
  • 1963 – J.C. Higdon
  • 1962 – William N. Deramus, Sr.
  • 1961 – Joyce C. Hall
  • 1960 – Roy A. Roberts