Greater Phoenix Chamber Honors Three with 2019 ATHENA Awards

Posted By on November 15, 2019
ATHENA Award Winners Sherri Collins, Reyna Montoya and Cindy Dach

The Greater Phoenix Chamber announced the 2019 ATHENA private sector, public sector and young professional award recipients during its 32nd Annual ATHENA Awards Luncheon on Nov. 15 at the J.W. Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge.

Sherri Collins, Executive Director, Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, earned the 2019 ATHENA Businesswoman of the Year Award in the public sector. Cindy Dach, CEO, Changing Hands Bookstore, & Co-Founder MADE art boutique and Roosevelt Row, was awarded the 2019 ATHENA Businesswoman of the Year Award in the private sector. Reyna Montoya, CEO & Founder, Aliento, took home the 2019 ATHENA Young Professional Award.

“We are incredibly proud to celebrate an inspiring group of leaders as this year’s recipients of the Greater Phoenix Chamber’s ATHENA Awards,” said Todd Sanders, president & CEO of the Greater Phoenix Chamber. “These influential women are dedicated to building a brighter future and ensuring our community remains strong. They embody the best of the Arizona business community and we look forward to seeing how they will carry on the legacy of ATHENA through their work.”

The ATHENA Awards, named after the Greek goddess of courage and wisdom, is a program of ATHENA International, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating leadership opportunities for women.

“The ATHENA Award is a special recognition. And, I’m so honored to have been selected as a candidate. I am just humbled to have been considered for this award. I am so fortunate to have the opportunity to return the favor through my career,” Collins said. “I wish every woman could benefit from the ATHENA Award as I have. The ATHENA network, connecting with women across the valley, and industries. It creates a stronger community across the valley.”

Collins serves as the Executive Director of the Arizona Commission for the Deaf and the Hard of Hearing, a position she has held for more than a decade.

“As I walk away from this stage, I hope that you remember my story—that you remember the contributions, creativity and humanity of all immigrants,” Montoya said. “I hope that you remember that we have a choice to nurture, to serve, and to lead with love in so much darkness. You have a voice to be a light.”

Montoya is an advocate for justice in her community. As a dedicated social entrepreneur, she founded Aliento in 2016, an Arizona community organization that harnesses resources to educate, and empower immigrants.

“The ATHENA Awards empower and connect a network of impactful women who are shaping the future,” Dach said. “As leaders it is important for all of us to simultaneously link arms and hold out our hands. We must lead with kindness because kindness creates hope. And hope brings us to our next task at hand, to listen, and then ask how can we help?”

As CEO of Changing Hands Bookstore, Dach has set a national standard for successfully operating and elevating the art of being an independent bookstore. During her nearly 20 years at Changing Hands, she has transformed the business by curating an elite speaker series, fostering community connections through events, and increasing annual sales by $5 million.

Dach, Collins and Montoya were chosen from among 11 ATHENA finalists, who were selected from a large group of nominees.

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