Keynote speaker for this year’s ATHENA Leadership Award® announced

This year’s speaker for the ATHENA Leadership Award® Dinner will be Karen Ferguson Fuson, chief marketing officer for Indiana University.

portrait photo of Karen Ferguson Fuson

Karen Ferguson Fuson

Wayne Bank and Indiana University East will host the dinner at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, at Forest Hills Country Club, located at 2169 South 23rd St. in Richmond, Ind. The event recognizes women leaders who motivate, inspire and create positive change in the community.

Ferguson Fuson is a strategic, purpose-driven senior executive experienced in leading teams through complex digital and organizational transformations at scale. Ferguson Fuson has deep experience in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer sales and marketing.

Ferguson Fuson graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and in time became the second female president and publisher of the Indianapolis Star.

She was inducted into Medill’s Hall of Achievement in honor of her work and leadership in the media business and for her passionate commitment to a free press and equality for all. Ferguson currently serves on the Riley Children’s Foundation Board of Governors and has been actively engaged in multiple community boards, including Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Visit Indy, Indianapolis Zoo, Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, and Junior Achievement.

Nominees for the ATHENA award are exemplary leaders who have achieved excellence in their business or profession, served the community in a meaningful way and, most importantly, actively assisted women to achieve their full leadership potential.

The award recipients for the ATHENA Leadership Award® and the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award will be announced at the celebration dinner on June 27.

This year’s nominees are Richmond residents Rhonda Duning, a realtor at Coldwell Banker Lingle; Jennifer Feaster, director of Financial Administration for the Boys & Girls Club; and Melissa Vance, president and CEO of the Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce.

The recipient for the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award is Ashley Sieb of Richmond.

Stacey Steele is the posthumous recipient of the Elysium Award, a special recognition designated by the selection committee this year. According to Greek mythology, those who led righteous lives or performed great deeds spent their eternal afterlife in the beautiful realm of Elysium. Steele lived in Richmond and was the director of the grants and outcomes for the Boys & Girls Club of Wayne County.

The ATHENA Leadership Award® recipients hail from all professional sectors. The award’s rich history, international scope and emphasis on mentorship make this award unique and among the most prestigious leadership awards one can receive.

The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award is presented to a finalist in Wayne County. This award actively supports and celebrates the ATHENA mission of supporting, developing and honoring women leaders, inspiring women to achieve their full potential — creating balance in leadership worldwide. ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Nominees are 18-35 years age. Nominees are emerging women leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession; provides valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in their community; and clearly serve as a role model for young women both personally and professionally.

Local sponsorship is provided by Wayne Bank and Indiana University East. Event proceeds will equally benefit the Women’s Fund of Wayne County and Girls, Inc.

To RSVP, visit or contact JoAnn Spurlock, assistant vice president at Wayne Bank, at (765) 259-0209 or or Paula Kay King, director of Gift Development at IU East, at (765) 973-8331 or