On September 29, 2014 the Strong Women, Strong Girls Pittsburgh team had the privilege of attending the Athena Awards Program of Greater Pittsburgh. The Athena Award recognizes exceptional women who demonstrate excellence in their profession, contribute to their community and help other women to succeed through mentorship.
Our own executive director Sabrina Saunders was a finalist for the Athena Awards Young Professional Award. “Words can’t express how humbled I am in being given the privilege to represent Strong Women, Strong Girls as an Athena Young Professional Finalist,” said Sabrina of her Athena Awards experience. “The women of Athena are not just making their mark in our city but are making a difference in the lives of other women as mentors, coaches, and advocates. It’s extremely satisfying to now know and even be associated with such selfless, successful, loving and dynamic women.”
The room was filled with men and women who are working towards making Pittsburgh a place  where women can succeed and flourish. SWSG is part of that community, working to provide  women and girls the tools and opportunities they need to be successful. The women nominated  for the awards all had an impressive history of working hard to not only improve themselves and  build their own careers but also assisting other women with their careers and their goals as well.
Mentorship was a key theme throughout the luncheon, with many of the nominees both noting the importance of their own mentors and the women they have worked with commending them for their years of mentorship. SWSG knows the importance of a good mentor first hand and we were lucky enough to have some of our own SWSG college mentors attend the luncheon.
Alonta M. Pitts from Carlow University was inspired by the event. “Seeing all the successful women there furthered my determination to start my own non-for-profit business and to graduate, and go to graduate school to further my knowledge and to be able to have the best business possible.” Pitts believes that this event will help her work with the girls in the SWSG program. “Athena is can be an example to encourage the girls to want further their career goals and aspirations. It can show them that there are limitless opportunities out there for them. The path they choose can change at any moment and that can lead to extraordinary discoveries down the road.”
Brittany Obey, a Carlow University chapter director and SWSG intern was amazed by the amount of support for women in the community, both from their female and male peers. “I had no idea that this award was given to powerful women in Pittsburgh. It was completely moving to be in the presence of so many dynamic female powerhouses. I thought it was also amazing to see how many men were in attendance to support these women,” says Obey. “It just goes to show how important it is that everyone is working together and encouraging one another to make our the city the best it can be.”
Strong Women, Strong Girls was honored to be part of the Athena Awards event and we are eager to continue the work of creating communities of support that will encourage ambition and success.
Writen by  Kelly Loose