ATHENA International™ Presents ABA President Laurel Bellows and Olympic Gold Medalist Micki King with Global ATHENA Award, and 2012 National ATHENA Leadership Award to Heather Paquette at International Women’s Leadership Summit

 CHICAGO – October 10, 2012 – ATHENA International™ bestowed its highest honor – the Global ATHENA Award – to American Bar Association President Laurel Bellows, and Olympic Gold Medalist Micki King at the 30th Anniversary Celebration Gala on Monday, October 15. Heather Paquette, Managing Partner of KPMG LLP, received the 2012 National ATHENA Leadership Award.

The Global ATHENA Leadership Award recognizes exemplary leaders who set the standard for all women with regard to living their best life, achieving their full potential, sharing their gifts with other women along the way and whose body of work has positive global impact for women and girls.  Among the previous recipients have been Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, NPR’s Nina Totenberg, former Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder and, most recently, legendary women’s basketball coach Pat Summit. 

Laurel Bellows, a principal of The Bellows Law Group, P.C. in Chicago, is an experienced business lawyer counseling senior executives and corporations on employment matters, employment and severance agreements, executive compensation and workplace disputes.

She is currently President of the American Bar Association.  She has served as chair of the association’s policymaking House of Delegates (2006-2008), the second highest elected office in the ABA. Bellows has also served as chair of the ABA Commission on Women in the Profession, and as a member of the ABA Board of Governors, where she chaired the Finance Committee. She was also president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents and chair of its Metropolitan Bar Caucus, ABA affiliates.

Bellows’ work in the law and her community has been recognized by many publications. Crain’s Chicago Business lists Bellows among its annual list of Power Players; in 2006, she was named one of the 28 Power Lawyers in the City by Chicago Magazine; she was cited as one of Chicago’s 100 Women of Influence in 1996, also by Crain’s Chicago Business; and Bellows was listed among Working Mother Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Working Mothers in the country in 1997.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Loyola University School of Law, Bellows has practiced law for more than 30 years.  She practices law with her husband, Joel, in Chicago. They have four children and four grandchildren.

Micki King is the 1972 Springboard Diving Olympic Gold Medalist. A retired US Air Force Colonel, she served 26 years on active duty. Her second career was Assistant Athletic Director at the University of Kentucky where she served 14 years.

The native of Pontiac, Michigan, graduated from the University of Michigan in 1966, where she was coached by five-time US Olympic Coach, Dick Kimball. King competed in two Olympic Games, two Pan American Games, and won international diving titles in 15 countries. She is an inductee in seven Hall of Fames, including the prestigious United States Olympic Hall of Fame.

While training for the Munich Games in the early 70’s, King actively supported Title IX which became Law in 1972. Once retired from competition, she turned her focus to Athlete Rights and was elected by her Olympic peers to serve as the first Athletes Advisory Council (AAC) president (1973-78). King also served on President Gerald Ford’s “Commission to Study Olympic Sports.” The findings from this historic commission led to the passage of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978.

In addition to her hands-on work with the Girl Scouts Regional Council in Kentucky, King is dedicated to the US Olympians/Paralympians project, World Fit, taking action against Child Obesity. She also serves on the USA Diving Foundation. King has two grown children. She resides in Lexington, Kentucky.

The National ATHENA Leadership Award recognizes leaders who live their best life, achieving their full potential, sharing their gifts with other women along the way and whose body of work has positive national impact for women and girls.  Heather is the second individual to be honored with this award and joins former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as a National ATHENA Recipient.

Heather Paquette is the Managing Partner for KPMG in Michigan where she’s responsible for the strategic direction and growth of KPMG’s Detroit and Grand Rapids offices and in making KPMG a great place to build a career. Heather has more than 22 years of financial audit, information technology and business process experience, focusing on risk and control.

Prior to joining KPMG, she served in the United States Air Force in the United Kingdom and then in Southern Regional Operation Center for NATO in Naples, Italy.

She serves on the boards of the Detroit Economic Club, the Detroit Regional Chamber, United Way of Southeastern Michigan, the INFORUM Center for Leadership. Heather also serves on the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) Corporate Advisory Board and the Southern Illinois University School of Accountancy Board of Advisors. She is a Past Chair and Director Emeritus of ATHENA International. 

Formerly a resident of Chicago, she has been recognized by the Glass Hammer (www.glasshammer.com) as a 2009 Rising Star, by the Illinois CPA Society as a 2009 Women to Watch and by KPMG as their 2010 Working Mother of the Year (www.workingmother.com).

“Celebrating 30 Years of Leadership: I am an ATHENA Leader” was the theme of this year’s event.

About ATHENA International™: Founded 30 years ago, ATHENA International™ is known for its mission to support, develop and honor women leaders. The organization is headquartered in Chicago and is well known for its award programs that have honored over 6,500 women leaders in more than 500 communities in eight countries.  For more information, visit the organization's website at http://www.athenainternational.org/ or call 312.580.0111.

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