Athena Award nominees announced

The 2013 Athena Award nominees (L to R) are Nicole McCracken, Lena Grand-Weber, Sue Dell, Phyllis Van Sambeek, Patricia Shaw, Linda Santana, Robin Bramson-Gillins, Dianne Knippel and Carol Stanford (not pictured).

The 2013 Athena Award nominees (L to R) are Nicole McCracken, Lena Grand-Weber, Sue Dell, Phyllis Van Sambeek, Patricia Shaw, Linda Santana, Robin Bramson-Gillins, Dianne Knippel and Carol Stanford (not pictured).

ANTELOPE VALLEY – The Zonta Club of the Antelope Valley has announced the nominees for the 2013 Athena Award.  The Athena Award is presented to a woman who has attained and embodies the highest level of professional excellence in her business or profession, has devoted time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community and actively assists women in realizing their leadership potential.

The Athena nominees for 2013 are:

  • Nicole McCracken, Executive Assistant – AV Chevrolet
  • Lena Grand-Weber, Systems Analyst – Kaiser Permanente
  • Sue Dell, Attorney-at-Law
  • Phyllis Van Sambeek, Auditor/Eastside Elementary School PTA
  • Patricia Shaw, Community Activist
  • Linda Santana, Realtor – Prudential Troth Realtors
  • Robin Bramson-Gillins, Realtor – Prudential Troth Realtors
  • Dianne Knippel, Antelope Valley Regional Manager/ Public Affairs – Southern California Edison
  • Carol Stanford, Palmdale School District Trustee

ATHENA is an international non-profit organization dedicated to supporting, developing and honoring women leaders. Its purpose is to inspire women to achieve their full potential – creating balance in leadership worldwide.  Sponsored by the Zonta Club of the Antelope Valley, the organization will host a cocktail reception and dinner on Friday, November 15 to announce the 2013 Athena recipient.

The event starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Hellenic Center, located at 30th Street West and Avenue K-4 in Lancaster. Cost for attending the event is $75 per person.

Meet the 2013 Athena Award Nominees

Nicole McCracken, Executive Assistant – Antelope Valley Chevrolet
Nicole McCracken currently serves as the Executive Assistant for Antelope Valley Chevrolet President, Lou Gonzales.  Her prior job affiliation was with the Jeff Hiatt Termite company, where she became the first female, State of California, licensed ‘Branch 3 Inspector.  She was a Palmdale Chamber Chief Ambassador and has served on various committees for the Lancaster, Quartz Hill and Greater Antelope Valley Chambers.  Nicole also served on the Women of Distinction Committee with the Hollywood Chamber and became president-elect of the Hispanic Chamber.  Additionally she chaired the Heartsound’s Ball for the Children’s Center, became President for her Toastmaster’s club, Vice-President for the Republican Women Federated organization and has served as Secretary for the Antelope Valley Sheriff’s Boosters.

Lena Grand-Weber, Systems Analyst – Kaiser Permanente
A lifelong Southern California resident and 24 year resident of the Antelope Valley, Lena Grand-Weber is currently a Systems Analyst for the Department of Surgery Scheduling at Kaiser Permanente.  She provides critical ‘Access and Compliance Reports’ for the medical group.  Lena has led or supported multiple community volunteer organization in the Antelope Valley.  She’s a 17 year member and past president of the Alpha Charter Guild – Volunteer Auxiliary to AV Hospital.  She’s also the president-elect of the Rotary Club of Lancaster.

Sue Dell , Attorney-at-Law
Sue Dell has been a senior staff attorney at Dependency Court for over 18 years, representing over 2000 AV residents. Sue is the founding chair of Lancaster’s Tapestry Human Relations Commission.  She has initiated programs for expungement, mediation, open forums, bullying prevention and cultural sensitivity.  As Judge Pro-Tem for youth court’s alternative sentencing, Sue addresses her juvenile defendants with empathy, humor and practical guidance…teaching a respectful approach to effectuating social and personal change. Sue also serves on the OUTreach Center Board, providing support, advocacy and resources to the LGBT community.

Phyllis Van Sambeek, Auditor/Eastside Elementary School PTA
A Lancaster native, Phyllis Van Sambeek attended a local grade school and high school.  Her interest in schools led her to a 20 year career at the Eastside Union School District, where she served as a secretary to the Assistant Superintendent of Education. Phyllis is auditor for the Eastside Elementary School PTA, Steering Committee Chair and Director of the Eastside Pageant committee and Chairman of the Miss AV Queen’s committee for the Antelope Valley Fair.  She’s also an active volunteer with the Old Timer’s BBQ and AV High School Alumni Association.

Patricia Shaw, Community Activist
Patty Shaw pursued a career in property management and residential sales as a Real Estate agent, but is perhaps best known for her activism in community affairs.  Some of those ‘activities’ include – Co-Founder or the League of Women Voters/Antelope Valley, Planning Commissioner for the City of Palmdale, President of the City of Palmdale’s Library Board of Trustee’s, a member of the Palmdale Kiwanis Club and a consultant/campaign manager for numerous political campaigns.  It was during her presidency of the Palmdale Woman’s Club and partnership with the Palmdale Sheriff’s Boosters that led her to spearhead the effort to fund the ‘Fallen Heroes Memorial’ at the Antelope Valley Mall.

Linda Santana, Realtor – Prudential Troth Realtors®
Often referred to as a “change agent”, Linda Santana knows how to energize a cause and make dreams a reality.  She spent 33 years in the aerospace industry and later became the publisher and editor for AV Magazine.  Today she is a Realtor for Prudential Troth Realtors where she continues her extensive record of community affairs. She was a founder of the local “Pennies for Soldiers” campaign whereby 27 schools raised $20,000 in pennies and made history as the largest fundraiser for the mobile Vietnam monument-AV Wall.  She was a key organizer of the 2006 Antelope Valley “Operation Welcome Home” parade and she’s served as a coordinator for the Antelope Valley Search and Rescue Team’s “Hug-a-Tree” program, presented to 1,500 elementary school children.  She is also a volunteer for “Heaven’s Special Kids” for autistic children and young adults.

Robin Bramson-Gillins, Realtor – Prudential Troth Realtors®
A resident of the Antelope Valley since 1985, Robin Bramson-Gillins has been active in the Real Estate community from 1990 to the present.  She’s earned designations of GRI-Graduate, Realtor Institute and SFR-Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource.  Additionally, she’s served on several committees for the Greater Antelope Valley Association of Realtors, including Chairperson of Special Events in 2010 and on the Board of Directors from 2012-2014. In 2012, Robin had the opportunity to be of service to a friend by donating a kidney.  She feels she was specially chosen for this ‘gift of life’ moment.

Dianne Knippel, AV Regional Manager/Public Affairs – Southern California Edison
Twenty nine years of business development and public relations experience with Lockheed Martin Corporation has made Dianne Knippel a highly effective communications leader.  In recent years she has served as the President of the Antelope Valley Board of Trade and the Antelope Valley College Foundation Board. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Antelope Valley Transit Authority and maintains her membership on the California State University Advisory Board.  She was cited as a “Distinguished Citizen” by the L.A. County Boy Scouts of America.  She is now starting a second career as the Antelope Valley Regional Public Affairs Manager for Southern California Edison.

Carol Stanford, Palmdale School District Trustee
A lifelong educator and community volunteer, Carol Stanford empowers women of all ages through education and creating life-changing experiences.  Carol has been an English AP teacher for many years, teaching thousands of young women to assess the world through the lens of literature and technology. In the last three years she has volunteered at the ‘Trend Tract’ in Lancaster, helping young girls from the tract deliver Thanksgiving and Christmas bags to their neighbors.  Currently, she’s a Trustee for the Palmdale School District where she works to encourage over 12,000 young girls and 500 young professional women to work toward their lifelong goal of finding the American Dream.

Past winners

Antelope Valley individuals that have won the Athena Award in the past are:

  • 1995       – Rosemary Dispenza
  • 1996       – Susan Hogrefe
  • 1997       – Sharon Tremain
  • 1998       – Janice Kimrey Anderson
  • 1999       – Anne Aldrich
  • 2000       – Alis Clausen
  • 2001       – Lou Bozigian
  • 2002       – Ingrid Chapman
  • 2003       – Judy Cooperberg
  • 2004       – Lea Butterfield Vanderstok
  • 2005       – Sherry Lasagna
  • 2006       – Vivian Komori
  • 2007       – Linda Jones
  • 2008       – No Award
  • 2009       – Berna Mayer
  • 2010       – Jane Frye
  • 2011       – Dayle DeBry
  • 2012       – Sandy Corrales-Eneix  



  1 comment for “Athena Award nominees announced

  1. Jacob Nelson
    October 25, 2013 at 7:58 pm

    Congratulations to all!

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