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Virtual 2020 ATHENA Awards Honor the Pittsburgh Region’s Top Women

Article by the Pittsburgh Technology Council

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The Pittsburgh Technology Council honored the Pittsburgh region’s most influential women at the 2020 ATHENA Awards Program of Greater Pittsburgh event on September 11, 2020. 

The ATHENA Award & ATHENA Young Professional Award recognize women who demonstrate excellence in their profession, contribute to their community, and mentor other women and/or girls. 

The virtual event drew nearly 300 participants to celebrate the accomplishments of this year’s finalists and winners. The event also raised proceeds to fund scholarships through RedChairPGH to encourage and support the development of women leaders across the Pittsburgh region.

 

2020 ATHENA Award Winner

Dr. Angela Reynolds, PhD
CEO, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh

Dr. Angela Reynolds is a leader who involves everyone in her success and whose community involvement has impacted countless lives. She fosters space for those around her to flourish and builds systemic change to provide opportunities for women, especially women of color. Since becoming CEO of YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, Dr. Reynolds has cultivated a safe and supportive workplace culture within a predominantly female environment by allowing and encouraging employees to learn, problem-solve, take risks, build confidence, and grow.

It was through Dr. Reynolds’ leadership that YWCA was able to quickly adapt to COVID-19 and transition all programming to a virtual setting—ensuring operational business continuity and access to critical services for women and families in the Pittsburgh community. Her leadership at YWCA Greater Pittsburgh during the pandemic ensured that vulnerable families had access to basic needs such as food, housing, and utilities. Additionally, with YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, she is active in advancing racial justice statewide through a coalition of YWCAs and led the formation of YW Wednesday Action Conversations—panel discussions that feature women of color with diverse professional backgrounds who provide education, resources, and specific action steps that community members can take to impact change. Throughout most of her career, Dr. Reynolds has been the only African American woman in leadership at her workplace. To rise to this challenge, Dr. Reynolds has intentionally coalesced advocates and allies who partner with her to strengthen internal diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and service to the community. Prior to her work at YWCA, she served as Senior Director United for Families and 2-1-1 at United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Dr. Reynolds was instrumental in shaping the United for Women initiative—an initiative to help women get back on their feet that served over 10,000 women throughout her seven-year tenure.

Throughout her adult life Dr. Reynolds has seized opportunities to mentor, encourage, and support women and girls in their leadership development. A long-time volunteer of the 3 Cups of Coffee program at PA Women Work, Dr. Reynolds has mentored women job seekers. She has helped them build confidence and ambition to grow their careers as well as tangible interview and networking skills. Continuing in this mentoring vein, Dr. Reynolds’ legacy as a professor is carried through the 1,000+ students she taught during her tenure at the University of Pittsburgh. She also serves as the Associate Pastor at First Baptist Church in West Mifflin. In this role, she supervises many of the programmatic elements of the congregation, including the Praise & Worship Ministry and the Christian Education staff. Like her other leadership roles, Dr. Reynolds uses this position to encourage and mentor the church staff and volunteers, creating opportunities for them to step into their own leadership.

Dr. Reynolds is a proud mother of four and caregiver for her mother. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from Bryn Mawr College, a Master’s Degree in Statistics from Carnegie Mellon University, and a PhD in Public Policy Analysis from the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University.

2020 ATHENA Award Finalists

  • Yvonne Cook, President, Highmark Foundation
  • Dr. Kathi Elliott, CEO, Gwen’s Girls
  • Dr. Doris Rubio, Ph.D., Assistant Vice Chancellor for Clinical Research Education and Training, Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh
  • Tanya Vokes Mallory, CEO, Dress for Success Pittsburgh

 

2020 ATHENA Young Professional Award Winner

Sharnay Hearn Davis
#SistersLiftingasWeClimb Network

Sharnay Hearn Davis is well-known among her peers as beacon of positivity; she has shown grit and determination in paying it forward through community involvement and mentorship. Upon realizing her path and calling to serve women and girls, Hearn Davis was quick to become a leader in the field—quickly recognizing a gap in our region for Black women and stepping in and to fill that space. 
She has committed her life's work to education, social justice, and creating equitable opportunities for all citizens. Her focus on resilient and under-resourced populations or communities is evident in her past and current leadership roles with the City of Pittsburgh, the Historic Hill House Association, Gwen's Girls, and her many volunteer community service roles. She has dedicated her professional career to addressing the issues of poverty as a social work professional, public sector leader, and a dedicated social justice advocate. 

In 2015, she created the #SistersLiftingasWeClimb Network, a group that regularly engages with more than a thousand women of color from the region to support their personal and professional development. Many leaders understood this challenge, but it was Hearn Davis whose leadership abilities allowed her to act and innovate. The #SistersLiftingasWeClimb Network understands that vulnerability is integral to growth and it gives women the space to be exactly who they are. #SistersLiftingasWeClimb provides women of color with a support system to help one another deal with everyday transgressions. Hearn Davis is passionate and committed to leveraging her personal and professional network to create and broker opportunities so that women of color can continue to improve the quality of life for themselves, their families, and the community at large.

Her passion, unsurpassed integrity, and empathy have led her to numerous community engagement, advocacy, and volunteer efforts. When Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto recruited Hearn Davis to join his administration as a community liaison for the Office of Community Affairs, she was called to use her talents to engage individuals, neighborhood groups, families, and businesses to ensure they have access to the information, services, and resources that they need. She continues to use her voice and talents to help people confidently use theirs. In 2012, Sharnay became a One Young World Ambassador, representing the City of Pittsburgh on a global stage. 

Hearn Davis is not just changing the region; she is changing the world—evidenced by her receipt of the 2020 Inspiring Success in Non-Profit Junior Achievement award for her efforts. She also has managed to maintain excellence in her role at Duquesne University. As a mentor for young Women of Color at Duquesne, Hearn Davis has created a culture where women of color feel up for any challenge and she has excelled in her roles with the Center for Catholic Faith and Culture, Center for Community Engaged Teaching and Research, as well as the Elsinore-Bennu Think Tank for Restorative Justice. 

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Slippery Rock University, a Master’s Degree in Community Leadership from Duquesne University, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education Degree in Educational Leadership and Administration also from Duquesne University.
 

2020 ATHENA Young Professional Award Finalists

  • Bhavini Patel, CEO & Co-Founder, BeamData
  • Amanda Susko, Senior Director, Foundation Programs & Strategic Planning, Pittsburgh Penguins

 

Click here to review the full list of 2020 ATHENA & ATHENA Young Professional Award nominees!

 

The 2020 ATHENA Awards was sponsored by:

  • UPMC Health Plan

Diamond Sponsor:

  • Citizens bank
  • Gold Sponsors:
  • BNY Mellon
  • KPMG
  • PNC
  • Williams

Silver Sponsors:

  • Accenture
  • Comcast Business
  • Fort Pitt Capital
  • Herbein
  • Pittsburgh Penguins
  • YWCA Greater Pittsburgh

Bronze Sponsors:

  • Citrone Thirty Three Foundation
  • Meyer Unkovic Scott

Media Sponsor:

  • Channel 4 WTAE

Production Sponsor and Photo Booth Sponsor:

  • SkinnyTie Media

Creative Sponsor:

  • C-Leveled

Print Sponsor:

  • Heeter