Recipients of the Monmouth Regional Chamber’s Athena Prize encourage others to make a difference

MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ – The Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce (MRCC) closed 2021 with an in-person celebration of one of the organization’s flagship events, the International ATHENA Leadership Awards® Luncheon. The gala event, held in November at the elegant Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune, NJ, honored individuals for their outstanding professional achievements, community service and mentoring of women to help them realize their full leadership potential. At the end of the day, two winners were announced from a distinguished group of finalists, whose inspirational stories were highlighted in a series of video profiles. Now these recipients look forward to another year of making a difference and encouraging others to be recognized as 2022 ATHENA Award nominees.

The ATHENA Leadership Award 2021 was presented to Jodi Grinwald. With over 16 years of non-profit experience, Grinwald began her career as a regional director at the American Heart Association, rising to executive director. She then served as vice president for development at the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. In 2017, she became co-founder and CEO of the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation, which provides ongoing instruction at performing arts studios near where they live for children with financial needs for up to 15 years. Grinwald founded and chairs the statewide NJBIA Not-for-Profit Council and has served as Chair of the NJBIA Women Business Leaders Council and Forum. She is a mentor for NJ Advance Media’s Mentoring Monday event for women and a certified professional coach for Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and individuals. She also provides consulting services to non-profit organizations, strengthening their mindset as “for-impact” organizations. In 2020, Grinwald launched the Today is the Day Changemakers podcast and YouTube channel, where she interviews changemakers and inspirers, including CNN heroes, CEOs, professors, celebrities, entrepreneurs and others making a difference in the world. In March 2022, she will launch the first international Today is the Day Changemakers Virtual Forum, bringing together leaders from diverse backgrounds and industries for an inspirational global summit. She is currently writing a book about her quest to help people feel more connected.

The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award 2021 was presented to Kristina Henderson. She is the Chief Executive Officer and co-owner of Henderson Promos in Red Bank, NJ, was crowned Mrs. New Jersey American in the 2020 Mrs. America Pageant and placed in the top six at the Mrs. American 2021 contest in Las Vegas. In June 2021, Henderson hosted “Stars of Women in Business,” a red carpet networking and awards event that honored female leaders in television, business and nonprofit for their contributions to the community and the advancement of women in the business First Kristina Henderson Empowering Young Women Scholarship for college was presented. Henderson is an ambassador for the Tigger House Foundation, a substance abuse prevention organization, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation. She was a flight attendant before becoming a television news producer in New Hampshire and later, with her husband Henderson, founded Promos, LLC and the nonprofit Bart and Kristina Henderson Foundation, which will help fund community projects. Henderson is also co-founder of The Giving Back Forum, an event that brings together more than 65 nonprofit nonprofits in one place to learn from each other, share resources, and raise awareness of their causes.

Jodi Grinwald and Kristina Henderson are now working with other ATHENA Committee Members from the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce to plan and promote this year’s event and the importance of the prestigious International ATHENA Leadership Awards program which celebrates women as valued leaders who serve as Serve as role models and give back to the community in deeply meaningful ways. The program’s rich history, international reach and focus on mentoring make it one of the most prestigious leadership awards available, with more than 6,000 recipients honored worldwide since the prestigious program’s inception in 1982. The Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce is the only organization in New Jersey licensed to present the ATHENA Award and has hosted the event for 36 years. 2021 was the seventh year that the MRCC has presented the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, which recognizes community leaders aged 24-40. More details about the ATHENA Awards 2022 event, which will take place in November, can be found in the coming months.

About the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce


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The Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit volunteer organization whose mission is to promote business, enhance economic development and serve as a catalyst for improving the overall quality of life in the communities it serves. Its vision is to create opportunities for business growth and prosperity, provide quality service to its members, and serve as a resource leader for businesses and the wider community. The Chamber represents the voice of business at the regional level.

For information about the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce, including member benefits, upcoming events, sponsorship opportunities and more, visit www.monmouthregionalchamber.com. You can also like and follow the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram and subscribe to the organization’s YouTube channel to watch videos of meetings, events and presentations.


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