Photo: Past winners surround Loretta Hughes of Jerry Hughes Realty, second from left on first row, after she was named winner of the 2017 Athena Award Tuesday morning. From front, left to right, they are Cecil Broom, Loretta Hughes, Gisela Houseman, Betty Harmon, Marcelle Adams; middle row, Beverly Perry, Debbie Hughes, Nancy Vincent, Jane Whitfield, Courtney Burch-Arkeen; back row, Mary McKenna, Beth Räch, Pam Scales Honeycutt.

Staff Report – For The Record

Loretta Hughes of Jerry Hughes Realty was named Orange County’s winner of the 2017 Athena Leadership Award Tuesday morning at the annual Athena breakfast held at the Brown Center.
The event was emceed by Stephen Lee, CEO of First Financial Bank, which sponsored the breakfast.
The Athena Award is presented to a woman – or man – who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.
The award was inspired by the Greek goddess known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment, all qualities embodied in the Athena Leadership model.
The Athena Award was presented in 1993 for the first time in Orange County. The award was sponsored by Stephen Lee’s father, Bennis Lee, and was presented to Pam Scales Crew (Honeycutt). At that time this award was offered only to women but eligibility has since changed to accept nominations for men who’ve helped women achieve their goals.
As of now, no men in Orange County have been presented the Athena Award.
Every year nominations are accepted for this award prior to the awards presentation. Entries may be turned in at the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, First Financial Bank, or Steirman Whitfield CPA.