Development VP wins ATHENA Award

Heidi Hansen McCrory, vice president for development at Sweet Briar College, was presented a 2007 ATHENA Award Oct. 23 by the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and the CENTRA Foundation.

The award was presented at the annual Women of Worth Luncheon, held at the Kirkley Hotel and Conference Center in Lynchburg during National Business Women’s Week, Oct. 21-27.

According to the ATHENA International Web site, the award recognizes professional women who “demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business profession,” “provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community” and “actively assist women in realizing their full leadership potential.”

The ATHENA Award is presented each year by women’s organizations, chambers of commerce and universities all over the world. Since 1982, more than 5,000 women in 500 communities have been honored.

McCrory was one of 15 professional women nominated from the Lynchburg area. As a winner of a local award, she is eligible for the International ATHENA Award, to be presented in the spring.

McCrory was nominated by her employees in the development office, both for her work at Sweet Briar as well as her volunteer efforts in the community. “The development office is very proud that Heidi won this award,” Sheila Alexander, development communications coordinator, said. “It is a small reflection of how much we appreciate her.”

In nominating their boss, development employees praised McCrory for “being an excellent role model, not just because her position dictates respect,” adding that she “earns our respect by working just as hard — if not harder — than anyone on her team. She is supportive of us in our jobs and in all our endeavors and encourages each of us to explore what makes us happy and to strive to reach our personal goals.”

Among other things, in addition to heading up the College’s fund-raising efforts, McCrory is active in the Girl Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council, where she is chair of the board of directors; a parent volunteer for the E.C. Glass High School Theatre, and a member of the Emerson College Parents Leadership Council.

She also has been a speaker and workshop leader at various professional conferences, including the Virginia Community Colleges Chancellor’s Annual Planning Retreat, Virginia Senior Leadership Seminar for Women in Higher Education, Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Sweet Briar College President Elisabeth Muhlenfeld also commended McCrory in a letter to the chamber of commerce.

“Throughout the time I have known her,” she wrote, “I have been amazed at Heidi McCrory’s energy and her dedication to strengthening the community. … Still, as busy as she is, it is Heidi who remembers people’s birthdays, and who takes the initiative to find ways to show those around her how much she values them.

“She is a good friend to many, many people across our community, and a wonderful role model for the girls and young women with whom she comes in contact through her work with the Girl Scouts and at Sweet Briar. She is without question one of Lynchburg’s most noteworthy women of worth.”