BY KATHY GIBBONS
— TRAVERSE CITY — Cathie Martin was supposed to attend her young granddaughter’s school concert Monday night.
But someone convinced the adoring grandmother to skip the concert and instead attend the 19th annual Athena Grand Traverse Award ceremony. She did that — only because she believed someone else was getting the award.
Then 2012 Athena recipient Ranae McCauley announced that Martin herself was the 2013 recipient.
“I’m just overwhelmed,” she told a crowd at the Hagerty Center. “I really thought I was here to honor someone else tonight.”
Executive director of Infection Control Service, LLC, and the Michigan Infectious Disease Society, Martin exemplifies Athena traits in her professional and personal life, organizers said. Judges recognized that she has been instrumental in promoting the welfare of patients, advancing education for physicians and nurses and advocating for legislation that improves lives. She’s also a good friend and neighbor who “is part of the fabric of all we do and build and enjoy here,” McCauley said.
Criteria for selection includes success in personal and professional activities, community activities, volunteerism, supporting other women and mentoring.
“The Athena model is authentic self, celebration and joy, collaboration, advocacy, giving back, learning and relationships,” said Athena Award co-chair Jan Bassett.
Martin has donated tens of thousands of volunteer hours to a variety of organizations and charities, serving at the local, state, national and international levels. A member and past chair of the Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation board, she is also a longtime Zonta member.
Co-chair Allison Beers declined to say how many people were nominated. Names for candidates are submitted by friends and colleagues.
An independent group has kept the Athena Award tradition alive in Traverse City in recent years. Recipients may be men or women.
“It was done originally through the Chamber (of Commerce) and then, since that time it’s been taken on by different organizations,” Bassett said. “Basically, the Athena Grand Traverse Committee is a self-standing committee.”
For the first time, Athena Grand Traverse also awarded two scholarships to the Traverse City Area Chamber’s Mini MBA Certificate program accredited through Ferris State University. John Stocki and Courtney Sorrell received scholarships to attend the nine-month program that begins in September.