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Luisa Schumacher named 2009 ATHENA Young Professional Award recipient

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Grand Rapids - West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) executive director Luisa Schumacher was awarded the 2009 ATHENA® Young Professional Award by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce at the 20th Annual ATHENA Award Celebration Luncheon. The award was created in late 2007 by ATHENA International, and adopted by the Grand Rapids Chamber in 2008. It recognizes emerging leaders in communities with ATHENA programs. ATHENA honors those who have demonstrated leadership in her/his field, opened doors of opportunities for women, contributed time and talent to the community, and are role models to others – particularly young women – in the community. Thirteen women were nominated for the award this year.

“Through her role at WMCAT and her involvement in many areas of the Grand Rapids community, Luisa is a constant advocate for building a brighter future for the entire community,” said Jeanne Englehart, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. “She is an amazing example for all the young leaders in the community, and we are so pleased to have her as our ATHENA Young Professional Award recipient this year.”

Schumacher heads the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, a non-profit focused on career training and job placement for unemployed adults and high school retention through after-school arts programming. WMCAT provides opportunities for people of all ages to seek, learn and grow in an environment that will inspire hope and motivate them to make positive social change and economic progress in their lives and community.

When accepting the award, Schumacher thanked the people in her life who have mentored and encouraged her throughout her career, then reminded the crowd of more than 400 to remember the unemployed and the children living in poverty in our community.

In addition to the presentation of the ATHENA Young Professional Award, today’s luncheon also featured the Chamber’s 2009 ATHENA Award presentation to Nancy Skinner of Varnum Consulting, the presentation of more than $5,000 in scholarships to five women over 30 who have returned to college to complete their degrees, and recognition of Grand Rapids’ ATHENA Award recipients for the past 20 years.


About the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
With more than 120 years of experience creating opportunities for business success, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is the premier business membership organization in West Michigan. Though the area’s largest employers are among its 2,800 member businesses, more than 80% of members are small companies with 50 or fewer employees. By helping members connect, grow and succeed, the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is a community partner that provides value for members, enhances the business climate in the area, and advocates for public policy that supports economic growth and vitality.

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Congrats Luisa!