THE 2018 ATHENA RECIPIENT was honored Wednesday, Dec. 20 just before an Owosso Community Player’s meeting at the Lebowsky Center on Main Street in Owosso. Carrie Rathbun Hawks, APR, of Laingsburg, and president of Rathbun Public Relations, is this year’s recipient. A large number of community members and friends came out to surprise her with the prestigious honor. 

   “I just feel so honored and blessed. Blessed by the Lord. I’m so thankful everybody is here,” said Rathbun Hawks.

   In the far left photo, David Hood, Sue Ludington (the 2017 ATHENA recipient) and Paul Schluckebier, greeted Rathbun Hawks with roses in the lobby as they surprised her with the announcement. The second photo shows Rathbun Hawks, all smiles, surrounded by OCP Christmas decorations, as she paused for photographers.

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)


The ATHENA Award is an international award presented to an exceptional individual who has achieved excellence in his/her business or profession, has served the community in a meaningful way, and has assisted women in reaching their full potential. The Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce became involved in the ATHENA Program in 1988 and the award has been presented locally for 31 years. The Schluckebier/Hood Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors of Owosso is the presenting sponsor of the ATHENA Award.

The 2018 ATHENA Award recipient is Carrie Rathbun Hawks, APR, of Laingsburg. Rathbun Hawks is president of Rathbun Public Relations. She has practiced public relations for 23 years and is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). The Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce honored her with the 2014 Mission Award for her dedication to the mission and vision of the chamber. In 2012, she was chosen by her peers as the PACE Maker of the Year from PRSA’s Central Michigan Chapter.

Rathbun Hawks has championed many community causes from the local student PRSA chapter at MSU, Mid-Michigan PRSA, her church (being a certified lay speaker, running the high school youth group and serving on many committees), to long time service on other boards like the Clothesline (Laingsburg resale shop for in-need families), WKAR advisory board, ePIFany Now (an area pass kindness forward group), Laingsburg Business and Community Association past president, Laingsburg Educational Advancement Foundation past president and Laingsburg Band Boosters member and volunteer. A project dear to her heart is Ele’s Place in Lansing, where she volunteered for over 20 years as a board member and leading counseling sessions for children who are grieving at the loss of a parent.

Rathbun Hawks serves on the board of directors for the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce and was chair of the board from 2010 through 2012. As board chair, her work on the proposed redevelopment of the Armory Project was instrumental. Under her leadership and with great teamwork by many other community leaders, the project is moving along and the repurposed building will be a showcase for the region.

A supporter of her nomination stated, “Carrie is driven to help others and walks tall in her role as a business and community leader. She embodies the very spirit Athena stands for. Carrie is generous, supportive and encouraging and is a true inspiration to me and to those who know her. It is in Carrie’s nature to always seek to bring out the best in others. Carrie’s optimism is contagious. She is authentic. Her commitment to making our community a great place to live and do business is unwavering.”

Carrie Rathbun Hawks will be formally honored at the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce 2018 Annual Dinner and Awards Night on Thursday, January 25, 2018 at D’Mar Banquet & Conference Center in Owosso.

ATHENA Award Announced was last modified: December 26th, 2017 by Karen Elford