THE 2019 ATHENA AWARD RECIPIENT is Shelly Ochodnicky, of Owosso. The announcement was made on Friday, Dec. 14 at the Lincoln High School building on Alger Street. 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 (SRCC) became involved in the ATHENA Program in 1988 and the award has been presented locally for thirty-two years. The Schluckebier Hood Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisors of Owosso is the presenting sponsor of the ATHENA Award in Shiawassee County.

   Ochodnicky has served two terms on the Owosso Public Schools Board of Education, and she is a Certified Board Member through the Michigan Association of School Boards. In her time on the Owosso School board, she has served on the budget, finance and policy committees. She was reelected to the school board in November 2018 and received the highest number of votes in the district. Ochodnicky has also served eight years on the Owosso Public Schools Foundation Board and as an active volunteer in all of the OPS buildings for over 20 years.

    Shelly Ochodnicky is currently the president of the Owosso American Legion Unit 57 Auxiliary. Her son is a veteran of the U.S. Army, and Ochodnicky has served as a volunteer in many capacities helping our local veterans and their families. She is also currently a part of the Alliance for a Drug-Free Shiawassee team as chairperson of the parent committee.

   In winter 2017, she had the privilege of working directly with the county’s homeless population as the coordinator for the Salvation Army Warming Center. She currently serves as a Navigator with Shiawassee Hope and has helped dozens of people gain access to employment, housing and educational opportunities. Through Homeless Angels, Shelly’s most recent volunteer endeavor is taking the lead on opening a homeless shelter/campus in Owosso – and her dedication and enthusiasm toward this project is inspirational.

     “I am honored for being chosen for such a prestigious award,” Ochodnicky shared,  “All of the work I do is only possible because of our amazing, supportive community. We have so much more work to do to help pave a path for the upcoming generation of women. I am looking forward to 2019 and all of the possibilities. Thank you to all who believe in the work we are doing.”

   Ochodnicky is shown center with the roses, surrounded by SRCC members and ambassadors, family, friends, Owosso Public School administrators/board members/staff, SEDP President/CEO Justin Horvath, David Hood and Paul Schluckebier of the Schluckebier Hood Wealth Management Group and even her small grandchildren. The inset photo shows OPS Superintendent Dr. Andrea Tuttle congratulating Ochodnicky just after the announcement.

   A supporter of her nomination stated, “Shelly is also a small business owner and has mentored several young women toward starting their own businesses. She is a relentless advocate for children and homeless in our community. Serving in numerous capacities, she is passionate about everything she does.”

   Shelly Ochodnicky will be formally honored at the Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce 2019 Annual Dinner and Awards Night on Thursday, Jan. 24 at D’Mar Banquet & Conference Center in Owosso. Tickets are available for online purchase at

   SRCC advances the economic success of the region by aligning information and resources and investing in people who create the future.

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)

The ATHENA Award recipient was last modified: December 24th, 2018 by Karen Elford