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KC Chamber honors two women with the ATHENA Leadership Award

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will host  the ATHENA Leadership Awards reception on October 15.
The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will host the ATHENA Leadership Awards reception on October 15.
Eric Jacobson

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce recently honored Betsey Solberg and Marshaun Butler with the coveted
ATHENA Leadership Award for displaying exemplary leadership across professional sectors, giving their time and talent to the community, and actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence.

Founded nearly 30 years ago, ATHENA International women’s leadership organization has paid tribute to more than 6,000 women. The KC Chamber has honored local leaders including Mamie Hughes, Susan Stanton, and Kathleen Sebelius since it began hosting the program in 2001.

“In addition to her great success at FleishmanHillard, Betsey is a great civic leader and one of the most outstanding people Kansas City has produced,” said Jim Heeter, president and chief executive officer of the KC Chamber. “She is a role model for all of us – no matter our gender – but for women especially. During her long career, Betsey has blazed trails in both her work and her community. And one look at Marshaun's nomination form tells you this young woman is exemplary. These awards are well-deserved.”

Solberg, 2014 Kansas City ATHENA Leadership Award recipient, is an executive consultant for FleishmanHillard Kansas City. Solberg was raised in Dallas, Texas and came to Missouri via the University of Missouri Journalism School. She began her career as a reporter for The Kansas City Star. Following brief stints at WDAF-TV and Park College, Solberg opened FleishmanHillard Kansas City in 1977 as the first office outside the firm’s headquarters city of St. Louis. As a senior partner, Solberg was involved in the firm’s planning for its massive growth in the 1980s and ‘90s. She led the firm’s expansion into Canada in the early ‘90s, where she was president. In 1998, she was named regional president and co-chair of the firm’s worldwide operating committee. In 2003, she became more involved in building up and overseeing the firm’s operations in the Asia Pacific and in 2006 she retired to spend her time as a weekend potter and community volunteer. In 2009 she was asked to return to FleishmanHillard as an executive consultant.

Solberg is active in civic and business leadership, serving on executive committees and boards of the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, the Truman Library Institute, UMKC Trustees and the Bloch School of Management and Entrepreneurship, UMKC Foundation and Truman Library Institute, among others. She was the first female Chair of the KC Chamber from 1994-1995.

The 2014 ATHENA Young Professional Leadership award goes to Marshaun Butler. As vice president for Children’s Mercy South Hospital and Regional Medical Practices, she is responsible for overseeing facility operations, guiding and directing planning activities, and coordinating resource utilization and management. She began her career at Health Midwest, and has grown in her profession over the past decade with The Children’s Mercy Hospitals. In her free time, Butler volunteers with non-profit groups, assisting with strategic planning. Her involvement includes Mattie Rhodes, Swope Ridge Geriatric Center, and Johnson County Community College Foundation, among others. She is an influential member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Her honors and awards include Who’s Who in Black Kansas City, The KC Chamber’s Centurions Leadership Program, and KU Health Care Executive of the Future Award.

The recipients of Kansas City’s 14th annual awards will be celebrated at a reception on October 15, 2014 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $25 for KC Chamber members and $30 for non-members. Contact: to purchase tickets.

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