Major Christy Utley was awarded the 2019 ATHENA Leadership Award® by the Marion Women’s Business Council in festivities that took place Monday, March 11, in The Barn at All Occasions.
“I am not usually at a loss for words,” said Utley. “This really means a lot.”
Utley began her career with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office as a dispatcher in 2000. Utley quickly proved herself as a dispatcher and auxiliary deputy, and was promoted to deputy sheriff in 2002. She was assigned to the MARMET Drug Task Force in 2004, where she remained for 10 years. Utley was then promoted to Lieutenant in 2015, and later was assigned to the detective bureau where she supervised general duty detectives and MARMET Drug Task Force officers. Her efforts and passion in her work earned a promotion to Major of Operations in 2018. She currently supervises patrol, investigations, dispatch, and the dog pound.
In the beginning of her law enforcement career, Utley faced the typical stereotypes and doubts from others. When she joined the sheriff’s office there were no females in the patrol unit, investigations, or MARMET Drug Task Force. The sheriff welcomed female officers, but applicants were rare, and very few women from dispatch or corrections pursued positions.
Nineteen years later, Utley changed that perception by proving herself and excelling in every position she has held, promoted through the ranks of the sheriff’s office on merit and perseverance. She’s a strong, caring, determined female officer who excels in a man’s world, a role model and inspiration for women interested in law enforcement. Utley serves as a mentor for all officers, but particularly women who are eager to follow in her footsteps. Her steady guidance and professional accomplishments have inspired countless new deputies and detectives.
In all Utley’s law enforcement positions, she displayed compassion and understanding for everyone, from victims, to suspects, to co-workers. These qualities make her an invaluable resource for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, or the families of those struggling with opiate addiction.
Utley has earned numerous awards, including the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association Medal of Honor for bravery in 2018 for her response in a violent shootout reacting to a situation where a local woman had been shot by an estranged boyfriend.
Utley was nominated by Chief Deputy Aaron Corwin.
As part of the Athena process, each winner choses a Marion-area charity of their choice for the proceeds of a silent auction and a $2,500 matching donation from Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial to be given to. Utley choose The Boys and Girls Club of Marion County who will receive $5,836 as a result of the generosity of many.
Other nominees included:
Joyce Butterman, Sole Member, Joyce’s Angels, LLC
Ellen Messenger, Director of Communications, Tri-Rivers Career Center
Jacqueline Ringer, Executive Director, Marion County Children Services
Amber Wertman, Executive Director, United Way of North Central Ohio, Inc.
Nicole Workman, Director of Communications, Marion Board of Developmental Disabilities
The ATHENA was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment – qualities embodied in the ATHENA Leadership Model. The Award is unique in both scope – local, national and international – and the ATHENA mission upon which it is based. The ATHENA Leadership Award is presented to an individual who is honored for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.
Marion Women’s Business Council is dedicated to inspiring women to reach their full potential through mentoring, networking education and recognition. Visit www.WomensBusinessCouncil.com for more information on the ATHENA or how to become a part the Marion Women’s Business Council.