Ellen Messenger is the 2022 recipient of the Athena Award, presented by the Marion Women’s Business Council. She was one of eight nominees for the 2022 award. Messenger serves as a board member for numerous organizations in Marion County. She has worked at Tri-Rivers Joint Vocational School District since 1990.
A Marion County woman who prefers to work behind the scenes to serve her community is the 2022 winner of the Marion Women’s Business Council (WBC) Athena Award.
Caledonia resident Ellen Messenger was announced as the winner during the WBC’s annual luncheon held Tuesday at The Barn at All Occasions Catering in Waldo. Her husband, Paul, accompanied her to the event.
“I’m definitely a behind-the-scenes person,” said Messenger, who has been the community relations director for Tri-Rivers Joint Vocational School District since 1990. “I love to see other people shine and I like to events and things that celebrate other people’s successes.”
Inspired by the Greek goddess representing strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment, the Athena Award is presented to an individual in the Marion County community who shows professional excellence, creativity, initiative, and leadership to Marion County’s women.
Messenger said the work that the Women’s Business Council does is vital to fostering the success of women in Marion County.
“I think it’s important for women to support women and reach back around to younger women and pull them up so maybe they don’t have to go through the same things you went through,” she said. “You can mentor them and help them on their path to be successful. I know at the stage of life that I’m in, it makes me happy to see young women be successful and get involved in the community. Anything we can do to encourage that is good.
“We have some really neat young women coming up and that excites me because I’m getting close to the end of my career, so I feel good when I see young people stepping up and getting involved. I hope I can encourage them to do that.”
For Messenger, there’s no place she’d rather live and work than Marion County. She noted that being active in the community brings her joy.
“I love Marion. I’ve loved being in Marion from the time that I moved here,” she said. “I was working in Columbus, but I wanted to work where I lived. So once I did that, it made my heart happy to be part of what’s going on. And to see Marion right now, getting back on its feet and doing amazing things, if I can play some small part in that it feels really good. I just believe in Marion.
“I think we’re headed someplace really good. I think we’re already in a good place.”
Ellen Messenger said her husband, Paul, is her greatest supporter. She is the recipient of the 2022 Athena Award presented by the Marion Women’s Business Council. They are shown at the awards luncheon held Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at The Barn at All Occasions Catering in Waldo.
Diane Watson, Messenger’s longtime friend, and colleague, and Charles Speelman, superintendent of the Tri-Rivers Joint Vocational School District, nominated her for the award.
“With Ellen it is truly about the cause and not the applause,” Speelman wrote in his nomination. “She often works tirelessly behind the scenes. She doesn’t believe her service is to Tri-Rivers only, but to the community as a whole. Giving her time and talents to the community is all about helping Marion grow and succeed one person at a time.”
Messenger said she appreciates the support and friendship both Watson and Speelman have extended to her over the years that she’s known them. However, she noted that her husband, Paul, is her greatest supporter.
“Paul is accepting of me being gone a lot and working on things,” she said. “Oftentimes, he’s helping me with a lot of things, so he’s been that true support all the way through. He’s a behind-the-scenes person himself, but he’s more than willing to go to everything with me and help out, so I definitely thank him for all of his support. Any award also goes to him, too.”