Monmouth Regional Chamber Athena Award winners encourage others to make a difference

MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ – The Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce (MRCC) closed out 2021 with an in-person celebration of one of the organization’s signature events, the ATHENA Leadership Awards® International Luncheon. The gala, held in November at the elegant Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune, NJ, honored individuals for their outstanding career achievements, community service and mentoring women to help them reach their full potential as leadership. At the end of the day, two winners were announced from a stellar group of finalists whose inspiring stories were highlighted in a series of video profiles. Now, these winners look forward to another year to make a difference and encourage others to be recognized as ATHENA Award nominees for 2022.

The 2021 ATHENA Leadership Award was presented to Jodi Grinwald. With over 16 years of nonprofit experience, Grinwald began her career as a regional director at the American Heart Association, rising to executive director. She later served as vice president of development for the American Lung Association of the Mid-Atlantic. In 2017, she became co-founder and CEO of the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation, which provides ongoing funding for children in financial need to attend continuing education at performing arts studios close to home until ‘at 15. Grinwald started and leads the statewide nonprofit NJBIA Council and chaired the NJBIA Women’s Business Leaders Council and Forum. She is a mentor for NJ Advance Media’s Mentoring Monday event for women and is a Certified Professional Coach for Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and individuals. She also provides advisory services to nonprofit organizations, building their mindset as “impact” organizations. In 2020, Grinwald launched the Today is the Day Changemakers podcast and YouTube channel, where she interviews changemakers and inspirers, including CNN heroes, CEOs, professors, celebrities, entrepreneurs and others. people who make a difference in the world. In March 2022, she will launch the first international virtual forum Today is the Day Changemakers, connecting leaders from diverse backgrounds and sectors for an inspiring global summit. She is currently writing a book about her quest to help people feel more connected.

The ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award 2021 has been awarded to Kristina Henderson. She is the Managing Director and co-owner of Henderson Promos in Red Bank, NJ, was crowned the 2020 Ms. New Jersey American in the Mrs. America and placed in the top six in the Mrs. American 2021 in Las Vegas. . In June 2021, Henderson hosted “Stars of Women in Business,” a red carpet networking and awards event where women leaders in television, business, and the nonprofit arena were honored. for their contributions to the community and the advancement of women, and the first Kristina Henderson Empowering Young Women Scholarship for the university was presented. Henderson is an ambassador for the Tigger House Foundation, a substance abuse prevention organization, and serves on the advisory board of the Zzak G. Applaud Our Kids Foundation. She was a flight attendant before becoming a television news producer in New Hampshire and later founding, with her husband, Henderson Promos, LLC and the nonprofit Bart and Kristina Henderson Foundation, which will help fund community projects. Henderson is also the co-founder of The Giving Back Forum, an event that brings more than 65 nonprofit community organizations together in one space to learn from each other, share resources, and promote awareness of their causes.

Jodi Grinwald and Kristina Henderson are now working with other members of the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce’s ATHENA Committee to plan and promote this year’s event and the importance of the prestigious International ATHENA Leadership Award program, which celebrates women in as valued leaders who serve as role models and give back to the community in deeply meaningful ways. The program’s rich history, international reach and emphasis on mentorship make it one of the most prestigious leadership awards one can receive, with more than 6,000 honorees honored worldwide since inception. of the renamed program in 1982. The Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce is the only organization in New Jersey authorized to present the ATHENA Award and has hosted the event for 36 years. 2021 marked the seventh year that MRCC has presented the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, recognizing community leaders between the ages of 24 and 40. Look for more details in the coming months for the 2022 ATHENA Awards event, to be held in November.

About the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce


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The Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote business, enhance economic development and serve as a catalyst to improve the overall quality of life in the communities it serves. Its vision is to provide opportunities for business growth and prosperity, provide quality service to members, and serve as a resource leader for businesses and the community at large. The chamber represents the voice of business at the regional level.

For more information about the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce, including member benefits, upcoming events, sponsorship opportunities, and more, visit You can also like and follow the Monmouth Regional Chamber of Commerce on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram and subscribe to the organization’s YouTube channel to view videos of meetings, events and presentations.

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