Mendy Mazzo, left and Brenda Gadd

NASHVILLE, TN — The Nashville ATHENA Leadership Awards Program announced its 2019 award recipients recently at the Country Music Hall of Fame. Mendy Mazzo was honored with the 2019 ATHENA Award. Brenda Gadd received the Young Professional Leadership Award. Mazzo is among 26 ATHENA nominees selected this year by middle Tennessee organizations and associations, and Gadd represents a class of 25 Young Professional Award nominees.

“Tonight is a celebration for and of our nominees.  Our nominees are leaders who display excellence in all that they do and are intentional about mentoring others, especially young women.  All of these women embody the qualities of the Greek Goddess ATHENA – wisdom, courage and fierceness in all they do,” said ATHENA Chair Andrea Perry. “Both of our recipients are exemplary women who have achieved great success in their careers and gone above and beyond to serve their communities. Katie and I congratulate each of our recipients and our 51 nominees for their dedication and exemplary leadership. It has truly been a true honor to chair this amazing program!”

Mendy Mazzo is the Corporate Senior Vice President of National Business Development at Skanska USA. Mendy has a passion for issues related to diversity and inclusion and was instrumental in the development of Skanska’s Diversity Business Program and is Immediate Past National Chair & Founding Member of the Skanska’s Women’s Network (nominating organization). Mendy was honored by the Nashville Business Journal as a Woman of Influence in 2012 and has received numerous recognitions, in addition to serving on multiple non-profit organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, Cumberland Region Tomorrow, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Nashville, Hands on Nashville and Josie Mazzo Children’s Charities..

Nominated by CABLE, Brenda Gadd is the founder and president of Rethink Public Strategies, a woman-owned public affairs firm, where she represents nonprofits and socially conscious companies in the public policy and political arenas. Brenda previously served as the Public Policy Director of the Tennessee Bar Association and Vice President of CivicPoint. She managed the successful statewide retention election of three Tennessee Supreme Court Justices and became the first woman to manage three statewide successful candidates, including a successful statewide Democratic candidate. She also served as Chief of Staff in the Tennessee Senate and then as a Legislative Liaison in Governor Bredesen’s administration.

ATHENA continues to be a premier program, powered by CABLE. The annual event is organized and sponsored through the collaborative efforts of local women’s organizations in partnership with local businesses, corporations and individual sponsors, unlike other cities, which rely upon their local Chamber of Commerce.


The ATHENA Awards Program honors business and professional women for their career success, service to community and encouragement of women.  This year’s ATHENA nominees include:

Andrea Blackman

Cheryl Farrar

Mendy Mazzo

Lisa Booker

Kristi Faulkner Lewis

LaMona Prince McCarter

Terry Renee’ Browne

Paula Foster

Nicole Rowan

Patricia Burks-Jelks

Cathey Gurley

Stephani Ryan

Lottye Covington

Leslie Hayes

Yanika Smith Bartley

Laura Creekmore

Michele Herlein

Laquita Stribling

Angelita Dalton

Keri Floyd Kelly

Dawana Wade

Jenean Davis 

Brittany Lorenzi

Vivian Wilhoite

Ana Escobar

Anne Martin

ATHENA also provides the unique opportunity to feature rising women in the community who use their vision and persistence to excel, while reaching out and opening the way for others.  This year’s ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award nominees include:

Nicole Adams

Brenda Gadd

Charlane Oliver

Ora L. Bransford

Jennifer Hillen

Matia Powell

Jenny Charles

Jamica Hines

Nekasha Pratt

Jade Dodds

Monchiere Holmes-Jones

Allison Reynolds

Leah Dupree

Kyonzte Hughes-Toombs

Lorelei Samuelson

Meredith Ficken

Royya James

LaKisha Simmons

Danielle Frazier

Kristal Knight

Kearston Winrow

Tya Frelix

Phylicia Moye

Bria Woods

Melinda Noblitt

Launched in 1993 through the support of the Patrons Society and local sponsors, the ATHENA Scholarship Program awards middle Tennessee high school females and young women, both traditional and non-traditional, scholarships for continuing their education.

This year ATHENA presented $14,850 in scholarships to 11 deserving students, who include:

Tammy Guo

Katelyn Stark

Emily Gwydir

Annabelle Taylor

Emily Lu

Caroline Tracy

Emily Jackson

McKenzie Williamson

Lauren Pinckar

Rhea Zaverchand

Skyler Sopko