Kathy Walsh, director of marketing for Fallston Group, received the ATHENA Leadership Award and Paige Boyle, director of marketing and customer relations for Boyle Buick GMC, received the newly established ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award at the annual ATHENA Leadership Award Breakfast March 3 at the Richlin Ballroom.
The ATHENA Leadership Awards are organized by the Harford Community College Foundation. Suzanne Fischer-Huettner, group publisher of BridgeTower Media, was the breakfast's keynote speaker. Huettner discussed her career path as the first female publisher of The Daily Record and her commitment to mentoring.
Walsh, who has been director of marketing for Fallston Group since 2016, was presented the ATHENA Leadership Award, given yearly to an exemplary leader who has achieved excellence in business or profession, served the community in a meaningful way and assisted women to achieve their full leadership potential.
"It is a tremendous honor to be named this year's ATHENA award recipient, particularly from such a highly-qualified group of finalists, each of whom are successful professionals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, mentoring and dedication to our community," Walsh said. "For me, the most gratifying part about being a part of the ATHENA program was having my two teenage daughters present to see just how much positive impact female leaders can have on the community. I hope this inspires them and others in the next generation to make a difference, each and every day."
Prior to joining Fallston Group, Walsh served as president and founder of JigSaw Marketing Solutions; senior communications specialist for A. Bright Idea; marketing coordinator for CSD Architects; director of marketing for Curiosity Kits and senior product manager for Life-Like Products. She has also been a contributing writer for I95 Business.
Active in the community, Walsh is secretary/treasurer of Friends R Family Foundation; an appointed member of Harford County Mental Health & Addictions Advisory Council; member of the Maryland Center for the Arts' Dancing for the Arts Gala Committee and a chaperone for the Hickory Fountain Green Rec Council Ski Club. She is a certified QPR (suicide prevention instructor).
In 2015 and 2013, Walsh was named to the Baltimore Business Journal's Fastest-Growing Woman Owned-Business list. In 2011, she received an American Marketing Association Award.
Walsh holds a master's in marketing from The Johns Hopkins University Carey School of Business; a bachelor's in mass communications from Loyola University Maryland; and an associate's in general studies from Stevenson University.
"To be recognized as a finalist is an incredible honor among so many accomplished business women. To win speaks volumes about Kathy's lifelong body of work," Fallston Group Chief Executive Rob Weinhold says. "However, what was most touching to me was the human moment of watching Kathy's daughters admire and celebrate their mom while recognizing the extraordinary impact she has had on many others' lives."
A new award honoring an emerging leader age 40 or under, the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award, was presented to Boyle, who has been director of marketing and customer relations at Boyle Buick GMC since 2010. Prior to joining the dealership, Boyle worked for the Baltimore Ravens for 12 years, first as a sales associate in the ticket office and then as senior sales consultant in corporate sales.
Boyle is very active in the community. She serves as chair of United Way of Central Maryland Harford County Partnership Board and is on the board of directors of United Way of Central Maryland. In addition, she is chair of the board of the Harford County Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Chesapeake Professional Women's Network, Route 40 Business Association and Association of the United States Army.
Boyle holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Towson University.
The first ATHENA Leadership Scholarship was presented at the breakfast to Havre de Grace resident Katie Flynn, a second-year business student at Harford Community College. The scholarship, valued at $1,000, is awarded to an adult returning to college who exemplifies professionalism and commitment to the community, with first preference given to a female student. The recipient must be a Harford County resident, enrolled at least half time (six-plus credits) with a minimum 3.0 GPA.
Each year, the previous ATHENA Leadership Award recipient chooses a community nonprofit to receive a donation. A check for $500 was presented at the breakfast to the Maryland Center for the Arts in honor of last year's recipient, Carolyn Evans, a partner at Sengstacke and Evans LLC.
The presenting sponsor of the ATHENA Leadership Award Breakfast was The Daily Record. The platinum sponsors were Harford Community College and The Harford Mutual Insurance Companies. Gold Sponsors were Chesapeake Professional Women's Network and MNS Group. Silver sponsors were Booz Allen Hamilton, Bravura Information Technology Systems and Express Employment Professionals. Bronze sponsors were A Better Answer, APG Federal Credit Union, The Arc Northern Chesapeake Region, Association of the U.S. Army, Beacon Staffing Alternatives, 1st Mariner Bank, Harford Bank, Harford County Chamber of Commerce, Laurel Bush Family Dentistry, M&T Bank, Maryland Center for the Arts, MediaWise Inc., Sengstacke & Evans, LLC, United Way of Central Maryland and University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. In-kind sponsors were Boyle Buick GMC and Flowers by Bauers. Media sponsors were Harford Cable Network and I95 Business.