Judith L. Gentner named as the 2019 ATHENA Award Recipient

WATERTOWN, NY – The Greater Watertown–North Country Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Judith L. Gentner has been selected as the 2019 ATHENA Award recipient. This is the 28th annual ATHENA Award presented by the Greater Watertown–North Country Chamber of Commerce, supported by Platinum Sponsor WWNY 7News/WNYF FOX28, Gold Sponsor Northern Credit Union and others.

The ATHENA Award is a nationally and internationally recognized program introduced in Jefferson County in 1991, which celebrates the potential of all women as valued members and leaders of the community and recognizes those who support them. The ATHENA Award honors individuals who strive toward the highest levels of professional accomplishment, and those who excel in their chosen fields, have devoted time and energy into their community in a meaningful way, and those who open paths so that others may follow, while actively assisting women in realizing their full leadership potential.

The selection committee, composed of Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber board members, past ATHENA recipients, and business leaders, chose this year’s recipient, using official ATHENA International selection criteria. Past ATHENA recipient, Denise Young nominated Judith for the award with support from other outstanding community leaders.

Judith L. Gentner’s demonstrated excellence and leadership in her profession are without compare. Judy provided more than 30 years of decorated civilian service to the United States Army. She came to the North Country and Fort Drum in 1997 to serve as the Deputy Garrison Commander, the highest-ranking civilian position on the installation. In this capacity, she presided over the Fort Drum installations largest expansion in history – an over $1 billion-dollar expansion in a three-year period. Upon Judy’s retirement in 2011, COL Kenneth Riddle stated “The legacy Judy leaves behind is a strong work ethic, professionalism and incredible dedication…” At the same time, Denise Wallace, director of the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center called Judy the epitome of a selfless leader who always leads by example… a champion of each and every member of her workforce (1600 employees) taught us all by her example.”

Judith L. Gentner does not “sit” on committees and boards, she truly “serves” on them. Judy gives her time, her passion, her knowledge, her treasure and her energy to every organization that she becomes a part of. She is a humble service leader whose service in this community has resulted in a tangibly stronger community. Judy gives in both small and large ways. The list of organizations with which Judy is involved with is very impressive. To list just a few, Judy has served / serves an active role with the Watertown Urban Mission, Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization, Jefferson Community College, Watertown Family YMCA, AUSA, Operation Yellow Ribbon and more!

Judy Gentner has mentored and assisted the women around her throughout her career. She consistently lifts up other women and quietly teaches them, sometimes without their even being aware. Judy Gentner is woman leader who is also a leader of women. A model to be emulated. Three specific examples:

Beth Fipps, SMC Foundation Director, and an ATHENA recipient herself, states that Judy embodies the criteria for the Athena Award noting “I have immense respect for Judy and always viewed her as a mentor – her advice and knowledge to be unmatched… Judy models genuine friendship and care.” It was Judy who mentored Beth to navigate her role as the FDRLO Chair so successfully.

Erika Flint, FDRHPO, Executive Director and former Executive of the Watertown Urban Mission, also an ATHENA recipient herself, states “As a young leader, Judy started out as someone I simply admired and quickly became a mentor… Judy has shed light and perspective, she has opened doors, and she has provided clear direction when navigation as a leader can be difficult. Furthermore, she consistently challenges me to grow and excel and in doing so, has cultivated my leadership skills and inspired me to pass this along to other young women in our community.”

Denise Young, Watertown Family YMCA CEO, past ATHENA Recipient and nominator, “Judy Gentner has impacted my life in more ways than she can know. When I began my position with the FDRHPO, I knew nothing of Army leadership, yet my mission required me to engage Army leadership to the highest levels in meaningful and sometimes uncomfortable ways. Judy was a quiet force helping me to navigate the waters. Judy inspired me and motivated me to always stay focused on the mission to serve and to keep that in my actions. She helped me to remain strong and opened doors when I needed entry. The FDRHPO would not be the organization it is today, if Judy Gentner had not opened her door and her ear to me those years ago. Imagine my delight when I discovered Judy serving on the YMCA Board. Today when I have a difficult conundrum, it is Judy Gentner who I want to speak with about it. She mentors and counsels me, she ensures I consider all angles, her wisdom has made, and continues to make, me a better leader.”

Previous local ATHENA Award recipients dating from 1991 through 2018 are Rose Frattali, Michelle Pfaff, Janice Charles, Chandler Ralph, Lana Brown-Taylor, Cathy Pircsuk, Elizabeth Fipps, Deborah McGloine, Jayn Graves, Maria Roche, Margaret (Peg) Fargo, Ruth-Ellen Blodgett, Pamela Caswell, Jane Gendron, Mary Corriveau, Cindy Intschert, Katherine Fenlon, Donna Dutton, Jody LaLone, Pamela Beyor, Lisa Weber, Denise Young, Margaret (Peggy) Coe, Erika Flint, Carolyn Fitzpatrick, Dr. Carole McCoy, Catherine Quencer and Barbara Webber.

The 2019 ATHENA Award recipient will be presented with the award at a formal dinner, Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at the Hilton Garden Inn, Watertown. The Award Presentation & Dinner is supported by Platinum Sponsor WWNY 7News/WNYF FOX28, Gold Sponsor Northern Credit Union, and others. Reservations can be made by contacting the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce at 315-788-4400, events@watertownny.com or online at www.watertownny.com.