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        Karen Grannemann Receives 2019 ATHENA

        Leadership Award

        SEVERAL MONTHS in the ATHENA Awards
        presentations, the moment was just as special
        for this year’s recipient, Karen Grannemann.
        The ATHENA Awards program was initially
        scheduled for March 24 but had to be postponed
        due to the  COVID pandemic.  Grannemann,
        CEO and general manager, was the University
        Club at  Michigan State University, formally
        received the ATHENA Award at a virtual
        presentation hosted by the Lansing Regional
        Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 8.

        “COVID may have prevented us from getting   Grannemann
        together, but there is one thing it cannot
        change, “said Grannemann. “How much this
        award means to me and how grateful I am.”

        Karen was recognized with the ATHENA
        award due to her excellence in professional                        Palmer                          Jenny Quinn and Trista Parisian
        leadership throughout a career that has
        spanned more than 40 years, her tireless                          “Since we couldn’t be together, I decided to create a community project we could
        commitment that has  made a  lasting impact                        do together,” said Grannemann. “Even in this time of separation.”
        in the community service arena, and her
        passionate support in mentoring other women.                       Learn more about the project and how to participate by attending the program
                                                                           by visiting
        Karen came to her position at the U-Club
        following a highly successful 20-year career                       Karen closed her remarks by paying tribute to her husband, Norman, a
        at the Educational Institute at the American   Auld                hydrogeologist who has spent much of his career on work related to the Great
        Hotel and Lodging Association. She noted                           Lakes. They are proud parents of two adult daughters, who continue their
        that her frequent travels kept her from being home with the family, and meant   mother’s leadership skills and dedication to community service. Sarah is vice
        her knowledge of the community was very limited, something she set out to   president of Baltimore Corps, a nonprofit that enlists talent to accelerate social
        change when she transitioned to the U-Club.                        innovation in Baltimore and advance a city-wide agenda for equity and racial
                                                                           justice. Laura is vice president of strategic investments for Quicken Loans.
        “While my girls were still young, I went to work at the U-Club, a place that
        epitomizes community,” said Grannemann. “I quickly learned how much I had   The ATHENA program also served as an opportunity to recognize recent
        been missing.”                                                     recipients  of the  ATHENAPowerLink  (APL)  Award.  This  program  that
                                                                           matches a deserving entrepreneur with a panel of experts who provide
        Karen  immersed herself in  the  community  and  over  the  past  two  decades   mentoring and consulting for one year, a program valued at $50,000. 2019
        has held leadership roles in a wide array of civic and service organizations,   recipient Leslie Auld of Therapy Today Counseling and Consulting said her
        including Zonta Club of East Lansing Area, Okemos School District, Ronald   panel helped her grow her business and refine her processes.
        McDonald House of Mid-Michigan, Literacy Volunteers of America, Junior
        League of Lansing, 100 Women Who Care, Wharton Center for Performing   “They also helped me grow as a leader,” said Auld. “I have grown so much over
        Arts, Greater Lansing Food Bank, Lansing Promise Foundation, Habitat for   the year.”
        Humanity Women Build, Athena WIN, and the Sparrow Foundation. She has
        made a significant impact on the effectiveness of each organization and the   2020 APL recipient Lauren Palmer of Curvaceous Lingerie has had a most
        achievement of its goals.                                          interesting year, most notably with COVID, which has hit the retail business
                                                                           particularly hard. She also had a baby in July.
        In response to the cancellation of the annual awards gathering, Grannemann
        used the virtual program to spotlight the community and invited everyone to   “There have been a few monkey wrenches that we have been encountering and
        join her in a project designed to enhance the love of reading in the Lansing   battling,” said Palmer. “I have to say the PowerLink advisors that I have been
        School District.  The program, called Lansing Reads, has three goals: to   gifted with over the course of the year have been instrumental, allowing me to
        provide every student with a CADL library card, to collect at least 200 videos   push through everything.”
        of area residents reading children’s books, and to raise $50,000 for Reading
        Is Fundamental (RIF), an organization that distributes children’s books to   The program also provided an opportunity to announce the 2021 APL
        LSD students.                                                      recipients, Jenny Quinn, and Trista Parisian of Flex City Fitness. n

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