Three Slidell community leaders nominated for Athena award

Three Slidell community leaders have been nominated for the prestigious 2017 Athena Leadership Award(r). Kim Bergeron, Ellen Ellinwood Lamarque and Dr. Margo Guillot have been nominated for the award that celebrates exemplary leadership.

Sponsored by Ochsner Medical Center North Shore, the Athena Leadership Award(r) honors nominees who:

  • Demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession.
  • Provide valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in their community.
  • Actively assist women in achieving their full leadership potential.
  • Personify the tenets of the Athena Leadership Model.

This year’s nominees are:

Kim Bergeron, director of the St. Tammany Art Association, is a champion of the partnership between the arts and local economic development. The former Director of Cultural and Public Affairs for the City of Slidell, Bergeron raised more than $650,000 for arts programming in Slidell and led the economic development initiative that earned Slidell the National League of Cities Gold Award for Municipal Excellence. Bergeron also received numerous awards from the City County Communications Marketing Association, the Press Club of New Orleans, the Public Relations Associations of Louisiana and was recognized by Lt. Governors Mitch Landrieu and Jay Dardenne. In partnership with Donna O’Daniels, Bergeron also launched the Train of Hope for Sandy Relief that delivered more than $450,000 in relief supplies to Sandy victims from south Louisiana donors via Amtrak. Her newest service project is Storm Posse, a collaborative venture that has served more than 12,000 meals in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

llen Ellinwood Lamarque spent 28 years educating St. Tammany Parish children and has been honored for outstanding teaching by organizations including the Slidell Elks, Radio Shack/Tandy Outstanding Teachers Champion of the Classroom, the Ameri-chem USA Principal’s Outstanding Teacher Award, Wal-Mart Regional Teacher of the Year and the Louisiana Education of Distinction Award. Lamarque also was recognized as the Salmen High School Teacher of the Year on four separate occasions. She has served as President of the Slidell Women’s Civic Club and is active in organizations including Rainbow Child Care Center, East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce, Friends of the Harbor Center, Women’s Health Alliance, Slidell Memorial Hospital, Slidell Mainstreet Committee, and Keep Slidell Beautiful. Lamarque also has served as the Co-Director of the Young Entrepreneur Academy, which encourages youth business development.

Dr. Margo Guillot has spent her adult life helping at-risk children obtain an education. From developing reading labs and special curriculums while still in the classroom to supervising and teaching her methods to other teachers, Dr. Guillot has broken new ground in education. Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, she worked to implement authentic educational programs for special children. Dr. Guillot is a retired as assistant professor in Educational Leadership at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she served as co-coordinator of the Instructional Leadership Center. While there, she helped create an on-line Masters program. She was chairwoman of the Slidell-Panama Sister Cities and sponsored an international youth group, Slidell International Youth Association, that earned several awards from Reader’s Digest for Best Youth Program in Sister Cities. She also helped develop a Twin School Program with Panama to promote international awareness and goodwill.

A reception for the Athena nominees was held Sept. 19 at the Slidell home of John and Brenda Case.

Each of the nominees and the 2017 Athena Leadership Award(r) winner also will be honored at the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce’s October 11 Second Wednesday luncheon. Reservations for the Oct. 11 Second Wednesday luncheon may be made by contacting the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce at 985.643.5678.

Since 1989, the East St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce has supported the Athena Leadership Award(r), recognizing women and the mentorship of women, in both business and community affairs. The local Athena Leadership Award(r) is part of the Athena International Foundation. Through the Foundation, exemplary leaders in more than 500 communities have received the prestigious Athena Award in the United States, Bermuda, Canada, China, Greece, India, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom.

Last year, the Athena Leadership Award(r) winner was Kelly Rodriguez. Former recipients are Laurie Jugan, Kathy Lowrey Slidell Councilwoman Kim Harbison, Tara Ingram Hunter, Sharron Newton, Sylvia Black, Mary DuBuisson, Brenda Case, the late Dr. Jeanne Reeves, Irma Cry, the late Pearl Williams, Lydia Alford, Suzanne Parsons Stymiest, Dr. Joan Archer, Stephanie Schedler, the late Marilyn Faust, Judy Wood, Patricia Hedges, Gilda Perkins, and Carol Wolfram.

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