In March, the Youngstown/Regional Chamber released its 2023 Athena Award Nominees. STN will be showing and honoring the women of the valley over the next couple of weeks.
The ATHENA Award honors individuals who strive toward the highest levels of professional accomplishment: women who excel in their chosen field, have devoted time and energy to their community in a meaningful way and also open doors so that others may follow in their path.
Showcasing some of the great women of the 2023 ATHENA Award Nominees:
Dr. Sherry Cross
The role Dr. Sherry Cross played in saving the adult education programs at Choffin Career & Technical Center cannot be understated. Enrollment during the pandemic had fallen to the point where the programs were on the brink of closure, so Dr. Cross rolled up her sleeves and went to work.
The director of adult education programs at the school in Youngstown developed a plan to reverse the trend that included recruitment, retention, accreditation and articulation. She emphasized customer service, satisfaction and feedback to cultivate a positive school culture.
A partnership with Kent State University for the surgical technology program allowed it to meet new credential standards, and partnering with the university opened the door for students to continue their education by creating a bridge from the practical nursing program into a registered nurse program.
Her work to raise the bar resulted in increased enrollment. But perhaps more importantly, Dr. Cross’ work led to programs to better meet the needs of local employers by creating well-trained and credentialed graduates.
The board member of the Springfield Salvation Army, YMCA and NAACP was a founding principal of an alternative school in central Ohio.
In five years, Lena Esmail, owner and CEO of QUICKmed, has created a system of affordable and sustainable health care focused on equity in underserved areas. She has grown QUICKmed from one clinic in Liberty that opened in 2018 to 10 specialty and urgent care clinics in the region, with multiple centers in the Valley.
One key feature of QUICKmed is the full-service, school-based clinics that provide access to care for students in Youngstown, Liberty, Salem, Crestview and at the Trumbull Career & Technical Center in Champion.
Lena has also worked with Choffin Career & Technical Center to create an LPN program for juniors in the Youngstown City School District. The program, open to all, but with a focus to inspire and empower young women, is set to start next year.
She was given the Alumni of the Year Award from Youngstown State University in 2022 and sits on the board of directors for the YMCA and the Youngstown Business Incubator, as well as the advisory board of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services at YSU.
Lena also supports the Liberty Schools and has committed $50,000 to maintain the district’s running track.
Within months of joining the J. Arnold Wealth Management Company in 2019, Danielle Fraelich knew it was where she belonged, so she looked to grow her career in financial services with the firm. She was promoted to team leader in 2021 and in 2022, she was made vice president, a role in which she manages operations, fees, compliance, trade requests, annuity applications and more.
And she’s doing this all while being a wife and a mother to a young son, proving you can achieve anything you set your mind to while also showing other women they don’t have to choose between a career and being a mother and wife.
Becoming the VP of a wealth management company requires dedication, consistency, professionalism and the desire to help those in the company grow – all qualities that Danielle exhibits in abundance and correlate to the growth and success of the company.
She also gives of her time and supports several local organizations, including St. Baldrick’s Foundation for Childhood Cancer, Warren Family Mission, Someplace Safe, the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County and United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.
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