Callie Miller, left, and Ana Wood

Top honorees tonight at Lakeland’s inaugural Athena Awards included Ana Wood (leadership award), Laura Lear (young professional) and Top Buttons (organization).

The Athena Awards, a collaboration between the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce and the Junior League of Greater Lakeland, recognize women leaders who have made significant accomplishments and enhanced the community.

The thirteen finalists included:


  • Aliana Payret, associate attorney at Robinson Pecaro & Mier, P.A.
  • Ana Wood, waste & recycling director, Polk County Board of County Commissioners
  • Donna McWilliams, owner of My Pet’s Animal Hospital
  • Janice Tedder Jones, principal, tax, Central Florida of CliftonLarsonAllen, LLP
  • Nancy Cattarius, vice president/general manager WONN/WPCV/WLKF/WWRZ


  • Aliana Payret, associate attorney at Robinson Pecaro &  Mier, P.A.
  • Callie Miller, president & CEO, Lifeshare Management Group, a Centene Corporation Company
  • Christina Criser Jackson, president & CEO of United Way of Central Florida
  • Katie Wiatt, producer & director at Indie Atlantic Films
  • Laura Lear, financial advisor at Edward Jones


  • Curious Jane
  • Polk Association for Women Lawyers
  • Top Buttons, Inc.

For the first year of the Athena Awards, 100 people and organizations were nominated, and 60 returned applications, Chamber Chair Michelle Ledford said.

The event also recognized women who have chaired the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce: Maggie Lazarre, Maureen Shaw, Janice Jones, Alice Hunt and Ledford.

An estimated 300 people attended tonight’s event at Haus 820.

Athena Awards originated in Lansing, Mich., in 1982, and have spread to more than 375 U.S. cities.


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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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