Presenting 2016 ATHENA Award Winner 1

Deborah Leydig

The Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) presented local businesswoman Deborah Leydig of Norton’s U.S.A. with the prestigious ATHENA Award at a luncheon Thursday, May 26 honoring five outstanding local women leaders. The event was held at the Biltmore Country Club in North Barrington and hosted by BACC’s Women’s Biz Net (WBN), a network of women business and community leaders.

During the luncheon five local women leaders were honored including Leydig and Nandia Black, Village President of Kildeer; Susan McConnell, accomplished photographer and founder of Let It Be Us; Georgeanna Mehr, President of Hoffman Estates Community Bank; and Deborah Rivera, General Manager and Co-Owner of Ambroisa Euro American Patisserie.

“The ATHENA Leadership Award was inspired by the goddess of Greek mythology known for her strength, courage, wisdom and enlightenment – qualities embodied in the ATHENA Leadership Model,” said Guest Speaker KL Daly, a Founding Lifetime Member of ATHENA International. “The ATHENA Award honors an individual for professional excellence, community service and for actively assisting women in their attainment of professional excellence and leadership skills.”

2016 ATHENA Recipient Deborah Leydig started her career in fashion design working for Geoffrey Beene, Ellen Tracey and Jones of New York. During the 80s she switched her focus to graphic design and sold gift wrapping paper to department stores under her designer label. In 1987 she began a professional acting career and after appearing in a play about the decline in American products; she opened Norton’s U.S.A in 2007 in Barrington to help the American worker and manufacturer. Her plight to save the American worker has led to a highly successful storefront and online business all dedicated to made in America products. In her community, Deborah has dedicated efforts to supporting many local organizations, raising thousands for causes such as cancer, local food pantries and more. She is considered a local business advocate and mentor to other business owners.

“Deborah, you are a force for good that will not be stopped or deterred and a fierce advocate of all that is great about America,” Daly said.

“Our ATHENA Awards program is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on local women leaders who are aspiring role models,” said BACC President/CEO Suzanne Corr. “The real treasure in this event is hearing about these amazing women, what they have accomplished, what they have given back to our communities, and how they set the bar high for all of us.”

All nominees were honored at the event for their history of accomplishment and giving. The theme of the luncheon was “Walking on Sunshine.”

WBN’s first ATHENA Leadership Award was presented to Joyce Palmquist, Executive Director of the Barrington Area Council on Aging (BACOA) in November 2012. The 2014 award was presented to Ellaine Sambo-Reyther, VP – Director, Trust & Estate Services at BMO Harris Bank. The 2015 ATHENA recipient was Dr. Amy Derick of Derick Dermatology.

ATHENA, an international award, has been given in 500 cities and 8 countries. Recipients have included Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State; Kay Koplovitz, founder of USA Networks and the first women network president in television history; Pat Schroeder, former 12-term U.S. Congresswoman; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and others.

The Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Biz Net (WBN) is a network of women empowering women. WBN offers monthly meetings and programs that bring relevant topics, networking opportunities and a forum for building relationships that can enhance your business aspirations and enrich your life. The monthly meetings are dedicated “To gather professional women to inspire, enrich, empower and benefit from the unique talents of extraordinary women!”