My first dose of humble pie after joining the military came on my second day of basic training. At West Point, they called this period “Beast.” After waking up at the crack of dawn, we assembled and quickly took off on our first run; I remember that I finished, but just barely. Our platoon had 10 women who — I thought — likely couldn’t hang with the men once we started our quick pace. Soon enough, I discovered there was one woman who kept pace with us upfront, and then left most of us in the dust. I still remember how deflating it was to my ego, used to being first, let alone losing to a woman. Later, I found out that she was a triathlon runner, which all made sense.

Soon after this, many challenges both in sports and professionally, proved that my preconceived notions of the roles of men and women, or what your background was supposed to allow you to achieve, needed to change. My military experience was very positive in this way. It encourages people to thrust themselves into new environments beyond their comfort zones, and question what they suppose to be true.
Our cover feature this issue continues the ATHENA® Awards, returning from our inaugural program last year, celebrating women business professionals and their efforts here in Greater Cincinnati. We had hoped for an attendance of 150 at last year’s awards luncheon; that soon doubled to 300. This made us feel that this should be an annual feature in the magazine and a program that should continue to grow.

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