Service, excellence, leadership: Joy Bishop receives Blount’s first Athena Award
By Linda Braden Albert | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Twelve women, community leaders of the highest caliber, were recognized at Blount County’s first Athena Leadership Award banquet Thursday at the Clayton Center for the Arts. The decision was difficult, but only one of these remarkable community servants could be named the recipient of the award.
And the winner is Joy Bishop, whose professional excellence, volunteer service, community leadership and mentorship of women and men alike exemplifies the qualifications of the Athena Leadership Award.
Bishop, with her always ready smile and customary humility, said, “I want to thank the people of Blount County who enabled me to work in this community. You cannot do anything without that support.”
Bishop also said how happy she was to be in the company of her fellow nominees, including Jane Andrews, executive director, Blount Memorial Foundation; Judith Craw, vice president of lodging, Marriott International Accounting Services; Cookie Crowson, assistant director for Maryville/Alcoa/Blount County Parks and Recreation; Jeanne Ezell, director of pharmacy at Blount Memorial Hospital; Michelle Hankes, president and CEO, United Way of Blount County; Sharon Hannum, retired maintenance planner for Central Services at ALCOA Inc.; Virginia Hardwick, area market development manager at Staffing Solutions; Pat Marshall, Kiwanian and retired photographer/videographer; Cathy Potter, founder of the Heaven Sent Homes; Brenda Sellers, president of CHROMA; and Debra Whaley, licensed affiliate broker for Realty Executive Associates.
Leading the way
Dianne Cserbak, a member of the Chilhowee Club along with Bishop, was pleased to discover her friend was the winner of the award.
“Without her, this community would not have the (current Blount County) library, the (Great Smoky Mountains) Heritage Center or the Clayton Center for the Arts,” Cserbak said. “She has also really hand-held a lot of young women and taught them to be leaders in this community.”
Bishop made Blount County her home after retiring from a successful career in civil service. Her volunteer service includes a number of civic and community organizations such as Kiwanis Club, Chilhowee Club, Blount Chamber of Commerce, Hearing and Speech Foundation, Great Smoky Mountain Heritage Center, East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association and United Way of Blount County, where she served a term as chair.
She was an advocate and skilled fundraiser for the new Blount County Public Library. In 2005, she was appointed by then-Gov. Phil Bredesen to the Tennessee Workforce Development Board, and she served as honorary co-chair of the first Tennessee Economic Summit for Women. She has been a strong supporter of the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus. Bishop, a 1998 graduate of Leadership Blount County, was the 2007 recipient of the eighth annual Community Leadership Award from Leadership Blount.
During her professional career, Bishop was the first woman to receive an appointment to the Senior Executive Service, the highest level of civilian civil service. She retired from the Pentagon as one of the highest ranking civilians in the Air Force and received the highest civilian award in the Air Force. After retirement, she spent several years advising foreign governments in policy development procedures.
Jennie Bounds, Blount Memorial Hospital’s public relations and marketing director, said, “When you look at what those 12 women have done for this community, it’s very powerful.”
And Sandra Davis, retired president and CEO of United Way of Blount County, said, “It’s a great day. It’s good to recognize all these women and their accomplishments.”
The 2013 Athena Leadership Award was sponsored by The Daily Times in partnership with Bristol & Bragg Jewelers. The nominees were chosen by an impartial committee from all entries submitted from the community as a whole. An outside committee of five businesspeople from Blount County, using a score sheet for criteria such as number of years of service and number of women impacted by that service, determined the ultimate winner of this first of what is planned to be an annual award in Blount County.
Daily Times Publisher Carl Esposito said, “We are very appreciative of Bristol & Bragg Jewelers for partnering with us to honor such a distinguished group of women in this community.” He agreed with Advertising Director Evelyn Sandlin, who said, “I knew this would be a good event. All of the women should be a winner.”