The White Rose Gala is Set
Sunday, February 21, 2016










Far Left: Sonja G. Norris, DDS & Associates

Right:  Sarah Swistak, Evening News Anchor, Fox 47 News

 LANSING, MI --  The Lansing/East Lansing Chapter of Links will kick off Women's History Month by hosting its 6th annual White Rose Gala on Thursday, March 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Huntington Club (Overlooking Spartan Stadium), on the campus of Michigan State University.   

During a strolling reception, the Links will present the Young Professional Leadership and Organizational Leadership ATHENA Awards and will highlight the chapter's ongoing community service efforts. This distinguished event provides the community with an opportunity to network with leaders from the business, legal, health and education sectors. 
Judge Clinton Canady, III will join his wife, Rita Canady, chair of this year's event, to facilitate the evening's program. Lansing's own 496 West band will provide entertainment.
 “Dynamic women leaders and organizations who support women are the heartbeat of Mid-Michigan, our state, and this amazing nation. The recipients who will be honored as ATHENA recipients epitomize success, dedication, and excellence and are worthy of this prestigious recognition,” said Teresa A. Bingman, Esq., President of the Lansing/East Lansing Links.
Sarah Swistak, Evening News Anchor, Fox 47 News, will receive the Young Professional Leadership Award. This award is presented to emerging women leaders, 40 years of age or younger, who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in her business or profession and provides valuable service to improve the quality of life for others in her community.  Award recipients must clearly serve as role models for young women both personally and professionally. 
Swistak said, "To receive an award from any organization is an honor, but to be recognized by a group comprised of so many wonderful, successful, inspiring women leaders, makes this award that much more humbling.  To say I'm honored, is an understatement."
Sonja G. Norris, DDS & Associates will receive the Organizational Leadership Award. This award is presented to a business or organization, which creates an organizational culture that encourages women employees to achieve their full leadership potential.  Recipients give back to the larger community of women and girls by providing and/or supporting leadership development opportunities and initiatives, as well.
“The concept of this private dental practice focused on children and children with special needs, is to do the right thing for everyone, every time.  Together with Practice Manager, Patricia Miller, we followed this strong passion for children to design a successful business that had purpose,” said Sonja G. Norris, DDS and Owner. “Our organization is “Distinctly Unique … Like Every Child. If you follow your passion it will always lead to your purpose.”  
Guest presenters of the ATHENA Awards during the White Rose Gala include a 2015 ATHENA Award recipient, Sarah Jennings, CPA, CFE, principal at Maner Costerisan Certified Public Accountants, and two members of the Lansing/East Lansing Links who are former ATHENA award recipients, Paula Cunningham, AARP Michigan State Director and Eva L. Evans, Ph.D., former Deputy Superintendent, Lansing School District. 
The Links, Incorporated is an international, not-for-profit corporation, established in 1946. It is one of the nation's oldest and largest volunteer service organizations of extraordinary women who are committed to enriching, sustaining and ensuring the culture and economic survival of their community. Sixteen accomplished professionals and community leaders charted the Lansing/East Lansing chapter of The Links on October 28, 1972.  Links are business and civic leaders, role models, mentors, activists and volunteers who work toward a common vision by engaging like-minded organizations and individuals for partnership.
The ATHENA Award was first presented in 1982 in Lansing, Michigan and has grown to include presentations to more than 5,000 individuals in hundreds of cities in the United States as well as in Canada, China, Russia and the United Kingdom.   The Lansing/East Lansing Links believe in the values underlying ATHENA International's philosophy of incorporating the talent and expertise of women into the leadership of our businesses, our communities and our government. The spirit of the ATHENA Award® Program is captured in a quotation from Plato, “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.” By honoring exceptional leaders, others will be encouraged to excel.
 For more information, contact any member of the Lansing/East Lansing Links or access the organization's website:

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