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The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce in March is scheduled to honor its annual Athena and Rising Star award honorees.
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The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce in March is scheduled to honor its annual Athena and Rising Star award honorees.

Springfield chamber to recognize two local leaders with awards

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The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce announced the recipients of two of its top annual leadership awards.

The Athena Award is going to Stephanie Stenger, president of Ron Stenger Cos., and the Virginia Fry Rising Star Award winner is Heather Hardinger, a Springfield City Council member, according to a news release. Nominated by the public, the award honorees were chosen by an independent panel of judges.

Stenger, also the CEO of Springfield Land LP and a community volunteer, is being honored with the Athena Award that recognizes businesspeople and leaders who have attained professional excellence and served the community, while also actively assisting other women in their achievements.

Hardinger works as chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at CoxHealth. The award she's receiving is named after late attorney Virginia Fry and recognizes emerging leaders and mentors who are 40 years old or younger, according to the release.

“Our region is blessed with leaders like Stephanie and Heather who very intentionally work to prepare and empower those around them to successfully improve the quality of life for all those who live here,” chamber President Matt Morrow said in the release. “These two individuals are exceptional examples of the qualities embodied by these awards."

The two leaders are scheduled to be honored with the awards at the chamber's Athena Award Luncheon on March 22 at White River Conference Center.

Last year's Athena Award recipient was Springfield Metropolitan Bar Association Executive Director Crista Hogan, and Efactory Director Rachel Anderson was selected for the Rising Star Award, according to past reporting.

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