Ashley Ashwander honored with Athena Leadership Award at annual Women in Business Celebration
On Thursday, Ashley Ashwander, owner of The Paper Chase in Decatur, was honored with the Athena Leadership Award at the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce annual Women in Business Celebration at Ingalls Harbor Pavilion.
Named for the Greek goddess of wisdom, as well as the champion of justice and law, the Athena Award is presented across the world by Chambers of Commerce, women's organizations and universities. It is an international award program and is promoted by local organizations.
“Ashley’s service to Decatur and her style of servant leadership in this community has improved the quality of life for people across our area,” said John Seymour, president and CEO of the Chamber. “She is tireless in making the lives of those around her richer, and her energy for building this community through the business community and other non-profits will be seen for years to come. She has inspired others around her and mentored other young professionals. She is an incredible volunteer and Decatur is a better place because of her work.”
A native of Decatur, Ashwander established The Paper Chase in 2007 and specializes in paper goods, invitations, announcements, stationary, monograming, in-house printing and wedding consultations. Her Bank Street storefront has become a staple in downtown Decatur and integral part of Decatur’s 3rd Friday events. As an active community volunteer, she has been involved with various groups, including the Junior League of Morgan County, Hospice of the Valley Guild, Decatur Cotillion Club, served as president of the Downtown Decatur Merchants and Business Association, and currently serves as the vice chairman of community building for the Chamber – the second time she has served in that capacity. In May 2015, Ashwander was honored with the Arthur Orr Young Professional of the Year award during the Chamber’s annual Small Business Awards Celebration for her commitment to the community through leadership and service.
Ashwander was selected to receive the Athena Leadership Award from community nominees. The award spotlights those who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business profession, provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assists women in realizing their full leadership potential.
Past winners of the Chamber's Athena Leadership Award include Dr. Cathy Hansberry (1992), Shirley Hammond (1993), Dorothy Schwuchow (1994), Dr. Betty Vaughan (1995), Betty Sims (1996), Trudy Grisham (1997), Dot Montgomery (1998), Willa Dockery (1999), Melissa Craig (2000), Dr. Jeanne Payne (2011), Atty. Gay Blackburn Maloney (2012), Venessa Edmonds (2013) and June Odom (2014).
Ashwander is a graduate of Auburn University, married to Charlie Ashwander and have one daughter.
(Photo credit: The Decatur Daily)