ATHENA: Learning

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Never stop learning.

Learning isn't just for students, nor does the opportunity for learning end after graduation: Each day brings a new set of opportunities to stretch and challenge ourselves. Touching on the ATHENA tenet Learning, which was highlighted at the Grand Rapids ATHENA Scholarship Fundraiser, Claudia Berry, retired vice president of Lakeshore Private Client Group, Huntington Bank, shares her insights into continuing one's education—even outside of academia.

How do you live out the Learning ATHENA tenet—in your workplace and in your personal life?
In my former work place and my personal life, my philosophy is to be a lifelong learner, exploring new ideas and seeking ways to implement them.

How has living out this tenet affected your career?
Listening, then acting on what I heard, allowed advancement in my financial career from part-time teller thirty years ago to retiring as a vice president.

How do you continue to challenge yourself and develop your skill set?
In retirement, my learning commitment continues through community volunteering and leadership positions on nonprofit boards. The responsibility of those who achieve professional success is to give back to their community.

What advice do you have for listening and being open to what is new and unfamiliar?
My advice is: Listen well, take notes, summarize, and live up to you commitments.

How do you see the Learning tenet as part of the development and growth in the Grand Rapids community?
Community learning and growth happens with input from those who live and work within the city.

Why do you support the ATHENA program?
I support the ATHENA program because it recognizes individuals who have attained their professional goals and celebrates the potential of all.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
My superpower would be Time Travel—to visit the past and embrace the future.

The ATHENA Leadership Journey

In summary, learning can take place anywhere: You just need to be open, accepting, and ready to implement those lessons into your life. Taking what you've learned and applying it to your personal and professional life, as well as giving back to the community, will result in personal growth, potential career advancement, and the positive feeling of helping others by sharing your knowledge and experiences.

Learning is one of the eight ATHENA tenets that each ATHENA and Young Professional recipient exudes as a leader in the Grand Rapids community. To learn more about the eight tenets and hear from this year's award recipients, join us for the ATHENA Awards Celebration on September 18 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.

As a special treat for this year's twenty-fifth anniversary of the ATHENA program in Grand Rapids, ATHENA founder Martha Mertz will make a guest appearance and speak at the Awards Celebration. Register today to save your spot at this wonderful event that celebrates leadership and community in our great city!

Visit www.grandrapids.org/athena-leadership-forum to register for or learn more about the August 21 ATHENA scholarship fundraiser.
Visit www.grandrapids.org/athena-celebration to find details on the ATHENA Awards Celebration.

Contributed by Mercedes Cowper, the program & events coordinator for the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

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