Birthday eventful for 2010 ATHENA winner

Anne Grubbs got a surprise for her birthday Thursday, but it wasn’t a party – or at least not a party for that.

As Grubbs was named the ATHENA Award winner, her family and friends emerged from a meeting room at Martin Cadillac to surprise her.

“It’s my birthday,” she said, wiping away tears while accepting the award.

Grubbs, who oversees adult education for Community Education, never expected to be nominated for the business women’s award once, much less twice, said her husband, Mike Grubbs.

“This is a business award, so she questioned why she would be nominated,” Mike Grubbs said.

But the award recognizes men and women who are dedicated to opening doors to women in the workplace and beyond.

“She is very deserving of this award,” friend Duncan McKenzie said.

McKenzie’s wife, Pam, first met Anne Grubbs at Cumberland Trace Elementary School. Anne Grubbs taught school for 22 years before joining Community Education.

“I want to thank my husband, Mike, who allowed me to quit teaching and open up a whole new life,” she said.

Grubbs has made and kept many connections in the community, which has been her home for 23 years. Among those connections are Melody and Keith Ossello, whose children Anne Grubbs taught in kindergarten.

“We’ve known her 21 or 22 years,” Melody Ossello said. “They couldn’t have picked a better person.”

Amber Martin of Martin Management Group said her company sponsors the ATHENA Award because it believes in the mission of the award to support women.

Martin said each of the women nominated this time – including Anne Meade, CFO of Western Kentucky University; Cheri Natcher of Southern Foods; Sue Parrigin, manager of the Carroll Knicely Conference Center; Tamara Vogler of BB&T and Mayor Elaine Walker – was deserving of the award.

After making a short speech, Grubbs posed for some pictures with past ATHENA winners and participated in her “party.” She actually celebrated her birthday Wednesday, because Thursday evening was filled with a district meeting for Kiwanis, of which she is an active member.

For such work and many other endeavors, Anne Grubbs earlier this year was named a Jefferson Award winner for her community service.

“I guess people really think she is deserving,” her husband said.

Later, Anne Grubbs said she was surprised when her co-workers came out.

“I thought they were still at work cleaning up after our big meeting,” she said.

“It’s very humbling to get this award, because so many people do so much more work than I do,” she added. “I’m lucky to be in the right spot to advocate for worthy causes and I work with wonderful people.”


Minor, Robyn L. (2010, October). Birthday eventful for 2010 ATHENA winner. Bowling Green Daily News. Retrieved from