LIMA — Finalists for the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce’s Athena award — which recognizes women who support women in business — include the founder of a home for women in crisis, a registered nurse who has organized prescription drug abuse seminars and a community development officer who mentors young women.
Here are the finalists:
Julianne Burk likes to say she takes a holistic approach to life. She’s a nurse with Mercy Health-Home Health. She pastors her late father’s church, Living Faith Temple on South Main Street. And she is the founder and director of Guiding Light Ministries, which houses women in crisis.
“I think my life teeters through all three of those areas in some capacity — mind, body and spirit — with the work that I do medically, socially and spiritually.”
At age 30, Burk transformed her childhood home into a house for teen mothers.
Burk, who was once a teen mother herself, realized all women in crisis would benefit from the housing support and life skills taught by Guiding Light Ministries. The ministry has since evolved to support all women, regardless of age, and now operates two houses in addition to several rental properties for families who need help with rent.
Penny Kill has been active in the Spencerville community for many years, serving on the Spencerville schools and Apollo Career Center boards; volunteering as a 4-H adviser and superintendent; and organizing mentorship programs for young students.
Kill was instrumental in developing “Guys with Ties,” for example, a mentorship program which aims to “grow our young boys into men.” She’s now developing a similar program for the girls, “Girls with Pearls,” and plans to unveil a scholarship in honor of her late husband, Jeff Kill, to support students who engage in community service.
Kill, a longtime registered nurse and quality assurance department manager, has organized educational forums about prescription drug and heroin abuse for parents, grandparents and caregivers as well.
But Kill is most proud for passing along her philanthropic spirit to her children.
“I came from parents that were philanthropic,” she said. “That was normal for me.”
Shannon Tyler is a regular mentor for young women, leading financial literacy seminars and starting conversations on bullying, suicide prevention and general life skills for young women in the Allen County Juvenile and Probate Court diversion program.
“They need positive support and leadership,” Tyler said. “I’m here to help in any way that I can.”
Tyler, a community development officer for First Federal Bank, was nominated for the Athena Award in 2019 as well. She’s a frequent mentor and supporter of women in business, particularly those who are small business owners, and is a member of the Women Leadership Collective.
“My goal is to support and mentor women that have their own business,” she said, “to help them establish their mission and vision within the community that we live and serve.”
The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual awards gala from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 10, in the Lima Community Church parking lot, 2945 N. Cole St. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members. Awards and dinner will be served drive-in style.