Athena Award winner to be named at gala

LIMA — The Lima/Allen Chamber of Commerce will soon honor several businesses and leaders in the community. The awards are given in seven different categories. The Athena Award is sponsored by Lima Chevrolet Cadillac. Jill Ackerman, Jill Bakies and Theresa Schnipke were nominated this year. According to the award application, the Athena Award comes from a quote: “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.”

“To be considered for the Athena Award, nominees must meet the following criteria,” Brian Timmermeister said at the Chamber press conference. “They have to demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession. They have to provide service by devoting time and energy to improving the quality of life for others in the community. They also must have assisted women in reaching their full leadership potential.”

Jill Ackerman is the Superintendent of Lima City Schools. Theresa Schnipke is the Superintendent of the Allen County Board of Development Disabilities. Jill Bakies is the owner of Beauty by Jill Salon & Spa.

Ackerman began working at the Lima City Schools in 1988. Soon after, she became the assistant middle school principal. After a series of promotions, Ackerman became superintendent in 2012.

Schnipke has worked as a social worker for over 35 years. For most of her career, she has served in the area of developmental disabilities.

Bakies opened her business at the age of 27 in 2014. Bakies opened a new location due to growth in 2019. Her business was reportedly shut down due to COVID-19 and eventually re-opened. Bakies hires younger adults to help train businesswomen in the area.

The winner of the award will be announced at the gala. It will take place from 5:30 until 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, at the UNOH Event Center, 1450 N. Cable Road. The theme of the ceremony is the “Great Gatsby.”

For more information reach Julie Klingler at 419-222-6045 or visit

Reach Precious Grundy at 567-242-0351.