Quinnipiac Chamber Honors Six Area Women

ATHENA Awards Luncheon celebrates women who help other women reach their potential.


Dr. Eina G. Fishman, chief medical director at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, received the 2012 ATHENA Leadership Award on Thursday, October 18, 2012. The award was presented at a special luncheon sponsored by the Quinnipiac Chamber of Commerce at the Villa Capri.

ATHENA International is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women reach their full potential by supporting, developing and honoring women leaders.

Fishman was honored for a career spanning more than 25 years as a health care professional. During that time she has frequently been recognized for coaching and mentoring other women.

She ran her own private practice in the Waterbury area for 13 years before joining the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. She has served as chief of medicine at the Spokane VA Medical Center and chief of staff at the Albany VA Medical Center.

In accepting the award, Fishman shared her own idea of what leadership means—making a difference in the lives of other people.

“Leadership is what we do every day,” she said. “It’s not about perfection. It’s about the journey.”

Fishman was selected from among six nominees recognized at the event. The other nominees were:

  • Maria Campos Harlow, executive director of Spanish Community of Wallingford (SCOW)
  • Karin Marino, owner of Peak Fitness Center
  • Elizabeth Napolitano, administrative assistant for the Wallingford Board of Education
  • Dr. Patricia Sanders, chair of the New Haven Chapter of SCORE
  • Marilyn Spafford, laboratory director of Quest Diagnostics

The guest speaker at the luncheon was Donna Palomba, founder of the national nonprofit Jane Doe No More, an organization dedicated to improving treatment of sexual assault victims. She shared her own story of being sexually assaulted in her Waterbury home by a masked intruder. Palomba told the audience that she was later accused by the police lieutenant investigating her case of making the story up to cover up an affair.

Eleven years after her attack, DNA evidence helped identify the man who raped her, but the statute of limitations on the crime had run out. Her story was instrumental in passing new laws ending the statute of limitations in cases like hers.

In addition to promoting and supporting the development of women leaders in our community, the ATHENA luncheon also raised money for the Patient Resource Center at Smilow Breast Cancer Center.


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