Michele Lew, Jesse Ebner to Be Honored With 2023 Athena Awards

Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce

The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the winners of their 2023 Athena Awards: The Health Trust CEO Michele Lew will receive the Athena Leadership Award and Jesse Ebner, vice president at Premier Properties Commercial Real Estate in Palo Alto, will be honored with the Athena Emerging Leader Award.

These two accomplished women will be honored at the chamber’s 2023 Athena Awards on Thursday, Oct. 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Palo Alto, and everyone is invited to celebrate.

Charlie Weidanz
President & CEO

“Michelle and Jesse are exceptional leaders in their fields and exemplify the qualities of the ATHENA Awards,” said Charlie Weidanz, president and CEO of the chamber. “Their commitment to the highest level of professional excellence, while helping others take their leadership to the next level, are why we are pleased to recognize them and celebrate their accomplishments.”

Past winners have included women like Gina Dalma, Executive Vice President of Community Action, Policy and Strategy at Silicon Valley Community Foundation (2022); former Palo Alto Mayor Judy Kleinberg (2021); and Carol Larson, former president and CEO of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation (2019).

Michele Lew
Athena Award Recipient

Born and raised in Palo Alto, Lew worked as the district director for Joe Simitian while he served in the Legislature before serving as President and CEO of Asian Americans for Community Involvement (AACI), a nonprofit health center, for more than a decade. After working as the Local Government & Community Relations Director at Stanford Health Care, she joined The Health Trust in 2018. As CEO, Lew leads the $100 million nonprofit’s operations, which include Meals on Wheels services for seniors from Palo Alto to Gilroy and case management for people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2020, during the isolation of the pandemic, she helped start Asian Women Empowered (AWE), a network for local Asian-American and Pacific Islander women to support each other, share job opportunities and embrace their cultural heritage.

“I have been fortunate to have many mentors over the course of my career,” Lew said. “Now it’s part of my responsibility to support the next generation of leaders.”

She added, “I think there are far more opportunities for women and people of color in Silicon Valley now and we need to continue to keep a foot on the gas pedal to make sure we’re proactively creating opportunities for everyone.”

Jesse Ebner
Athena Award Recipient

In addition to her role as vice president at Premier Properties, a firm that handles leasing, building and development on the Peninsula, Ebner also serves as vice president on the board of directors for AchieveKids. The nonprofit operates schools in Palo Alto and San Jose for special education students with developmental and/or emotional disabilities.

“The work they do is just incredible,” said Ebner. “The more I saw, the more I wanted to get involved. It’s very fulfilling to feel I’m contributing to the community in this way.”

For more information about the Athena Awards and to get tickets, go to paloaltochamber.com/athena-awards or call (650) 324-3125.

Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce | (650) 324-3125 | paloalotchamber.com/athena-awards