Annika Sorenstam to speak at Athena Award dinner May 24

The Regional Chamber is announcing that Annika Sorenstam, regarded as the greatest female golfer of her generation, will keynote the Athena Award dinner on Thursday, May 24, at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman.

The 2012 event, co-sponsored by The Vindicator/, marks the twentieth anniversary of the program that celebrates professional women in the Mahoning Valley.

During her 15-year Hall of Fame career, Sorenstam rewrote the LPGA and Ladies European Tour record books, won countless awards and changed the way women’s golf was played, viewed and covered. She amassed 89 worldwide professional victories, including 72 LPGA wins, 10 of which are major championships.

Sorenstam stepped away from professional golf after the 2008 season to focus on her family and her collection of businesses and business enterprises, including the Annika Academy, Annika Financial Group, Annika Course Design, the Annika Collection of apparel with Cutter & Buck, signature high-end wines with Wente Vineyards and an online retail shop.

In 2007, she created the Annika Foundation as a way to teach children the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle through fitness and nutrition and offer aspiring junior golfers opportunities to pursue their dreams.

In 2008, Sorenstam joined Arnold Palmer as only the second Ambassador of the United States Golf Association, and in 2009, along with Jack Nicklaus, she was named a Global Ambassador by the International Golf Federation and aided in the successful bid for golf in the 2016 Olympic Games.

In 2011 Sorenstam was named the winner of the USGA’s prestigious Bob Jones Award, given annually to someone with distinct character on and off the course. She served as a vice-captain for the winning 2011 European Solheim Cup Team at Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland. (More information may be found at

Sorenstam and her husband Mike McGee have two children, Ava, 2, and Will, 10 months. Mike was born and raised in East Palestine, where his family still resides. His father, Jerry McGee, played the PGA Tour for many years and is an avid fan of  Youngstown-area spots.

Kim Calvert, the Regional Chamber’s vice president of Marketing & Business Services, said, “Annika is truly a superstar in every way and a great role model for children, teens and adults around the world. We are excited to welcome and bring her to the Valley for this special, twentieth-anniversary Athena celebration and look forward to her message of inspiration.”

The Athena Award program recognizes area business and professional women who have demonstrated excellence in their chosen career, provided leadership in the community and mentored or contributed to the growth of other professional women.

The Regional Chamber will solicit Athena Award nominations in early January, when nomination forms may be accessed online at or via mail or email. Contact Calvert at 330-744-2131, ext. 35, or for more information.


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