Karen Abrams, PNC Bank executive, named 2012 Athena Award winner


Karen Abrams, senior vice president, senior trust advisor for PNC Bank, is the 2012 recipient of the Athena Award. The award announcement was made Thursday night during the Mahoning Valley’s 20th annual Athena Award Dinner before a crowd of nearly 700 at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman.

The Athena Award, presented by the Regional Chamber and The Vindicator/vindy.com., is given annually to recognize 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.

Abrams, a Liberty Township resident, was among 25 area women who were nominated for the award.

Abrams began her career with National City Bank in 1997 as an assistant vice president in the Private Client Group and was promoted to vice president. Three years ago she was promoted to senior vice president and senior trust advisor in PNC’s Wealth Management Department. In 2011, Abrams was one of the top revenue producers of the western region of PNC Wealth Management.

Her first job in the area was as the first woman attorney hired in the legal department of the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp.

She is a member of the Mahoning/Shenango Estate Planning Council and the Mahoning Valley Bar Association. Abrams serves on the boards of the Youngstown Symphony, Mahoning Valley College Access Program, Fellows Riverside Gardens and the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, where she is assistant treasurer. She also is a member and past president of the Junior League of Youngstown.

Abrams is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law and received a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Kenyon College.

Also during the dinner, Rebecca J. Soldan of Austintown, a senior majoring in social work at Youngstown State University, was announced as the recipient of the sixth annual Athena Scholarship.

The $1,500 award was created in partnership with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley. The scholarship recipient must demonstrate initiative and excellence in educational or work pursuits, a proven record of community involvement and service and commitment to and experience in mentoring others. Soldan also received an iPad, which was donated by Lee and Bonnie Deutsch Burdman.

Soldan is a peer mentor at YSU’s Center for Student Progress, working with first-year, non-traditional students. She also is secretary for United Purpose II Organization, which provides mentoring and connection to community resources for people who have been released from prison and are interested in furthering their education. In addition, she is involved in Ohio Lady Advocates, Students for Social Justice, Interfaith Youth Core, Student Social Work Association and National Alliance on Mental Illness. She has completed the Emerging Leaders Program.

Featured speaker for the evening was Annika Sorenstam regarded as the greatest female golfer of her generation. Sorenstam is married to Mike McGee, the son of former PGA tour player Jerry McGee of East Palestine, Ohio.

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