Mentoring is Shirley Martin-Smith's business. Now she's been recognized for it.
Shirley Martin-Smith is a winner -- again.
A decade after winning election as a Lawrence city commissioner, and a year after taking home a top volunteer award from the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, Martin-Smith now has been recognized as a top mentor for women in business.
She won the 1999 Lawrence Athena Award during a conference Tuesday at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. About 50 people attended the awards luncheon.
"It has a lot of meaning when it comes from the place you've chosen to live in and base your career," said Martin-Smith, who owns Adecco and Martin-Smith Personnel Services in Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita and Winfield. "It's always a pleasure when the people around you honor you like that. I was speechless for a change."
The award -- given by the chamber, Professional Women of the Chamber and Crown Automotive -- is part of a worldwide program that honors people who have excelled in their fields, benefited their communities and served as mentors for women.
Dee Bisel, of Minuteman Press, won last year's Athena Award. Jan McNish, of Outsource Solutions, took home the first one awarded in Lawrence, in 1997.
Martin-Smith's companies employ 15 people, generate $6 million in annual revenues and find jobs for hundreds of people and companies who need help.
Martin-Smith, 53, has been in the personnel business since 1977, and owned her own agencies since 1987. In 1984, as general manager for Manpower in Lawrence, she was named the chamber's first Small Businessperson of the Month.
"My business is about mentoring. That's it's all about," she said. "I've just been lucky."
Other nominees for the Athena Award: Jane Bateman, of Jane Bateman Inc.; Linda Boyd, of Stephens Real Estate; Hannes Combest, of Golf Course Superintendents Association of America; Janice Early-Weas, of Lawrence Memorial Hospital; Debbie Liddel, of Advance Pest Management; Suzie Taylor Meadows, of Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center; Jean Milstead, of Douglas County Bank; Elaine Nelson, of Sallie Mae; Suzanne Willey, of KLWN/KLZR Radio; and Judy Wright, of the Kansas University Endowment Association.
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