Athena is President of the Maling Road Business Association and has been a business owner in Canterbury for 26 years. Athena proudly represents small business owners and managers in the Maling Road shopping strip, the majority of whom are women.
Athena said, “Small businesses face many challenges. They require much resilience and the ability to change and grow. These are qualities I have certainly called upon, especially in the past few years.”
While Athena’s own business was adversely affected by COVID-19 lockdowns, she and the Maling Road Business Association played a pivotal role in helping other businesses in the shopping strip to survive.
“Maling Road is a community hub and I enjoy working closely with local community groups, schools, residents and Council to improve our shopping strip and continue to provide a place where people can gather and connect.”
Athena believes women can do anything. She believes in the need for women to speak up, be seen and lead.
“We need to change perceptions and create a world where women can do all these things without question,” she said.
“My advice to women is to get involved wherever they can. You meet people you may never have met, you go to places you may never have gone and you can impact your community in a positive way.”
“I believe that it is important to give back to my community and when something needs to be done, instead of complaining about it, why not get involved and make it happen.”
When asked what International Women’s Day means to her, Athena said it is about celebrating the success of women and raising awareness against bias. Athena believes it is a reminder of the need to make society equal and safer for women.
“Society needs women to act – not just watch, and men need to acknowledge and proactively encourage this. I feel very confident that my workplace and my family respect my place in the world, and I wish this for all women.”
She said, “Women should proudly celebrate their own and each other’s achievements and help shape the future. I want my children (my daughters and my son) and future generations to live in a society where these things are considered the norm.”