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SLCC Associate Provost Named 2015 Salt Lake Chamber ATHENA Winner

The Salt Lake Chamber recently named Salt Lake Community College’s Karen Gunn as the 2015 ATHENA Award recipient. Gunn is SLCC Associate Provost of Economic Development and Business Partnerships and the executive director of SLCC’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program.

“Karen Gunn has shared her amazing talents and knowledge with SLCC in the classroom, in the School of Business, and most recently at our Miller campus leading small business support and training efforts including the Goldman Sachs 10k Small Businesses program,” said SLCC President Deneece G. Huftalin. “She is a bright, engaging, passionate leader who has had an enormous impact on Utah’s business community. We salute her alongside the Chamber.”

Karen Gunn

 The ATHENA Award is a prestigious national award presented annually to an active member of the Salt Lake Chamber who demonstrates excellence, creativity and initiative in business. Each recipient must also provide valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community and assist women in reaching their full leadership potential.

“I cannot think of a more deserving recipient,” said Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber. “Gunn has over thirty years’ experience as an educator, corporate manager and entrepreneur. Besides having an astonishingly successful career, Karen has helped numerous other women achieve their dreams. We couldn’t be more excited to honor her as the newest ATHENA.”

In the time Gunn has overseen 10,000 Small Businesses at SLCC, Goldman Sachs has helped provide practical business and management education, support services and capital to 215 Utah entrepreneurs, with 76 percent reporting increased revenues within 18 months after graduating and 57 percent saying they’ve added new jobs in that same time period. Recently three cohorts graduated, with 93 business owners employing 1,611 people and representing over $145 million in revenues in Utah.

Presently, Gunn oversees programs associated with workforce and economic development, global entrepreneurship, small business development and women’s business development. She also actively participates in several community and economic initiatives on behalf of the Salt Lake Community College and provides institutional leadership to position the college as a supportive partner in achieving the state’s economic goals.

“I am very humbled and grateful to receive this award,” said Gunn. “I have been inspired by incredible women, including ATHENA awardees. To be that person who can share the power of mentoring, see the potential in others and tap it, and help people reach their goals and dreams–there is no greater service or privilege.”

Gunn has also been the recipient of the following awards and recognitions: Region VIII SBA Women’s Business Champion, US Small Business Administration (2009); Outstanding Service, Utah Office of Refugees (2010); International Leadership Award, Women’s India Trust (2012); Chamber Champion, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce (2013); Businesswoman of the Year, Utah State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2014).


The award will be officially presented at the 39th Annual American Express Women & Business Conference & Wells Fargo ATHENA Awards Luncheon on November 17, 2015 at the Little America Hotel & Tower.

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