2022 Athena Award Announced

Award Presented Annually to Person Demonstrating Outstanding Commitment to their Profession, their Community and the Advancement of Women

The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry and its Council for Working Women announced on Thursday that Caroline Portlock is the 2022 recipient of The ATHENA Award. Caroline becomes the 35th award recipient, and will be honored at a luncheon on Wednesday, September 21, 11:30 a.m., at the Jacob Henry Mansion Estate’s Victorian Ballroom.

The ATHENA Award Program was developed in 1982 to honor exceptional female or male leaders who demonstrate the highest levels of professional excellence, contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assist others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential.

Caroline Portlock has seen the evolution of women’s work roles dramatically transform during her twenty-four-year career in business services. Many women have paved the way for not only her, but others gaining a seat at the table and because of those leaders, she continually works to pay it forward. Portlock has had the good fortune to work alongside numerous extremely talented women and continues to enjoy collaboration amongst her peers, recruiting women into the workforce, and ultimately mentoring and counseling those that are searching to be lifted up and realize personal and professional goals.

Caroline currently serves as the Director of the Workforce Investment Board of Will County. Her experience includes Director of Workforce Development at Joliet Junior College, President and CEO of the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Human, Community and Public Relations at Harrah’s Casino. In addition, she carries an MBA from the University of St. Francis and an Institute for Organization Management (IOM) designation from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Understanding business requirements and connecting women with the resources needed to succeed is something she knows well and thoroughly enjoys. Portlock uses the same philosophy when supporting other women in the community; she exemplifies what it means to have an informal network support. Caroline comments,

“We (women) typically know what we need to do but sometimes struggle with finding the resources or are not in a place to access said resources. Having an informal network of people who support you is so important. Knowing someone will tap into their network to help you overcome a challenge or reach a goal is something we all should be willing to do.”

She knows that for women, often the hardest part of overcoming an obstacle is reaching out and asking for help. Therefore, Caroline acts as a mentor and support system herself, and advocates for tapping into one’s own network to help others defeat a challenge or reach a goal.

Throughout her career, Caroline has been actively involved in Will and Grundy Counties thanks to many mentors and role models that instilled a deep sense of service in her. With a commitment to the community like Caroline’s, she displays a long list of accolades including serving as Vice-Chair of the Illinois Workforce Partnership, chartering the Grundy Will HR Association, chairing the Grundy Will HR Association HR Summit and serving as Lieutenant Governor for Kiwanis Division 23. Portlock is also a Kiwanis past Distinguished President (the 3rd to hold that office in the Club’s 103-year history) and past Treasurer. She is past President of the University of St. Francis Alumni Board and long-time volunteer for Will County Habitat for Humanity and their Women Build initiative.

Caroline’s additional awards, recognitions, community, and chamber involvements include:

  • Keynote Speaker – Shaw Media’s Women of Distinction 2014 & 2016
  • 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award – University of St. Francis
  • Kiwanis Club of Joliet
  • Special events volunteer – Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Please join the members of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry to honor Caroline Portlock on Wednesday, September 21 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Jacob Henry Mansion’s Victorian Ballroom as we celebrate her many accomplishments and recognize the path that Caroline has lighted for many to follow. Contact the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry at (815) 727-5371 or online at www.jolietchamber.com to make reservations.

For the most current information about the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry, follow us on Facebook @jolietchamberofcommerceandindustry.

About the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry

The Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry is the largest Chamber in Will County and one of the largest and most active Chambers of Commerce in Illinois representing nearly 1,000 member businesses and organizations from a wide variety of categories.  The Chamber carries out its mission by advocating in the interest of business and providing opportunities for committee work, networking, promotion, and continuing professional development.  The Chamber also strongly believes in a solid educational system base and has been awarded multiple times on the local and state level for the work of their Education Committee.