Sara Lachman of Miller Johnson named Athena Young Professional for 2015

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Sara Lachman of Miller Johnson was presented with the ATHENA® Young Professional Award by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce at the 26th annual ATHENA Awards Celebration luncheon on September 17.

The award — created in late 2007 by ATHENA International and adopted by the Grand Rapids Chamber in 2008 — recognizes emerging leaders in communities with ATHENA programs. The ATHENA program honors those who have demonstrated leadership in their field, opened doors of opportunities for women, contributed time and talent to the community, and are role models to others—particularly young women—in the community.

Ten women were finalists for the 2015 ATHENA Young Professional Award this year, including Lachman.

“Sara truly exemplifies the tenets of the ATHENA Leadership Model through her leadership, professional excellence, and community involvement,” said Rick Baker, president & CEO of the Chamber. “Her personal story of hard work and perseverance to become a successful lawyer and active community trustee is an inspiration to all young women and leaders alike. It’s an honor to recognize Sara as our ATHENA Young Professional Award recipient this year.”

A practicing lawyer since 2004, Lachman is an experienced civil litigator at Miller Johnson — known for her thorough, imaginative and professional advocacy. She is the creator of Miller Johnson’s current mentorship program, chairs the firm’s recruiting, and was previously their volunteer coordinator. She has received accolades as one of only 30 women in Michigan named as to the 2014 Women in the Law list by Michigan Lawyer's Weekly.

As a committed young professional dedicated to helping others within her field and within the community, Lachman has actively engaged in many organizations and causes. She presently serves as chair of the Grand Rapids Bar Association’s Litigation Section, on the East Grand Rapids Planning Commission, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Grand Rapids Public Museum Foundation—where she also served as cochair for the museum’s Night on the Nile event. She is a 2008 graduate of Leadership Grand Rapids, a 2014 graduate of Leadership Advantage, and a current council member for the Center for Community Leadership.

Lachman is also the founder and president of Good Seeds, a program dedicated to educating people about the personal and societal impacts of nutritional choices with the aim to help move people towards healthier diets. She volunteers for Kids’ Food Basket, serves suppers at Dégagé Ministries and through Inter-Faith Hospitality Network, and has previously sat on boards and committees for the Fulton Street Farmers Market, Local First, Safe Haven Ministries, Grand Rapids Ballet, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks, and John Ball Park Zoo.

In addition to presenting Lachman with the ATHENA Young Professional Award, the luncheon also featured the Chamber’s 2015 ATHENA Award presentation to Rev. Peggy Lawrence Burns, director of Intergenerational Programs at Senior Neighbors (formerly Gerontology Network) and founder of the Traveling Grannies & Grandpas Program. The event also included the presentation of $7,500 in grand total for ATHENA scholarships given to five women over 30 who have returned to college to complete their degrees.