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2023 ATHENA Lansing Award Goes to Pingston

Choose Lansing president and CEO honored for community leadership

By Kathy Gibbons

Julie Pingston accepts the 2023 ATHENA Lansing Leadership Award. || Courtesy of Choose Lansing

When Julie Pingston first learned she was to be the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 ATHENA Lansing Leadership Award recipient, it didn’t sink in.

“I was in denial because so many people that I have admired in our community have received this award in the past,” says the president and CEO of Choose Lansing. “They have taught me and given me role models to exemplify and have leadership philosophies I have gravitated to, so to be in the company of people who have trailblazed in the community was something I didn’t adjust to very quickly.But over time, I’ve been able to understand the value I’ve given to the community and the programs I’ve initiated.”

Working for Lansing’s CVB for 31 years, Pingston became its president and CEO in March 2020. Accessibility has been one of her top initiatives, she says, explaining that she’s been working for the past six years to help the community and CVB members be as welcoming as possible to those who have autism.

“That work has just grown,” she says. “We were able to train over 1,000 people in our community to best welcome and understand those who might be coming to their businesses and locations on the autism spectrum.”

The 2023 ATHENA Lansing award recipient serves as president of the Potter Park Zoological Society and is a member of the zoo’s board, board member of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, treasurer of the Michigan Association of CVBs, board member of the Holt Education Foundation, and past officer of a variety of organizations including the Rotary Club of Lansing and its foundation. In 2008, she was Michigan Meetings + Events magazine’s Hall of Fame inductee/Supplier of the Year.

Pingston received the 2023 ATHENA Lansing Leadership Award during the annual ATHENA Lansing Celebration held earlier this month at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center at Michigan State University. She’s the 42nd person to receive it.

“Julie’s work as the region’s No. 1 ambassador for tourism has not only been felt throughout our community, but has also been recognized on state and national levels,” Lansing Regional Chamber President and CEO Tim Daman says in a prepared statement. “She has served in leadership positions on the boards of numerous nonprofit organizations, and she is most generous in her support and mentoring of other women leaders in the community.”