Erin Brockovich announced as ATHENA Leadership Award Luncheon keynote speaker

By: Greater Conroe / Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce
| Published 03/08/2023


CONROE, TX – Nationally-renowned consumer advocate, environmental activist, cultural icon and American hero Erin Brockovich will deliver the keynote address at the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce ATHENA Leadership Award Luncheon. The luncheon is scheduled for Friday, July 21, 2023, at the Margaritaville Lake Resort on Lake Conroe. The ATHENA Leadership Award Luncheon is presented by Better Bookkeepers and Brockovich’s keynote is sponsored by Worthington Manor.

“Better Bookkeepers is honored to support the ATHENA Leadership Award Luncheon,” said Melanie K. Bush, owner, Better Bookkeepers. “Our female leaders empower and drive us to reach higher and achieve more every day. Similar to our fabulous speaker this year, ATHENA leaders don’t settle. They consistently strive for righteousness in every situation.”

For the sixth year, the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce will partner with ATHENA International, an organization that develops, supports, and honors girls and women from the classroom to the boardroom, building a global pipeline of women leaders. To recognize the wonderful women in Montgomery County, the Chamber collects nominations for the ATHENA Leadership Award and sends them to ATHENA International, where a committee selects three finalists and an award recipient based on the following criteria:

• Demonstrates a high level of professional excellence
• Contributes time and energy to improve the quality of life for others
• Actively assists women and girls in achieving their full potential

The luncheon on July 21 will recognize nominees, honor finalists, and celebrate the recipient who is announced at the event. This is the only women-focused event in Montgomery County that celebrates women leaders from all industries, ages, and backgrounds. Over 500 guests are anticipated to attend the luncheon.

“Erin Brockovich has been a touchstone for multiple generations – not only as an environmental activist, but as a woman, a mother, and a fighter for humanity,” said Scott Harper, President of the Chamber. “Her story and her message are the perfect fit for ATHENA, which honors excellence and leadership in our community and recognizes women who contribute their time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community.”

Brockovich will be speaking on the importance of women empowerment and leadership.

It’s been over 20 years since Julia Roberts starred in the Oscar-winning tour de force, Erin Brockovich. The film turned an unknown legal researcher into a 20th century icon by showcasing how her dogged persistence was the impelling force behind the largest medical settlement lawsuit in history.

Brockovich learned how to come out on top from her tight-knit mid-western family in Lawrence, KS. Erin was the youngest child of an industrial engineer father and journalist mother. Her parents always believed that she could do anything she set her mind to if she learned to focus her amazing energy.

After a few years roaming around at various colleges, Erin decided that she wanted to be a California girl. She first landed a job as a management trainee for K-Mart, but when that didn’t make her swagger, she decided to study electrical engineering. Erin, her husband, and her two children settled in Reno, Nevada. After divorcing, the single mother became a secretary at a brokerage firm where she met and married her second husband. But that marriage was short lived, and the now mother of three was solo again.

After being seriously injured in a traffic accident in Reno, Erin moved back to California’s San Fernando Valley and hired Masry & Vititoe to represent her. They won a small settlement, but she still needed work, so she got a job at the law firm as a file clerk. It was while organizing papers on a pro bono real estate case that Erin first found medical records that would explode into the largest direct action lawsuit in U.S. history.

Erin’s exhaustive investigation uncovered that Pacific Gas & Electric had been poisoning the small town of Hinkley’s Water for over 30 years. It was because of Erin’s unwavering tenacity that PG&E had now been exposed for leaking toxic Chromium 6 into the ground water. This poison affected the health of the population of Hinkley. In 1996, the utility giant was forced to pay out the largest toxic tort injury settlement in U.S. history: $333 million in damages to more than 600 Hinkley residents.

The story and eventual film made “Erin Brockovich” a household name. Over time, Erin realized that she could use her notoriety to spread positive messages of personal empowerment and to encourage others to stand up and make a difference.

Erin Brockovich has conquered all forms of media. Her first TV project was ABC’s 2001 Special, Challenge America with Erin Brockovich, where she helped motivate and organize the rebuilding of a dilapidated park in downtown Manhattan. For three seasons, Erin hosted the Lifetime series, Final Justice with Erin Brockovich. The show celebrated everyday women who triumphed when faced with overwhelming adversity.

Erin then dominated the world of publishing with her New York Times Business Bestseller, Take It From Me: Life’s A Struggle, But You Can Win. Her latest release, Superman's Not Coming: Our National Water Crisis and What We the People Can Do About It, drew wide media attention before its publication.

Because of her fighting spirit, Erin has become the champion of countless women and men. She is this generation’s “Dear Abby,” and receives thousands of “Dear Erin” letters and emails each year from people who are begging for help and support in their own personal struggles. Erin proudly answers every one of them.

As President of Brockovich Research & Consulting, she is currently involved in numerous environmental projects worldwide. She has requests for her help in ground water contamination complaints in every state of the US, Australia, and other international hot spots. She is currently working on cases in California, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri.

Former ATHENA Leadership Award recipients have included:

• 2022: Natalie Saikowski Goertz, Guaranty Bank & Trust
• 2021: Carol Gooch, Montgomery County Association of Business Women
• 2020: Dr. Dana Hoyt, Sam Houston State University
• 2019: Dr. Marlen Tejeda, Alliance of New Americans
• 2018: Danielle Scheiner, Conroe Economic Development Council

The link to nominate a woman for the ATHENA Leadership Award will open in April. Sponsorship opportunities for the ATHENA Leadership Award Luncheon are available by contacting Courtney Budra, Director of Special Events, at 936.538.7111 or To purchase tickets to the event, visit