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Basketball coach among Chamber honourees

In recognition of her outstanding professionalism, community service, inspiration and mentoring of young athletes -- especially women – the Windsor Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce will confer the 2012 Athena Award on Lancer women’s basketball coach Chantal Vallée during its business excellence awards, April 25 at the Ciociaro Club.

The award honours men and women for business excellence, for community service, and for encouraging women to achieve their leadership potential.

The selection committee called Vallée “a dynamic young woman who brought her vision and passion for basketball to Windsor and, in five years, turned a losing basketball program into national champions” after back-to-back Canadian Interuniversity Sport titles in 2011 and 2012.

It noted her holistic approach, which moulds her players into proud ambassadors of Windsor and its university: “She leads by example, offering basketball clinics to high school students, mentoring young women about body image, being a guest speaker at workshops for students and staff and volunteering countless hours at charity fundraising events.”

In winning this award, Vallée joins more than a dozen outstanding members of the community, including realtor Katherine Roth and former Ontario minister of economic development and trade Sandra Pupatello.

Fouad Tayfour, medical director of the Windsor Laser Eye Institute and a member of the UWindsor Board of Governors, will receive the Believe Windsor Essex award.

Award nominees with a campus connection include former Alumni Association president Peter Hrastovec, up for Professional of the Year, and Rising Star award finalists Fabio Costante, Gary Kalaci and Denny Timm – all recent grads.

Paul Godfrey, president of Postmedia Network, is scheduled as guest speaker at the awards dinner, which opens with a cocktail reception at 5 p.m. Tickets are $135; register online or phone Marianne Burke at 519-966-3696, ext. 21.