Clifton is first winner of Athena Young Professional Award

CHAMPAIGN – Rhiannon Clifton has been named the first winner of the Athena Young Professional Award, given to an "emerging leader" between the ages of 25 and 35.

The award is sponsored by past winners of the Athena Award. It was presented at the Athena Award luncheon held Thursday at the Champaign Country Club.

Clifton is program director for the Department of Advertising in the University of Illinois College of Media, a job she took last August.

She received a bachelor's degree in advertising from the UI in 2000 and worked for Starcom MediaVest Group in Chicago from 2000 to 2005.

From 2005 until last year, she worked for the Technology Entrepreneur Center in the UI College of Engineering – most of that time as the center's assistant director.

Clifton is program chair for the Executive Club of Champaign County and served as publicity coordinator for the Champaign County Freedom Celebration from 2005 to 2007.

She is a Faculty Fellow in Entrepreneurship for the UI's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

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