SAS’ Michelle Proctor receives 2022 ATHENA National Leadership Award

SAS and ATHENA International celebrate Proctor’s professional achievements and advocacy for women in STEM at special virtual event

Michelle Proctor, Chief of Staff to the SAS Risk Research & Quantitative Solutions division and head of internal and external women’s initiatives groups, will receive the 2022 ATHENA National Leadership award.

ATHENA International presents global and national awards to individuals who have achieved the highest level of professional excellence; contribute time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community; and actively assist others, particularly women, in realizing their full leadership potential. Proctor joins notable past ATHENA Global and National award recipients, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, former professional tennis player Billie Jean King, NASA astronaut Christina Koch, and author and social justice advocate Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole.

“As a strong advocate for women and girls in technology and active ally of ATHENA International, Michelle Proctor is a real-life example of the Eight Principles of Enlightened Leadership that make up our ATHENA Leadership Model,” said Traci Corey, President and CEO of ATHENA International. “We are proud to recognize Michelle and all of her accomplishments and add her to the remarkable list of ATHENA’s Global and National Leadership award recipients.”

To celebrate the recognition, SAS will host a free, virtual event Oct. 4 honoring women’s successes in the workplace, while exploring the many obstacles they often must overcome to get there. During the event, Corey will present Proctor with the ATHENA National Leadership Award. The event opens with a special filmmaker-attended viewing of the award-winning documentary Pioneers in Skirts, which explores the stereotyping, bias and sexism that girls and women face. The impact film aims to help viewers experience a broadened perspective of inequities in our culture to instill a passion to make a difference. SAS, which is a Corporate Community Partner of the film, will also host a moderated Q&A with the mother-daughter filmmaking duo of Ashley Maria and Lea-Ann W. Berst.

“Michelle exemplifies the SAS values and promotes our diversity, equity and inclusion mission each day,” said Jenn Mann, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at SAS. “With a fierce passion for bringing more women into STEM, she has helped build inclusive, global communities that support and encourage women to succeed in and out of the workplace.”

Two decades of advocating for gender equality in STEM

After holding positions at NASA and IBM, Proctor joined SAS in 2012 and now serves as a Chief of Staff in the Risk Research & Quantitative Solutions division, where she is responsible for the daily operations of 250 global employees. She also serves as the sponsor of the internal SAS Women’s Initiatives Network (WIN) and as a co-creator and leader of the external Women in Analytics (WIA) network.

WIN, one of many SAS Employee Inclusion Groups, brings together over 1,000 members across SAS globally to help promote personal satisfaction and professional excellence, while reaching into local communities to empower women and inspire students to pursue STEM-related careers.

Proctor’s efforts also extend externally with WIA, an open community that aims to further SAS’ mission to strengthen diversity in the analytics field around the world. WIA celebrates lifelong learning, providing members career development and personal brand-building resources, as well as hosting unique, inspirational events. Extending her impact, Proctor also volunteers with several nonprofit organizations across North Carolina such as the Boys and Girls Club of Raleigh, ATHENA of the Triangle, and the Triangle Dress for Success chapter.

Learn more about diversity and inclusion at SAS.

About ATHENA International

ATHENA International is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to building a global pipeline of women leaders from the classroom to the boardroom. Our goal is to help these women and allies create a balance in leadership voices worldwide. Founded by Martha Mayhood Mertz in 1982, ATHENA International develops, supports and honors women and girls through programs based on the eight principles of the ATHENA Leadership Model. The program has touched the lives of thousands of women across 48 states and 11 countries. Learn more about ATHENA International and its leadership awards program at

About Pioneers in Skirts

Pioneers in Skirts is a 60-minute, multi-award-winning, entertaining and relatable documentary about the obstacles that get in the way of pioneering ambition. The film addresses the stereotyping and sexism that can chip away at a woman, hurt her potential and make her feel like she must rethink her dreams. For more information about using the power of this film to foster engagement, meaningful dialogue and social impact, visit

About SAS

SAS is a global leader in data and AI. With SAS software and industry-specific solutions, organizations transform data into trusted decisions. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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Michelle Proctor will receive the 2022 ATHENA National Leadership Award, joining notable past ATHENA Global and National award recipients, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, former professional tennis player Billie Jean King, NASA astronaut Christina Koch, and author and social justice advocate Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole.