Lisa A. Weber, CEO of Timeless Frames, Timeless Decor and Timeless Expressions, was surprised when she heard she was an Athena Award winner.
She joked that Peter J. Whitmore, Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, was very pleased to be one of the first who rendered me speechless during a phone call alerting her to the decision.
This is an overwhelmingly humbling honor for me, she said during the chambers award announcement Wednesday afternoon, surrounded by a group of past winners.
The award is presented to a person recognized for professional excellence, for providing valuable service to the community and for actively assisting women in realizing their full leadership potential.
Clearly, she has a very strong business background in literally turning around Timeless Frames, Mr. Whitmore said. And she has a strong civic commitment in her service on many organizations and shes put her money where her mouth is. ... Shes the real deal.
Mrs. Weber bought Timeless Frames in 1999, when it had seven employees. Timeless Frames and Timeless Decor won the Business of the Year award from the chamber in 2008. Timeless Expressions, a custom photo art and album website, was added in July 2010 at the Timeless Decor building. All three businesses, which have about 200 employees, are in the Jefferson County Corporate Park off outer Coffeen Street.
Mrs. Weber was nominated by Daniel J. Villa, president of the Samaritan Medical Center board, because of her work on the executive committee of that board, as chairwoman of the Samaritan Foundation of Northern New York board and with the Greater Watertown American Heart Walk.
She is a wonderful role model and mentor, said Elizabeth C. Fipps, executive director of Samaritan Foundation.
Mrs. Weber is a board member of Family Counseling Service of Northern New York and of the governors new economic development council for the north country. She has served on the boards of the chamber, Jefferson County Job Development Corp. and CITEC, and as a committee member for the County Economic Development Strategy group. She also is a member of Sunrise Rotary.
She credited some creative thinking for much of her business success.
Not too long after I bought Timeless Frames, we were having a hard time finding people for leadership positions whose experience was related to the business, Mrs. Weber said. We decided to get young people just graduating from college who want to be back in their hometown, so we brought a lot of young leaders into the company, which helped us grow immensely. They brought talent, energy and a lack of fear, so they were willing to do anything.
The award originated in 1982 in Lansing, Mich., and to date there have been more than 5,000 recipients in more than 500 communities in the United States, Canada, China, Russia, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. Watertowns chamber has given the award annually since 1991.
Mrs. Weber will receive the award at the chambers fall dinner on Sept. 15 at Ryans Lookout, Henderson, and sponsored by HSBC Bank USA, Timeless Frames and WWNY-TV7/WNYF-TV28. For more information, see the chambers website at www.watertownny.com.