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A genuine person. An ability to make friends. A rare salesperson. A community worker. Devoted grandmother. Loving mother.

These words were used Thursday to describe Rhoda Ramsey, president and a partner in the Ramsey Group, a real estate firm, when she received the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce's annual Athena Businesswoman of the Year Award in the Salt Palace.Sponsored by First Security Bank, the award is an abstract statue of the Greek Goddess Athena and was presented to Ramsey by L. Scott Nelson, president and chief executive officer of First Security Bank of Utah and vice chairman of the chamber's board of governors.

Lisa Ramsey Adams, one of Ramsey's daughters, Sue Christensen, a partner in the Ramsey Group, and Fred S. Ball, chamber president, took turns extolling the accomplishments and traits of one of Utah's most successful real estate people.

The award is presented annually during the Chamber's Business to Business Expo in the Salt Palace to a woman who has demonstrated leadership in her business or profession, demonstrated support of professional women and provided unselfish assistance on their behalf, and provided valuable service to the community.

Nelson said that throughout her 27 years in professional and community service Ramsey has been an advocate of ensuring that women have a strong voice. "She is described as an inspiration to those around her, a legend and deserving of the love and respect she is given by her community and co-workers," Nelson said.

Ramsey served on the chamber's board of governors from 1986 to 1989 and on the executive committee and nominating committee from 1987 to 1989. She received the Pathfinder Award during the Women and Business Conference, has been a speaker at the chamber's Business Week and is a division chairwomen for the Slam Dunk Challenge, the chamber's membership drive.

She was the first woman to receive the Salesperson of the Year Award from the Salt Lake Board of Realtors and has been named outstanding woman in business by Utah Business Magazine.