top of page
AthenaLogoMASTER_2024-06.png

PURPOSE

Serve as the premier women’s advocacy organization that transforms women working in STEM into corporate leaders

MISSION

Widen the bridge to advance ONE MILLION WOMEN LEADING IN STEM BY 2030

CORE VALUES

Empower through wisdom, create a safe harbor, avoid comfort zone & take risks, fanatical attention to excellence, have FUN

OVERVIEW

Athena is a global women's advocacy organization that fast-tracks women in STEM through leadership development, mentoring, and advocacy initiatives.

WHAT SETS ATHENA APART

Several factors differentiate Athena from other women’s leadership development organizations: 

  • Women In STEM Focused

  • Leadership Development Content Developed by STEM Women and their Male Allies

  • Offer Both Executive & Aspiring Leaders Career-Level Services

  • Collaborator with the UN Global Compact: SDG5 | Gender Equality 

  • Headquartered in Global STEM Hub

  • 25 Year History

  • Philanthropic Arm

  • No National Affiliation

Athena offers corporate partnerships to STEM companies and the service providers that support them to advance their diversity, equity, inclusion, and social impact objectives.

  • Athena offers individual memberships to STEM professionals accessing our suite of leadership development, mentorship, and global advocacy initiatives.

  • Athena's niche is in providing custom, purpose-built platforms with the latest leadership training offerings that allow members to advance their careers in STEM.

Team Athena

HollyHeadshot2024.jpeg

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Headshot1.jpg

SHERI CARR

HEAD OF GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS

Katherine Delapena Professional Headshot.jpeg

KATHERINE DELAPENA

PROGRAM SPECIALIST

Sophia 7.17.jpeg

SOPHIA HARRELL

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

IMG_5298_edited.jpg

WENDY MORRISON

COMPTROLLER

nick.jpg

NICK FISHER

DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY

About Us

Mission and History

Athena’s mission is to widen the bridge to advance

one million women leading in STEM by 2030

Athena is a global, non-profit, advocacy organization that fast-tracks women in STEM through its portfolio of leadership programs and advocacy initiatives.

By transforming women working in STEM into corporate leaders, Athena is widening the bridge to advance 1 million women leading in STEM, by 2030. With its 25+ year history anchored in California’s global STEM hub, Athena is now accelerating innovation through gender equality, worldwide.

History

In 1998, no women’s organization existed to support and develop executives leading inside San Diego’s STEM community. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Athena was born of pure necessity. At a time when a handful of remarkable executive women lacked the social capital and market insights to effectively navigate inside these male-dominated industries, they converged with a clear vision and launched Athena. Over twenty years later, the "Athena Effect" is stronger than ever. While women are grossly underrepresented in the STEM economy, the Athena community is unwavering in its pursuit to deliver innovation through diversity. Athena members range from tech entrepreneurs to members of academia to life sciences CEOs, all of whom benefit from the gold-standard leadership development that Athena offers to STEM professionals.

Milestones

2023

Athena commemorates its 25-years of powering women’s leadership journey by celebrating its global stakeholder community, its mission and diversity champions. The year-long celebration #IAMONEINAMILLION digitally showcases the success drivers of STEM women and companies enabling Athena’s mission of advancing 1 million women leading in STEM, by 2030.

2022

In under 2 years of deploying its turn-key digital hub to give access to Athena’s portfolio of leadership content without boundaries, Athena reaches more than 135 countries, educating women and diversity advocates worldwide.

2021

Athena launches its inaugural Male Allyship Committee. In furtherance of its DEI commitment, these essential diversity advocates address the roadblocks that male allies face in taking action, broadly promoting and disseminating these best practices and activating more male across the STEM economy.

2020

Athena announces the launch of its full-scale digital transformation in the midst of a global pandemic, providing a premier digital hub for women’s leadership journey, worldwide.

2019

During the United Nations 73rd General Assembly, Athena and the New York Academy of Sciences announce their partnership to launch the “Athena Assembly” in efforts to publish a data-driven “DEI playbook” to drive corporate performance through gender equality.

2018

Athena marks its 20-year milestone of advancing STEM women’s career and leadership development and announces new collaboration with the United Nations Global Compact.

2017

Athena San Diego removes “San Diego” from its name reflecting its market expansion goals and aspirations to serve women beyond California.

2008

Athena San Diego becomes an independent 501(c)(6) non-profit membership-based, business league, governed by a Board of Directors and dedicated to advancing the professional and leadership development of women in STEM.

2001

Athena San Diego becomes a stand-alone, member-based organization initially under the auspices of UC San Diego Extension and then UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management.

2001

Athena San Diego Foundation is established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to award merit-based scholarships to young women pursuing undergraduate degrees in sciences, technology, engineering, and math.

1998

Athena San Diego launches as an executive women's networking group to support female STEM executives; and affiliates with UC San Diego CONNECT, San Diego's flagship entrepreneurial program.

Board Officers & Executive Committee

image.png

SUSAN POSER

CHAIR

VP, Culture & Engagement | Oracle

image.png

SARA HYZER

TREASURER

Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer | WD40

image.png

HOLLY SMITHSON

CEO & SECRETARY

CEO | Athena

image.png

DR. GINA WALLAR

VICE-CHAIR

SVP & General Manager | Fulgent Genetics

image.png

CHRISTINA ENGLAND

Vice President Marketing - Acute Care Franchise | Heron Therapeutics

Board of Directors

KaraBortone.png

DR. KARA BORTONE

Senior Director, Sourcing & Portfolio Management | Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS

KaraBortone.png

KRISTIN GUSTAFSON

Founder & CEO | Skapa Bio

KaraBortone.png

JOANNA HUBBERTS

Partner | Cooley

KaraBortone.png

HALA MADANAT

VP, Research & Innovation & Professor | San Diego State University

KaraBortone.png

FATIMA OGUZ

Director | Qualcomm

KaraBortone.png

J. TANNER

Managing Director | EY

KaraBortone.png

ALESSANDRA WALL

CEO | Noteworthy

KaraBortone.png

NICOLE WINTERS

Executive Vice President | JLL

KaraBortone.png

JAYE CONNOLLY

Chairman and CEO | RippleNami, Inc.

KaraBortone.png

KELLY HON

Sr Manager, Product Development Engineering | BD

KaraBortone.png

PANTEA KHODAMI

Worldwide Head of Precision Medicine & Genomics | AWS

KaraBortone.png

DR. LESLIE NANGLE

Vice President, Research | aTyr Pharma

KaraBortone.png

WENDY QUACH

Director of Operations | SDGE

KaraBortone.png

TRACY TING

SVP & CHRO | Encore Capital Group

KaraBortone.png

MARTHA WECKEL

VP Commercial | TwinStrand Biosciences

Board Officers
Board of Directors

ATHENA EMERITUS AND FOUNDING BOARD MEMBERS

 

We are grateful to the leaders and visionaries that enabled Athena’s 25 year impact in advancing professional women in STEM. Their collective insights and dedication drove the success in building a robust member portfolio serving STEM executives, managers, educators, entrepreneurs and service providers. We salute and honor these founding members for executing on a vision where the world views women’s contributions to innovation as a core strategic value.

Helen Adams

Barbara Drinkrow

Deborah Jondall

Sigrid Pate*

Christie Vail

Erna Adelson

Berit Durler

AnneMarie Kaiser

Leni Perciado

Elaine Weidenhammer

Cathy Akin*

Karin Eastham

Beth Kinsey*

Aboli Rane

Sara Wilensky Napoli

Gemini Babla

Sue Ebner

Karen Klause*

Rashmi Char

Liz Gasser

Revathi Subramanian

Rhonda Rhyne

Annette Winn

Suzanne Biggs

Tamar Elkeles*

Sarah Lamade

Gwen Rosenberg

Teresa Young

Janice Brown

Maureen Feerick

Patti Lazard

Faye Russell

Nicola Zahl

Barbara Bry*

Karen Fisher

Linda Le Beau*

Killu Sanborn

Julie Burgess

Lola Adeyemo

Michele Comtois

Jennifer Brown

Lynne Friedmann*

Dawn Saunders

Anita Busquets

Tammy Garbett

Sandra Louis Schmid

Jeni Schrimsher

Donna Caley Leach*

Karen Garsson

Maggie Lowe

Joleen Schultz

Cathryn Campbell*

Brenda Gebler

Catherine Mackey

Linda Seaton

Kelly Cashion

Susan Gonick

Margaret Mann

Carolyn Fritz

Katherine Kantardjieff

Grace Chui-Miller

Stephanie Shkolnik

Jennifer Cayer

Cathy Gonzales

Vicki Marion

Abby Silverman

Kay Chandler

Diane Goostree

Magda Marquet

Kim Silverman

June Chocheles

Lisa Grillone

Lisa Martens

Joan Stafslien

Nancy Conyers

Lisa Haile

Donna Nichols

Deirdre Stewart

Nicole DeBerg

Lee Wills

Chadia Robertson

Kathleen Hedges

Barbara Noerenberg

Julie Sullivan

Jan Dehesh

Emilie Hersh

Anne O’Donnell*

Susan Ten Eyck Mallory*

Martha Dennis*

Denise Jackson

Benita Page*

Denise Thompson

Karen Anderson

Wendy Johnson

Tracy Lawhon

Jackie Townsend

Sabrina Johnson

Constance Maples

Judy Muller-Cohn

Ruchika Rastogi

Jean Stadwiser

 

*Founding Board Member

ATHENA FOUNDATION BOARD OFFICERS

Sara Zaknoen BoD 2022.png

SARA ZAKNOEN

PRESIDENT

Principal | Zed Strategic Consulting

image.png

SUE EBNER

TREASURER

Principal | Ebner Consults

ATHENA FOUNDATION BOARD

Tracy Lawhon 2021.JPG

TRACY LAWHON

Strategic Development and Operations Consultant

image.png

AMY ROMAKER

Director, Client Service |

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP

image.png

VICKI MARION

President | The Marion Group

image.png

GWEN ROSENBERG

Vice President of Global Corporate Communications | 

Integrated DNA Technologies

bottom of page