Athena Alliance - Helping You with the Who You Know Challenge
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Newsletter from the Desk of Coco Brown, Founder & CEO

   March 2017

Athena Board Successes

The Athena Alliance is proud to have supported Athena members Merline Saintil and Jessica Denecor in their journeys to their board seats. 

"We are pleased to welcome Ms. Saintil to our Boards of Directors and especially look forward to the valuable insight she brings with regard to the information technology arena.” 
Mark J. Grescovish  - President and CEO of Banner Corporation and Banner Bank
"Jessica has successfully completed incredibly complex projects and understands how to go from insight to execution. MobileIron shareholders will benefit from her understanding of the business challenges our customers face and how IT can be used to positively influence business outcomes."
Barry Mainz - President and CEO of MobileIron press release
Merline Saintil is a technology leader who has been recognized as one of the most Powerful Women Engineers in the World, a 40 under 40 honoree for Technology Diversity, and currently serves as the Head of Operations in Product & Technology at Intuit.
Jessica Denecour provides leadership for Varian’s global Information Technology organization. Prior to joining Varian in January 2006, she served in a variety of management positions over a 20+ year career at Agilent Technologies and Hewlett Packard. 

What Industry Leaders Say About The Athena Alliance

“As a venture capitalist, I serve on boards and help our companies build their boards. I have participated in a number of Athena Alliance events, and have always been impressed by the quality of executives in the network, the content of the events, and the atmosphere of community Athena fosters. Recently, I asked the Athena Alliance to make referrals of candidates for several large public boards. The Athena Group continually identifies the best few women to put forward. Their credibility in this regard enhances my ability to serve my network in the same way and ensures I will continue to turn to Athena as new opportunities arise."

- Ann Winblad
Managing Director Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Board Director over the last 25 years.
Current Boards include MuleSoft, Sonatype, Ace Metrix,  Optimine, the Board of Trustees
University of St. Thomas and Trustee of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation.

Fun and Encouragement

A Ted Talk:
Why do ambitious women have flat heads?

Dame Stephanie Shirley may be the most successful tech entrepreneur you never heard of.

In the 60s, she founded a pioneering all-woman software company in the UK, which was ultimately valued at $3 billion. In this frank and often hilarious talk, she explains why she went by “Steve” and shares some sure-fire ways to identify ambitious women! the TEDTalk

Powerful Men and the Bystander Effect

Women across the country are proving to be strong, capable and willing to step up to the respective plate and make a difference. But we still need men to put us in the game.

I’ve touched on the importance of men in getting women to board seats before, in last year’s “Enough Talk! Men, You Can Make the Biggest Difference in Moving the Needle Faster Toward Diversity.” For the many male leaders I talk to who are excited to actively engage in our challenge, the tips I speak to in this article, and to them in person, have provided them with helpful and practical ways to help. full post

Board Recruitment Insights

Gender Diversity Fenwick 2016 Proxy Season

Findings from the Fenwick & West Gender Diversity 2016 Proxy Season Survey, which looks at women’s positions on boards based on SEC data since 1996, point to a few promising trends and areas where Silicon Valley’s top public firms surpass the S&P 100 in their inclusion. more

The Athena Program

Finding Your Unique Selling Proposition


Gary Purece is one of several executive advisors for Athena members.  He is a communications advisor who assists executives in clearly articulating their corporate and personal brand message.  Athena Alliance members receive two hours of coaching with Gary to start the process of writing their own board bio for future placement.

Gary penned this advice on how to identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)a term which is interchangeable with “value proposition” or “brand statement.” full post

Gary Purece
Executive Advisor for Athena Members

Athena Events 

Athena Member CIOs to meet with Open Venture CEOs

As part of our membership model, we extend an Athena member's network by making key connections to people who are connected to boards. A group of CIO members have been invited to meet with OpenView Venture Partners Portfolio CEOs for an evening of networking. I will also be facilitating a discussion with these same CEOs, entitled Not Your Typical Diversity Conversation the following day.
Athena Member Elevator Pitch Practice
Our next Athena Elevator Pitch night is coming up on April 6. This is a members only program. Please let me know if you will be able to make it to test your board value pitch with others!

Athena Members to Present at Smart Recruiters - Hiring Success '17

We are a key sponsor at this year's event on April 10-12 in San Francisco. Our membership model helps members increase their visibility as industry leaders by encouraging and arranging speaking engagements. We are excited to have nine members speaking on panels. Their topics include: the atmosphere of women in tech, hiring and sourcing successfully for diversity and closing the gender gap at all ranks of business. Visit here to see the program and our thought-leader members presenting.
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