Athena Alliance - Helping You with the Who You Know Challenge
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To: Shanna

Newsletter from the Desk of Coco Brown, Founder & CEO

   February 2017

Athena Board Placements

We are delighted to share the news that DoubleDutch, a global leading provider of Live Engagement Marketing solutions, announced on February 15th that two women, introduced to them by The Athena Alliance, are appointed to their board of directors and their board of advisors.

Lawrence Coburn - CEO of DoubleDutch says: 

"Sourcing world class board members is a tough challenge for a startup. Typically, our options are limited to going through our existing board, or personal networks. Athena opened up a new channel for us, and allowed us to meet incredibly talented and driven women execs who were board ready. I could not recommend Athena more strongly if sourcing world class women leaders for your board is important to you."

Read the press release!

Allison Watson will join the DoubleDutch Board of Directors. Allison currently leads the Marketing and Operations group for Microsoft United States where she oversees the day to day operational execution of a multi-billion dollar P&L as well as the transformation of the marketing that drives the revenue for that business.
Sandy Carter will be joining DoubleDutch as an advisor. Sandy is the founder and CEO of Silicon-Blitz, focused on helping companies with innovation, technology, and cognitive diversity. One of the leading pioneers in the digital business revolution, Sandy was a driving force of Innovation at IBM for the last decade.

Athena in the News

I was recently interviewed on board diversity for an article in TheStreet.  
View the article here!

Athena Alliance Joins Forces with Women2Boards

There is no shortage of qualified women for boards, but there is a need to connect these exceptional women to boards looking to fill an open seat. I founded the Athena Alliance to facilitate relationships between outstanding women and boards in need.

I'm incredibly excited that Nancy Sheppard, Founder & CEO of Women2Boards, joined the Athena Leadership Team in early February to work with us toward this goal!  Read more about our plans and about Nancy in my blog post.

Board Recruitment  Insights 

A Survey done several years ago by Stanford Rock Center for Corporate Governance and Heidrick & Struggles uncovered surprises about who makes the best board directors. full post

A  comprehensive report from the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute (IRRC) on tenure, age, and diversity trends. In 2016, one out of ten directors serving on S&P 1500 boards was new. full post

Benevolent Sexism, Unconscious Deflection, "Pinkwashing"​, and Power Oblivion

Why is it that many male leaders speak so highly of their female peers, bosses and staff, want them to succeed, claim to prefer a diverse and gender-balanced work environment, and yet most do so little to personally drive change toward gender parity in leadership?

Why is it that, until recently, men were fairly oblivious to the fact there even is an imbalance in leadership? Did each of them think only his team and his board were all male? my full post

Board Performance 

Top 10 Risks for Boards to Monitor in 2017

A recent survey conducted by the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) reported that, according to 96% of directors, “big picture” risks are overseen at the full board level.

North Carolina State University and Protiviti released the latest survey of C-level executives and directors regarding the top 10 key risks their organizations face. The number one risk for 2017 is economic conditions in markets the organization currently serves may significantly restrict growth opportunities. 

Examine your expertise to see how you might assist a company on these issues.  The top 10 risks can be found in their full report.

The Athena Program

Your Voice: Your Calling Card to a Board Seat

Voice is one of the most powerful ways by which we convey intent, emphasis, and create a lasting impression.Yet, very few of us understand how to use the power of voice effectively. Worse, most of us are unconscious of current speaking habits that undermine our authority, negatively impact the way we are perceived and ultimately keep us from having the impact and success we want in the world. As your journey towards the boardroom progresses, you will be evaluated on what you say and how you say it. full post

Hillary Wicht
Voice Coach for Athena Members

Athena Speaker Series: Trump Administration Impact on Businesses

March 8, 5:30-7:45 pm
San Francisco

We are joining with PwC to host a cocktail reception in celebration of International Women's Day, followed by a panel discussion by board members on the Trump Administration's policy agenda and related outcomes and predictions for businesses.

This event is open to CEOs, seated Board Directors, VCs, Athena Members and rospective Members, and Women2Boards Members. Reserve your spot!

Please let Coco know if you would like her to invite someone from your community who meets attendee requirements. 

Board Meeting Simulation.  You Play the Role!

In January and February we held our first Board Meeting Simulations for Athena members with our partner Boardwise.

Based on the notion that experience is the best teacher, our members play the roles of directors on the board of a company facing a critical challenge under the spotlight of serious corporate governance concerns. At the end of the session, the group reviews the benefits and risks of individual and group decision-making and how our board style contributed to the outcome.  

Members who have not participated, mark your calendar! Our next Board Simulation will be July 26.
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