– San Diego Business Journal Honors 15 Top Female Business Leaders for 2019 –

SAN DIEGO, November 14, 2019 – Athena announces that its Chief Executive Officer, Holly Smithson is awarded San Diego Business Journal (SDBJ) Business Woman of the Year for 2019.  The SDBJ annually recognizes San Diego business leaders contributing with distinction to their workplaces and communities. An independent judging panel selected 15 winners from a pool of more than 200 candidates based on excellence in innovation, entrepreneurship, professional accomplishment and community leadership.

“Nothing fuels my fire more than celebrating with high impact female leaders aligned to make San Diego a destination for diversity,” said Smithson. “This winner’s circle is uniquely comprised of an inclusive community that values gender equality and the advancement of women leaders as a means to drive corporate performance.”

Prior to joining Athena as CEO in 2017, Smithson served as Vice President, Business Strategy at the California Life Sciences Association, the nation’s largest statewide advocacy organization for the life sciences sector. She previously served as President & COO at Cleantech San Diego, one of the first industry associations to establish the region as a global hub. Smithson worked in public policy for a decade as a Presidential Appointee at several federal agencies and as a registered lobbyist in Washington, D.C.  Smithson began her career in broadcast journalism as a news director and anchor for several television and all-talk radio stations.  She has been recognized by multiple organizations, including San Diego Business Journal (CEO of the Year, 2019), Xconomy (Diversity Champion Finalist, 2019), San Diego Magazine (Woman of the Year Finalist, 2019).

About Athena
Athena is a women’s empowerment organization that fast tracks women in STEM through leadership development. In transforming female scientists and technologists into corporate leaders, the goal is to widen the bridge and advance 1 million women leading in STEM by 2030.  Its 20+ year history of advancing women in one of the nation's leading STEM hubs marks Athena as a premier women's empowerment advocate. For more information: and follow @athenasandiego