Athena On Boards is a 5-month workshop series that prepares women with their boardroom placement strategies. Central to the program’s success is the assignment to a smaller cohort of 4-6 women and led by an executive female mentor that helps mentees:
Design your board bio that captures your governance capabilities and specific value-add for targeted companies;
Articulate and role-play your boardroom superpower pitch with your peers and mentor, and
Stay accountable in activating your network on your boardroom intentions and executing on your board search strategy.
Each participant completes an application detailing the types of board, the targeted sector and other relative info as we assign the dedicated mentoring cohorts accordingly. These smaller mentor groups meet on alternate months of the AoB workshops and are announced during workshop #1.
Workshop 1 | Introduction to Athena on Boards
Legal overview of roles and responsibilities and corporate landscape of boardroom compliance
Workshop 2 | How to Join the Winner's Circle
AoB alumni share their entire journey in landing their board seats
Workshop 3 | Women With A Seat & Voice In The Boardroom
Female Board Directors share their experiences on how governing actually works inside the boardroom
Following graduation, Athena publishes each alumnae profile on a dedicated webpage and promotes them in The Athena Effect newsletter and on social media throughout the year.
Significant market forces continue to generate strong demand for women on boards in 2021:
STATE STREET | Effective 2021, State Street notified its investment companies to provide “specific communications” to shareholders regarding (1) the role of diversity in the company’s human capital management practices and strategy, (2) the company’s goals regarding diversity, (3) measures of the diversity of the company’s board and global employee base, (4) goals for racial and ethnic representation at the board level, including how the board reflects the diversity of the company’s key stakeholders beyond investors, and (5) the board’s role in oversight of diversity and inclusion.
SB 826 | By the end of 2021, California-based companies must install at least two female directors on five-member boards, and at least three female directors on boards with six or more members
NASDAQ | In December 2020, Nasdaq issues its own diversity mandate that will require listed companies to have at least two diverse board members, including one person who self-identifies as female and one person who self-identifies as an underrepresented minority or LGBTQ+. An underrepresented minority, Nasdaq clarifies, is anyone who self-identifies as Black or African American; Hispanic or Latinx; Native American or Alaska Native; Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander; or Asian.
CA Secretary of State | In March 2020 | California released its compliance report of those companies subject to SB 826. They found that 330 of the 653 impacted companies filed a statement and 282 self-reported compliance with the law.
GOLDMAN SACHS | In January 2020, Goldman Sachs CEO announced at the World Economic Forum that they will not take any company public without women on their boards.
To secure your spot on the next cohort waitlist, contact Athena CEO, Holly Smithson
and launch your boardroom journey among Athena's pioneers.
"My AOB training was invaluable in searching out and securing this public company board seat. I would encourage anyone interested in a board seat to take the training and to be patient-it can take a few years to pay off."
Zed Strategic Consulting
Dr. Sara Zaknoen
Assoc. Director, Master Data & Analytics
USD Shiley - Marcos Engineering
Executive Advisory Board
"My AOB mentor led our small team in developing our board bio, our strategy and board interviews preparations. I enjoyed the experience and recommend it to anyone wanting to obtain a board seat. I'm honored to receive my first board seat before the program concluded thanks to Athena’s introductions.”
"AOB enables executive women like me to network and learn by opening up our minds to endless opportunities and the intimate exposure to board experience. My mentor and my cohort taught me invaluable lessons that are helping me thrive in my board leadership and career. Highly recommend AOB when you're ready to shine!"
Senior Director, Global Product Security
Gary Sinise Foundation
"The best part of the AOB program was the small, interactive sessions with our mentor. Our mentor was amazing and provided individual attention and feedback to each of us based on our unique backgrounds and value to a board. AOB gave me the confidence to know what to expect and how to identify the right opportunities for me to engage and invest my time."
VP Employee & Customer Experience
"I knew I wanted to educate myself about serving on boards. AOB was one of the best programs to not only learn about the board responsibilities and opportunities but also to build a much stronger network."
Head of IT Program Office
Jack In The Box
Association | Treasurer
"AOB was truly empowering and provided me with valuable knowledge to aid me in my Board journey. I gained confidence and felt empowered to showcase my value in the boardroom."
Senior Director, Biologics
Cue Health, Inc.
Digital Dx Ventures
VP, Chair & Governance
“I am very grateful for Athena’s Women on Boards Cohort program as a great learning vehicle to understand the board process. I am especially grateful for the amazing mentorship and coaching I received from Carrie Stone, one of the program mentors and to Holly Smithson for her intro to the OSS Board Chair. As I learned in the program, obtaining board positions is all about the network and the Athena program made this a reality for me.”
VP & General Manager
Platform Services Integrated Practice
One Stop Systems
"Serving on the Amunix board is gratifying and intellectually stimulating. AOB positioned me to leverage my expertise in a different way by supporting this dynamic and exciting company from the boardroom."
Audit Committee Chair
"AOB helped me target the areas where I can meaningfully contribute and how to best market those strengths. I highly recommend the networking, educational guidance, and solid preparation that AOB offers and look forward to driving success in my new board seat at CREW San Diego."
Director, Real Estate
UC San Diego
CREW San Diego
"As a mentor, I learned that what is intuitive for some is not intuitive for others. There are rock stars among us and some just need to be pushed onto the stage to shine."
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Complete Patient Care Group
"AOB helped me be more confident and prepared when interviewing for potential board seats. Beyond knowing ‘what a board does’, AOB helped me understand what specific value I could bring to an organization and where I should focus my search."
Chief Marketing Officer
San Diego Youth Symphony
“The real value in AOB was in the consistent confidence-building through the presenters, the breakout sessions, and the mentor sessions. The message that I was qualified for a board position was reinforced through each interaction. I could not have done it without the AOB experience.”
Chief Executive Officer
TGR Management Consulting, LLC
“Athena On Boards program profoundly increased my boardroom knowledge, motivation to serve others, and confidence, resulting in my first board appointment two months after completing the program. I appreciate the mentoring and encouragement from the invaluable Athena network.”
Global Senior Portfolio Manager
Project Management Institute (PMI)
San Diego | VP, Outreach
"AOB helped me prepare for securing my first board seat. transcenDANCE has an all-women board, and offers me the perfect foray into non-profit board work. This board experience has been rewarding and simply amazing."
Wilson, Sonsini, Godrich & Rosati
transcenDANCE | Board Treasurer
Women of Color in Law
“AOB gave me the education, confidence and push I needed to clarify my boardroom value. My mentoring group still continues to meet and encourage each other, and our mentor Jaye Connolly-LaBelle was simply outstanding, and still remains so dedicated support us with advice, guidance and introductions.”
Director, Product Managment
My Legacy Inc