Athena Releases Pinnacle Awards Nominees for Advancing Women in STEM

-Southern California’s Signature Awards Gala Celebrates Women’s Empowerment on May 3- 


 SAN DIEGO – April 17, 2018 – Athena, a professional association dedicated to advancing women in STEM, is releasing its 2018 Pinnacle Awards nominees in advance of its May 3 awards ceremony at the Hyatt La Jolla. Athena’s Annual Pinnacle Awards Gala is a staple of Southern California's technology and life sciences sectors, convening 600+ industry leaders to honor those advancing the careers of women in the STEM fields. 

Athena’s 20th Anniversary & Awards ceremony will place the spotlight on corporations, institutions and individuals that mentor, promote and advance women in STEM. The corporate sponsors of this year’s Pinnacle Awards include industry titans, life sciences startups, educational centers, the media and the associated service providers. They include Sony as Title Sponsor, Qualcomm and ICE as Presenting Sponsor, Thermo Fisher Scientific, bioTheranostics and Intuit, as well as other diversity champions like Alexandria Real Estate, EY, IRRAS, Marsh McLennan Agency, Sales Benchmark Index and supporting organizations like San Diego Business Journal and Academy of Our Lady of Peace. 

2018 Pinnacle Awards Nominees By Category

Individual in Life Science 

Francie Barron | Nanomedical Diagnostics 

Dawn Barry | Luna DNA   

Denise Bevers | KindredBio 

Kara Bortone | Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS                

 Lisa Freeman-Cook | GenMark Diagnostics  

Ciara Kennedy | Amplyx Pharmaceuticals                      

 Christina Lim | Illumina, Inc. 

Alyssa Master | Nucleus Biologics 

Vatsala Naageshwaran | Absorption Systems 

Meredith Perry | Catalent San Diego 

Irit Rappley | Celgene Corporation 

Stella Sarraf | Amydis & Spinogenix 

Sara Zaknoen | ZED Strategic Consulting 

Individual in Education

Rommie Amaro | UC San Diego 

Stacey Brydges | University of California, San Diego 

Michelle Bunn | San Diego State University PLTW & Femineer Program 

Joylyn Darnell | National University 

Dr. Katherine Kantardjieff | California State University San Marcos 

Debra Kimberling | Private Consulting 

Sandra Lebron | San Diego Coastkeeper 

Kris Mooney | Fleet Science Center 

Youwen Ouyang | California State University San Marcos 

Shira Robbins | University of California, San Diego 

Individual in Technology 

Michiko Araki Kelley | Sony Electronics 

Alex Balazs | Intuit 

Kimbra Brookstein | Intuit 

Ioana Diana Broome | General Atomics Aeronautical Systems 

Aliza Carpio | Intuit 

Rashmi Char | Qualcomm 

Jaye Connolly-LaBelle | RippleNami, Inc. 

Kelly Davis | Sony Electronics 

Eiling Ferdaws | Qualcomm 

Houman Haghighi | Qualcomm Ventures 

Kathy Herring Hayashi | Qualcomm, Inc. 

Brittany Emal Hurd | Oracle 

Tania Hurt | Sony Electronics Virginia Jacobs | Intuit 

Neal Manowitz | Sony Electronics 

Rocio Montes | Intuit 

Saura Naderi | Qualcomm 

Karla Pinckes | WD-40 

Susan Poser | Oracle 

Kimberly Rinder | General Atomics Aeronautical Systems 

Sree Santhosh | Sony Interactive Entertainment 

Tony Schwarz | Qualcomm 

Kylie Taitano | Intuit 

Sara Vaz | Nordson 

Individual in Service 

Inge Bear | 

Amy Bergen | The Leadership Edge 

Alisa Beyer | LemonTree Partners 

Brandy Bullen | Sequoia Consulting Group 

Debbie Chelberg | Marsh & McLennan Agency 

Denise Hummel | Lead Inclusively, Inc. 

Will Marré | Leadership SPA 

Taylor Moyer | Managed Laboratory Services, Inc. 

Stephanie Seidman | Dentons US LLP 

Tali Tuchin | Mintz Levin

Carla Vallone | Girls Inc. of San Diego County 

Amy Wood | Cooley 



Alta Environmental 

Career Sparks 


Oracle Corporation 

Point Loma Nazarene University 


UC San Diego CREATE STEM Success Initiative 


Startup Company: Life Science & Technology


Daré Bioscience 



The 2018 Pinnacle Awards Gala is on May 3, 2018 at the Hyatt La Jolla.  Limited tickets and tables are available: Pinnacle sponsorship inquiries may contact: [email protected]

Athena is empowering progress together by advancing women in the STEM fields. Athena’s Southern California member community accesses executive leadership forums, educational and mentoring programs and cross-sector networking that propel job performance and career development. Our 20-year impact on advancing women in one of the nation's leading STEM hubs positions Athena as a premier women's empowerment advocate. 


Media Contact
Karin Fair 
[email protected]