Athena Women Who Mean Business

Each year, the San Diego Business Journal recognizes dynamic women business leaders who have contributed significantly to San Diego’s business, civic and cultural landscape at the annual Women Who Mean Business awards.

It is only natural that San Diego’s leadership is found within Athena - the premier organization for executive women in San Diego's technology and business communities. Athena delivers a unique set of educational and motivational programs, as well as professional and networking opportunities, to foster the growth of its members.

We are proud to announce the Athena members that have been nominated for the 2016 Women Who Mean Business award. 

Kelly Crothers - Athena Women Who Mean BusinessKelly Crothers
Director, Marketing – Global Customer Success at Cisco

Kelly was a driving force behind establishing MaintenanceNet as a global leader in service revenue generation before it was acquired by Cisco. Making use of her natural leadership skills, she helped guide the company to the next level with Cisco, a global technology powerhouse. Now as Director of Marketing, she is dedicated to helping Cisco partners use proven digital engagement practices to transform their businesses and create customers for life.

Kelly has also cultivated a big picture mentality that inspires employees to contribute to the community, treat vendors and customers properly and with integrity above all things. In addition, she works closely with young staff members to develop their leadership and professional skills to support a “build from within” philosophy.  

Jan Denesh - Athena Women Who Mean BusinessJan Dehesh
Director, Development - Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego

Jan has over 20 years of executive experience in all aspects of the wireless telecommunication industry - from technology start-up to product rollout, from commercial ramp up to development of industry standards. She believes that understanding information technology’s roots creates an excellent basis for understanding issues in emerging wireless application development. 

Before joining the faculty at UCSD, Jan founded Dehesh International, Inc., a company that works with emerging stage wireless companies around the world, as well as investment banks in San Diego and New York to build bridges between technologists, investors, and telecom companies. She was also President at Statmon Technologies and a Vice President at Qualcomm, Inc. She has fostered strong relationships with major industry players both domestically and internationally and is active in community and telecom industry organizations.

Cheryl Goodman - Athena Women Who Mean BusinessCheryl Goodman
Executive Director, Athena

Cheryl Goodman is a serial entrepreneur, a former Qualcomm Inc. executive and has been an active member of Athena since 2008. Before taking over as Executive Director, Cheryl co-chaired and moderated Athena’s flagship Signature Series programs. 

Over the course of her career, Goodman has launched eight products in five countries and garnered numerous awards, including the Wall Street Journal Innovation Award, PC Magazine Technical Excellence Award and EDN’s Innovation Award. Most recently, Cheryl was the founder of SoGloMo, a 360 degree marketing firm focused on the power of marketing, mobile and social.

Cheryl also served as an executive in business development/ marketing at Qualcomm, Inc., where she oversaw brands such as Gimbal™, LTE Broadcast, mirasol and MediaFLO.  As a former broadcast journalist for CBS and ABC affiliates, Goodman is a frequent commentator to press on mobile technologies, mobile marketing strategies and women in STEM leadership. She is a sought-after keynote speaker, emcee, moderator and panelist.

Denise Hummel - Athena Women Who Mean BusinessDenise Pirrotti Hummel, J.D.
Chief Innovation Officer at Lead Inclusively, Inc. & EY Prinicipal (Alum)

Denise is a high-performing strategic and operational senior executive generating enhanced revenues, organizational effectiveness, and H.R. integration initiatives for a purpose-led organizational culture in international and Fortune 100 enterprises.

She believes in leveraging the power of inclusive leadership to accelerate innovation, employee engagement and organizational culture transformation that drives growth, strengthens decision making and manages risk.

Highlights of her career include establishing Ernst & Young’s Talent, Diversity, Innovation and Culture Transformation offerings. Additionally, Denise has consulted for the Pentagon and designed leadership programs for organizations and government delegations in over 25 countries. Denise has actively participated with several not-for-profit boards throughout her career and is a prolific writer.

Jaye ConnollyJaye Connolly-LaBelle
President & Chief Executive Officer at RippleNami, Inc.

Jaye is a strategic and financial leader with broad experience in service and manufacturing organizations at the corporate, divisional and start-up levels. She possesses exceptional insight into finance, strategic development, corporate governance and operations. Skilled at leading teams to achieve organizational goals, she focuses on process improvement, problem solving and resource management in order to achieve corporate growth and profit goals.

She has extensive management, finance, acquisition and IPO experience, having served in key executive roles at both private and publicly traded corporations and had led accretive acquisitions totaling more than $2.0 billion in revenue over her 25 year career. 

 Jay has been a long-time supporter of Athena and a panelist for Athena's Signature Series events. See video of Jaye on the Lean In Power Panel addressing the Gender Ambition Gap.

Silvia Mah - Athena Women Who Mean BusinessSilvia (Armitano) Mah PhD, MBA
Founder, Executive Director Hera Hub, Hera Labs, Hera Fund

Identifying the needs of an innovation ecosystem, understanding the challenges of female entrepreneurs, and eliciting her personal drive to empower women to reach their full potential has enabled Sylvia to assist in the development of a unique triangulation of forces. She is the Executive Director of Hera Hub - a female-focused business accelerator. She manages Hera Labs, a co-working space. And she is a founding partner of the Hera Fund – an angel fund for female angels investing in female founders.

Her primary focus is on empowering, nurturing, and launching women-owned businesses globally, investing in socially relevant new ventures that will allow women to excel and helping to accelerate university discoveries through the commercialization pipeline. 

Prior to her current endeavors, she was the Director of the Teams in Engineering Service program at the Jacobs School of Engineering, an instructor on social entrepreneurship, and a Commercialization Analyst at the von Liebig Center for Entrepreneurism and Technology Advancement at UC San Diego. Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, she is an advocate for special needs children, focusing on ability awareness and advocacy for mitochondrial disease and childhood cancer. She is also an advocate for high school STEAM education and an angel investor in female-focused endeavors.

Catherine Schnabel - Athena Women Who Mean BusinessCatherine Schnabel, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer, bioTheranostics

Dr. Catherine Schnabel has over 15 years of experience as an industry scientist across pharmaceutical, clinical and diagnostics research, including positions with Genentech, Genoptix, and Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

Joining bioTheranostics in 2009, she has led the translational science and strategic programs for clinical development of proprietary molecular diagnostics in oncology and genomic medicine. Schnabel received her Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology at the Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Medicine. She was a postdoctoral fellow of the NIH and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at Stanford University.

Schnable is an industry leader in the development of evidence-based diagnostics and in building clinical value for molecular tests. She is a named co-inventor on several patents and has authored numerous publications. As Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Schnabel provides scientific leadership and continued oversight of clinical development, medical strategy, and regulatory plans for bioTheranostics’ products. 

Susan Taylor - Athena Women Who Mean BusinessSusan Taylor
Executive Director of External Affairs, Scripps Health

After almost 16 years as an award winning NBC San Diego news anchor, Susan Taylor left broadcast to join Scripps Health.  As Executive Director of External Affairs, Susan plays an active and critical role in raising awareness and understanding in support of Scripps programs, facilities and services throughout the region. She is focused on educating a broad range of audiences about the significant changes under way in health care locally and nationally.

Prior to coming to San Diego, Susan spent over three decades anchoring the news in Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Hartford and Edmonton. During her career as a broadcast journalist, Taylor covered the O.J. Simpson trial, the downfall of Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, the Super Bowl riots in Miami, the Northridge Earthquake, and the 2003/2007 wildfires in San Diego. She has interviewed prime ministers and Nobel Peace Prize winners. Susan has been repeatedly honored for her work, including numerous Emmys and other broadcasting accolades.

Don't miss the Women Who Mean Business awards program.

Wednesday, November 9 
Town and Country Resort and Convention Center
11:00 am - 2:00 pm 
To purchase tickets online:

If you are an Athena member nominated for the 2016 Women Who Mean Business award and we didn't include you in this article, we apologize. Please let us know so we can update our website with your information. Please contact [email protected]

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