Athena Appoints New Executive Director, Board Members

SAN DIEGO – March 2, 2016 — Athena San Diego has appointed Cheryl K. Goodman as Executive Director effective March 1, 2016. Goodman, a former Qualcomm executive and serial founder/co-founder, has been an active member of Athena since 2008, co-chairing and moderating Athena’s flagship program, Signature Series.

“We are delighted to have someone of Cheryl’s caliber and experience as Athena’s new Executive Director. Cheryl is well-known and respected for her contributions in the technology and mobile areas,” said Karen Fisher, President of Athena San Diego, and VP of Investor Relations / Compliance, One Roof Technology. “Moreover, Cheryl is in lock-step with the technology and biotech sectors we serve – she knows Athena’s ‘DNA’ and is keenly aware of the positive impact Athena has within the business community. We look forward to expanding on our mission with a leader such as Cheryl at the helm.”

Athena’s Board of Directors is also pleased to announce its addition of five new Board members: Jennifer Brown (Ernst & Young LLP), Judy Müller-Cohn (Biomatrica), Michele Comtois (Barney & Barney LLP), and Maggie Lowe (Qualcomm), and Dawn Saunders (Mintz Levin).

Jennifer Brown Athena Board of DirectorsJennifer Brown has 30 years of accounting and auditing experience in both public accounting and private industry, the last 21 years with Ernst & Young. Since transferring to EY’s San Diego office in 2000, Jennifer has been focused on serving private clients in the early stages of venture-backed life sciences practice. Jennifer also has experience serving SEC clients and has been involved in numerous initial public offerings undertaken by her life science clients over the past 15 years.

    Judy Müller-Cohn, Ph.D., is co-founder of Biomatrica® and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Judy managed the strategic direction of Biomatrica, including finance, operations and product commercialization, and has more than 13 years’ experience bringing life science products to market. Previously, Judy was Director of Business Development at Digital Gene Technologies. Preceding her experience at Digital Gene Technologies, Judy was a scientist at Mycogen/Dow AgroSciences.

Michele Comtois is a Principal at Barney & Barney LLC. Michele has over 12 years of experience in the insurance industry and has served as a member of Barney & Barney’s Executive Liability Practice since 2005, where she provides strategic guidance and counsel in the areas of public company Directors & Officers liability. Michele has been involved with Athena since 2009. She is passionate about giving back and serves on several committees and boards.

Maggie Lowe is Staff Manager of IT at Qualcomm, where she has provided overall strategy and programs at a global level since 2003. She is co-founder and President of QFINITY (Qualcomm Females Influencing Information Technology) and is on the advisory board for Hoover High School’s Academy of Information Technology. She also serves as Athena’s Technology Special Interest Group (TSIG) Co-Chair. Maggie has been an Athena member since 2010.

Dawn Saunders is a Member at Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC.  Her practice is focused on complex commercial leasing and purchase and sale transactions. Dawn is a frequent speaker on issues relating to commercial leasing and diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, including numerous FrameWorks seminars sponsored by UCSD Connect. Currently she is Chair of Mintz Levin’s West Coast Women’s Initiative. She has been an Athena member since 2006.

“We are delighted to welcome these new members,” said Karen Fisher. “The Athena Board is a robust partnership of exceptional women, and these five are an excellent fit. I look forward to what we will do together.”

About Athena San Diego

Athena San Diego instituted the annual Pinnacle Awards to recognize leaders who champion women in STEM fields.  Nominations for the 2016 Pinnacle Awards are being accepted until March 4. Please visit the website for instructions on how to nominate a deserving individual. Sponsorships and tables are also available for the 18th Annual Pinnacle Awards. To find out more, visit or follow @AthenaSD #PinnacleAwards2016.

Athena San Diego is a 501(c)6 professional development association serving women executives and rising managers in science and technology. Athena is a community of dynamic women that provides inspiration, education, networking and leadership programs that empower women to realize their true potential. For more information about membership and to learn more, visit

About Athena San Diego Foundation

Athena San Diego Foundation is a 501(c)3 established to support and oversee the Pinnacle Scholarship Fund. It is represented by an active Board of Directors committed to nurturing and supporting the next generation of women leaders in science, math and technology.

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