Athena | Empowering Progress Together

Athena Mission

To empower progress together by advancing professional women in STEM.

About Athena

Athena is empowering progress together by advancing professional women in the STEM workforce. Athena offers its member community instruments for change through professional development, community investment, and market research. 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. 

Founded in 1998, Athena members hold positions of senior executive, entrepreneur, and in academia from all sectors of STEM: life sciences, technology, healthcare, defense, engineering, as well as the associated service providers.


Athena History

In 1998, no organization existed to support and develop executive women within the San Diego STEM community. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and Athena was born of pure necessity. In a time when a handful of remarkable executive women felt they lacked support and understanding in male dominated industries, they came together and became the innovators.

Twenty years later, the "Athena Effect" is stronger than ever. We stand proud at the forefront of Southern California innovation. Our members range from tech entrepreneurs to life sciences CEOs, all of whom benefit from gold-standard professional development programs.

Athena Milestones

  • 1998 - Athena San Diego launches as a women's networking group of members affiliated with UCSD CONNECT, San Diego's flagship entrepreneurial program.
  • 2001 - Athena San Diego becomes a stand-alone, member-based organization under the auspices of UCSD Extension and then UCSD/Rady School of Management.
  • 2001 - Athena San Diego Foundation establishes as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to award merit-based scholarships to young women of exemplary skills and academic achievement committed to pursuing undergraduate education in sciences, technology, engineering, or math.
  • 2008 - Athena San Diego becomes an independently operated 501(c)(6) non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors.
  • 2017 - Athena San Diego removes San Diego from its name to reflect its regional impact and growth.
  • 2018 - Athena marks its 20 years of delivering exclusive professional development and mentoring programs to women in STEM.


"The most invaluable benefit of Athena membership is the power of our network. The opportunity to connect with a diverse group of professional women and learn from one another produces trusted business relationships and lasting friendships."  Barbara Bry, San Diego Councilmember (District 1), Athena Founder