ATHENA, Our Stories
This space is being dedicated to the stories of our members as they encounter the eight principles that make up the ATHENA Leadership Model®. The model was developed through a foundation grant from the Kellogg Foundation in 1998. The participants had found their voices as leaders without all of the initials behind their names. They emerged as leaders because they attracted and inspired followers. Three things were prominent: they had individual talents and expertise, they were passionate about the purpose and potential of their pursuits and they had the ability to communicate their vision and hopes for the future. None of the principles identified by the participants were those taught in business schools or covered in career track models.
The eight distinct principles of the Model are reflective of women’s contributions to leadership: Authentic Self, Relationships, Giving Back, Collaboration, Courageous Acts, Learning, Fierce Advocacy, Celebration and Joy. Please click below to continue reading…
I consider myself a change agent. I have collected initials and credentials only because I love to learn. I have been privileged to consult with senior teams, serve on for-profit, non-profit and public boards. When I moved to Arizona 4 years ago, I felt the calling of my sisters. My first adventure was to try to start Women as Peace builders and link with a United Nations initiative to train women in the peace process. Then I felt called to travel to China to work with young women in a leadership academy who would say “if you try to stop me, I will just try harder”. These women made me ashamed of my efforts to support women as leaders here at home. In August, I convened a group of women and we called ourselves Women CAN (Change Arizona Now) with the intention of trying to make a difference on any issue for women in Arizona.
Just a month ago, I met Martha Mertz, the founder of ATHENA, International. Her story inspired me. the eight principles rattled my soul into awareness and I folded back on myself to realize that I had been living the principles my entire life as an advocate, author, speaker, and organizer. The first two principles of Authentic Self and Relationships have driven how I formulate myself as a leader. The next three principles of Giving Back, Collaboration and Courageous Acts are how I move to action. The final three principles of Learning, Fierce Advocacy, Celebration and Joy are how I encourage others to live their leadership potential.
Finally I have found a model and a set of principles that can be recognized in other women and from there I can always be in celebration and joy.
I hope you will join me as ATHENA Valley of the Sun expands to support, honor and develop women leaders. I am thrilled to join with sister organizations such as those in Raleigh, North Carolina and Akron, Ohio. There is so much to learn from amazing women and it is our joint calling to help others find their own identity as leaders. I am proud to be the ignition for ATHENA Valley of the Sun!
Feel free to post your story in this space.
Dr Kristine Quade, JD, EdD, MSOD
Our Seed Though Leader, Anne Hanyak said her passion started by seeing lots of inequality and barriers for women. Advancement for women became her passion and she started to devote more time and energy to the cause until she quit her job and made it her full-time work.
Anne asked our group to discuss the following questions:
- What is your passion that you would like to share with others.
- What is/are the next step(s) that you can take to embrace your passion and share it with the world?
Using the 8 Leadership Principles:
- Which is your greatest area of strength that will best enable you to successfully take the necessary steps to share your passion?
- Which is a potential area of weakness which could negatively impact your ability to share your passion?
Our table discussion brought up the following:
- Don’t get distracted by BSO (bright shinny objects) focus on what you want to achieve
- Collaborate with the many women out there-ask how you can help their organization
- Talents and interests change as time goes on, or your skill set evolves and your passion can evolve too.
- Target the relationships that you need to help you develop your passion.
- There are lots of women organizations/groups/individuals out there who are willing to help. Lets support each other, find and ask for help.
We challenge you to ask yourself these same questions and see where you are at in following your passion.
A big shout out of Thanks to Phoebe Swan for sharing her thoughts, learnings, and experiences from serving on Boards of Directors. Below are some Key learnings from the event and the contention scenario that Phoebe presented to us.
Key Learnings by Principle:
- Act Courageously: Listen to your heart, take a stand, give yourself time to diffuse if there is high emotions involved.
- Learn Constantly: Seek more knowledge, it can help prepare you to ask the correct questions. Meet face to face to address a situation, you will get a more positive result.
- Foster Collaboration: Remember when there is differences that we are here to serve others, ask what works best for the organization.
- Live Authentically: Asses the situation (context and character), stay true to yourself, might need damage control in certain situations where others were involved-talk to those who were affected.
- Build Relationships: Look for the reciprocity-are you helping the Board and is the Board helping you, ensure it is good for both of you.
- Collaborate: Ask others to help you understand a different perspective
General Key Learnings:
- Ask the person to share where they are coming from and take notes to show you are really considering/listening actively to their concerns.
- Put ego aside, and do what is best for organization
- Choose principles not personalities in working and collaborating with others
- Declare your intent that you wish to learn about their perspective and perceptions
- Personal growth comes from the learning experience
- Help others to be part of the solution in order to produce a positive collaboration
- Be willing to address issues openly based on size of group and have it become a learning experience
- Care about people not just a cause.
Phoebe was also kind enough to share some recommended reads to help continue our learning:
“At my age, in this still hierarchical time, people often ask me if I’m “passing the torch.” I explain that I’m keeping my torch, thank you very much-and I’m using it to light the torches of others.” Gloria Steinman
Dr. Lois Zachary shared this quote along with many other insightful thoughts on the roles of Mentors and Mentees and how beneficial these relationships can be for both parties. Dr. Zachary’s background with the ATHENA PowerLink program also gave her great insight on how to apply the ATHENA Leadership Principles to the Mentor=Mentee relationship.
Here are some insights from our attendees:
- Use ATHENA Leadership Principles to structure mentor=mentee relationship
- Opportunity to change lives
- We are successful when we mentor ourselves out of the “need” for us
- Need to be Vulnerable, Listen, and Trust
- As a mentee be present-don’t waste each other’s time.
- As a mentor Act Courageously and be Authentic
- Keep an open mind, all mistakes are learning
- Encourage mentee to have diversity of thought
- Mentoring open opportunities to learn from each other
- In the past women were taught to think like a man which threw us out of balance. The mentors today need to encourage women to speak out, think like a woman and act like a woman
- Good mentors will recognize strengths and potential and help map out a learning path to achieve them
- Acknowledge your own greatness or abilities, this helps encourage others to celebrate themselves
- Celebration looks different for other people, find out what motivates your mentee
- Be authentic in how we show up and how we give back
We encourage you to Give Back and Mentor another woman leader. Leave No Woman Leader Behind!
This month’s Leadership Luncheon we discussed working authentically with our Seed Thought Leader Kathy Kolbe. We discussed how to be authentic in the work place and how to allow others to be authentic as well.
Here is a list of our attendees definitions of Authenticity:
- The courage to pull down the walls we’ve built and live in the moment, being true to our principles.
- Remaining true to your core principles and morals when in situations that might challenge them.
- Being your natural instinctive self in all that you do. What you were born to be, not what you “want” to be.
- Authenticity is a process of unfolding ones own truth as the self, align with integrity of the heart.
After the discussions we asked our attendees what they would add to their definition of Authenticity now:
- The courage to believe in yourself at any stage in your life.
- Provide space for others to speak their truth and appreciate their honesty.
- The awareness and expression of your uninhibited self.
- Remaining consistent and true to my actions, words, thoughts, values and skills in the face of peer pressure and adversity.
- Be true to self without harming the future of others.
- Knowing I can freely use my intrinsic strengths.
- Stepping into what I do best-an everyday liberation.
In October we discussed the ATHENA Leadership Principle Act Courageously our “Seed Thought” leader Dr. June Maul shared with us some of the tough decisions she was faced with as a corporate leader. We learned from each others experiences including robust discussions about the use (or misuse) of emotions within the business context.
Some learning highlights from our attendees were:
- Men don’t know what to do when we cry and feel out of control. They need to be able to trust that we can lead when things get tough.
- Courage to make hard choices often leads to something even better: opportunity, learning, boundaries, support system, being the voice for others, professionalism.
- Fear is a good indication that things need to change and it is time to have courage to do so.
- Create an exit card which states “Under the following conditions I give myself permission to leave”.
- Support other woman leaders by being their sponsor, not just a mentor or advocate.
- Look at the positives of making a stance. Our instinct is to see the negative aspects first. Reframe to see the opportunities that will will come from acting courageously.
We Challenge you to look at your life and see if there is any areas that are calling you to Act Courageously and ask for help!
We are your ATHENA Team!
Our September meeting was fantastic as we delved into the ATHENA Leadership Principles and how we view them based upon the Generation ID we identify with. ATHENA International founder, Martha Mertz moderated our Panel of Next Gen Leaders, Kristin Slice, Teniqua Broughton and Meghan Teixeira.
Here is some feedback we received from attendees of the meeting on what advice they would share with women leaders across different generations:
- Lean into your own intuition, training and experience. Do not let anyone talk you out of a passionate direction.
- Lean into what Rory Vaden calls “procrastination on purpose” When your priorities and urgent agenda start to control you, take time to procrastinate a little and evaluate what is the long term benefit and choose to spend your time on the items that will bring you the most benefit.
- Own your membership in a generation (or any other group). Be proud of it. Know and leverage your strengths.
- Never give up on reshaping your vision and dreams as life goes forward and you gain more knowledge and skills. Drive is important, attaining skills is important, however, creativity and imagination are just as important.
- You cannot shape an organization to fit your values unless it’s YOUR organization.
- If you work for an organization, choose one where your integrity and values can flourish.
- Never give up on Yourself
- Find balance between work and family.
- Keep reading, observing others with intent, asking questions and remaining curious. Not all is what it seems on the surface
Here is what some of our September Attendees had to say about ATHENA Valley of the Sun:
- Thank you for being the group that you are. I like everyone I’ve met and worked with and I am looking forward to my continued growth by associating with great women leaders.
- More, more, more….of the same and more!
- I can’t get enough opportunity to share visions, insights and discussions on important matters!
- Although I have studied generational diversity and taught it, there’s always a great deal to learn from the people who are in that generation themselves. I loved the perspective the three panel speakers brought.
Collaboration is an often mis-understood word. Some people think it means “I will work with you for my own benefit”. Some think it is for only a short term project until a goal is met. However, when forging a strong, long term collaborative relationship other factors need to be considered such as the possibility of creating something that cannot be done by just one party.
ATHENA Valley of the Sun recently collaborated with NAWBO in a shared luncheon where we blended learning about the Leadership Principles and were amazed at a thought-provoking presentation on the future of change being driven by technology. Our sisters in NAWBO are doing an amazing job of helping women business owners become strong and have a very special mentoring program that is both cost effective and creatively delivered.
Thanks to Phaedra Earhart, President and the many NAWBO attendees for sharing space and demonstrating a great first-time collaborative effort.
We love what our ATHENA Sisters are doing! Leave No Woman Leader behind!
ATHENA of the Triangle is a licensee of programs developed by ATHENA International™, which recognizes that women can achieve a worldwide balance of leadership when they are recognized, cultivated, and encouraged as leaders. Read the whole store on LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/business-case-athena-triangle-andrea-stevenson-conner
ATHENA International would like to extend a special invitation for you to join our new and growing social media campaign. You may know that ATHENA has accounts on Facebook and Twitter; we have also recently joined Instagram as a platform to broaden our reach in order to empower and inspire women in leadership across the globe.
We will be utilizing our presence on Instagram as a means of empowering, encouraging, and inspiring those who carry out the ATHENA mission. On Instagram, you will find positive messages relating to women in business and leadership; our goal in doing so is to create an awareness online that women in leadership are not isolated and we are giving a voice to them and their experiences. This is an entirely new endeavor and we are excited to build a follower base as our Instagram account grows.
We would love to see you interact with us on all three of these platforms. Here are the links for each account:
The use of hashtags in social media is also something we are using to promote this campaign. Hashtagging (the use of the “#” symbol preceding certain text) is a means of categorizing content online so that it can be easily shared with and searched by others. Our official ATHENA hashtag is: #athenaleaders. When you post to any of your social media accounts with content pertaining to ATHENA, please feel free to include our hashtag so that we can see your post and so that ATHENA is promoted to others.