What is an Athena woman?

Courtesy: store.bossierchamber.com
Courtesy: store.bossierchamber.com

By Tiffany Law

How would the world be different if women made up half the world’s leaders? It’s a discussion worth having, especially after the women in the US Senate demonstrated their ability to collaborate and get things moving when our government was shut down. Recently, when attending an ATHENA award luncheon, I sat next to Sue Ellen Allen, community activist and close friend of Martha Mertz: the founder of ATHENA International. Ms. Mertz, who is a legend in the leadership world, founded ATHENA International in 1982 when women leaders were very rare. She followed a quote by Plato, “What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.” It was time to cultivate women as leaders. Thus ATHENA International was born.

The ATHENA Leadership Model (ALM) came later, when a grant from Kellogg gave them the opportunity to investigate how women led differently from their male counterparts. In 2011, Ms Mertz began a collaboration with Sue Ellen Allen, the Executive Director of Gina’s Team, an organization that brings educational programs inside our prisons. They teach the ALM at Perryville Prison in Goodyear. In just over two years, their stats are laudable:
309 graduates
110 released from prison
5 returned
In a state and country were average recidivism is about 60%, this is astounding and demonstrates the power of the model to impact lives and build leaders, even in the darkest places. On November 18th, these two energetic ladies will be speaking on the ATHENA Leadership Model and how it can take you to the next level of leadership, perhaps even to Congress. (Foster Collaboration is principle #5)

Thunderbird Toastmasters and the MBA Women International chapter on campus are proud to collaborate to bring this unique opportunity to our campus! Let’s collaborate even further by including our men in the meeting. To succeed, we all need to understand the importance of collaboration. Principle #2 is Learn Constantly. Don’t you want to learn the other six? Martha and Sue Ellen both told me that the model is not about how to DO leadership; it is how to BE a leader. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a legend in leadership and a leader in community activism. Remember: Learn Constantly.

Fun fact: Martha worked with Thunderbird before – about 7-8 years ago she collaborated (there’s that word again) with the school on a project to bring in young women from the Middle East to learn about businesses here in the US which they were trying to establish at home. Sound familiar?

Check out ATHENA here: http://www.athenainternational.org/pages/athena_homepage/1.php and Gina’s Team here: http://www.ginasteam.org

Join us in Snell 54 on November 18th from 1:00-2:00 pm!

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