Female Leadership from a Male Perspective

By Djoudie Etoundi

Athena Photo
Pic Courtesy: Djoudie Etoundi

Athena International, a women’s leadership network, visited the Thunderbird campus on Monday, November 18th. Martha Mertz and Sue Ellen Allen, leaders of the Arizona chapter, presented their views on female leadership, empowerment and fulfillment to an all-female audience (save for yours truly) including students, alumni, staff from the administration and Thunderbird for Good, and faculty. The presence of club presidents Christine Moore, Lindsay Mueller and Tiffany Law insured that their message would reach a public much wider than those in attendance.

The Athena leaders, both of them authors of books on the subject, relayed how their experiences had helped them elaborate the Athena model, which rests on identifying and amalgamating one’s strengths and passions and translating it into tangible objectives: Sue Ellen Allen used her stint in jail on securities to launch a non-profit rehabilitating ex-convicts with a 95% non re-offender rate; Martha Mertz leveraged a successful career in real estate to engage in advocacy for women, particularly in business. Allen and Mertz’s methods converged in the Athena network.

As the sole male T-Bird present, the interactive session was insightful and educational: seeing what were the passions and goals of fellow students on campus; getting a firsthand account of the challenges our female colleagues face and will in and out of Thunderbird; observing a sample of women of different generations and occupations on campus bond over their respective hardships and aspirations; and last but not least being exposed to a more feminine viewpoint of what constitutes leadership, as female leadership is increasingly prominent in the halls of power as well as all walks of life.

A great session, one of a series of which unfortunately, too few students were able to benefit from, due to their intensive schedules.  So for all the guys and girls who couldn’t make it, hurry to your TLE stations and get connected to your inner goddess.

Athena Leadership Model: http://www.athenainternational.org/pages/athena_leadership_award_/14.php

Martha Mertz Bio: http://marthamertz.com/

Sue Ellen Allen Bio: http://sueellenallen.wordpress.com/about/

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