About ATHENA

ATHENA of the Triangle is a licensee of programs developed by ATHENA International®, a non-profit organization founded on the deeply held belief that women can achieve a worldwide balance of leadership when they are recognized, cultivated, and encouraged as leaders.

We provide innovative programming in leadership development and entrepreneurial skill building for women leaders in the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill region of North Carolina. Our goal is to empower them as strong leaders in either multi-national corporations or their own business ventures.


Our Vision:

To empower women to live the ATHENA Leadership Model® and achieve their highest potential.

Our Mission:

To inspire and support emerging and established women leaders across the NC Triangle Region.


History: ATHENA International®

Martha Mertz

It all began 35 years ago, while Martha Mayhood Mertz was serving on the Board of Directors of the Lansing Michigan Regional Chamber of Commerce.

As the only woman on the Board, Mertz quickly recognized that the Chamber’s boardroom did not reflect the reality of the business community. The more she observed, the more convinced she became: If women’s strengths and contributions as leaders were publicly acknowledged, they could no longer be dismissed.

She took action in 1982, spearheading a new program: The ATHENA Leadership Award®, which goes to individuals who excel in their professions, give back to their communities and help raise up other leaders, especially women.

The same year, she founded ATHENA International as a non-profit organization that supports, develops and honors women leaders.

What Mertz conceived then is now a global movement. Since the program’s inception, over 7,000 ATHENA awards have been presented in more than 500 communities in eight countries.


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