Science and Technology Runs the world. But who runs science and technology? Not enough Women.

This is an Opportunity.

What are the Challenges Facing Women Trying to Enter The Science, Engineering, and Math Fields?

Top Barriers Faced by Women in Tech (From ISACA):

  • Lack of Mentors
  • Gender Bias in the workplace
  • Changing Stereotypes that women dont excel in tech
  • Lack of female role models in the field
  • Lack of females in leadership, hiring, and management roles.
  • Advocating for equal pay for the same skills

Lenovo Athena

Despite extensive research proving that women in leadership roles makes considerable contributions to their organizations, including greater profitability, Men outnumber women at every level in the technology sector.

With the number of women leaders actually declining, the technology field is losing ground. That is why ATHENA of the Triangle presents our newest program…

OUR PROGRAMS

ATHENA in STEM Mentoring Circles

The ATHENA in STEM program offers a dynamic learning opportunity for students to explore the campus of Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM) oriented companies. This experience allows them to visualize themselves in future high-tech roles. During the visit, students will engage with women in various positions. This interaction begins with a career journey panel centered on the ATHENA Leadership Model principle, followed by an interactive lunch featuring group discussions known as mentoring circles.

ATHENA Speaks

The ATHENA Speaks program is a focused discussion with students by an established woman leader in the STEM community. The speaker shares insights from her own professional journey, emphasizing one of the 8 ATHENA Leadership principles as a guiding force. A substantial amount of dialogue is a fundamental aspect of this engaging interaction.

ATHENA in STEM SPONSORS and FUNDERS

ATHENA in STEM made possible with grant funding.

AiS Program Vision: Create a balance in technology roles to drive the global economy.

AiS Program Mission: A strategic initiative created to help solve the lack of women in tech fields. In delivering technology-specific leadership curriculums for all ages and increasing awareness and advocacy for women in tech, our goal is to increase women representation, leadership and sustainable success at all levels,

AiS Program Objective: To apply the proven lessons of the ATHENA Leadership Model® to equip, empower, and encourage women. Women can be a leading voice in the technology sector.

By increasing the number of women in technology fields, we reduce the gap of women technology leaders. In creating a pipeline of women with technology business acumen as an influential voice in shaping the trajectory of the fourth industrial revolution, we change the current shortage of capable tech workers.ii

AiS Program Background: Formed in 2018, an Advisory Panel, comprised of leaders from technology, leadership development, education, entrepreneur, and research industries, serve as role models who exemplify the ATHENA Leadership Model®. Fostering collaboration, this Advisory Panel fosters identifies and transforms the network of women into technology fields where the greatest opportunity exists for economic empowerment in the future.

Top Barriers Faced by Women in Tech (From ISACA):

“Our goals are lofty, but the tools we are developing are concrete and substantive.”

CHALLENGE: Entering and navigating a career in technology is a difficult experience for many women. (Women Tech Facts – 2016 Update)

Student Testimonies

“Thank you so much for coming to talk to us today and helping me realize that I need to be authentic!” Continue to be your own authentic self! Thank you again!”

– 10th Grader

Student Testimonies

“Thank you so much for this! I love how silly you are, yet how you are serious in inspiring us to live authentically and love ourselves.”

– 8th Grader

AiT SOLUTION: Build the pipeline of women leaders, starting in the classroom

    • Infuse technology-contextual versions of the ATHENA Leadership Model into middle schoo/high school curriculums.
    • Develop a virtual curriculum for the “Become ATHENA” program, focused on women in technology, that can be applied locally and beyond.

CHALLENGE: Although the number of women and minorities enrolled in tech programs is beginning to increase and many IT organizations have stepped up diversity hiring, there is sill much work to do. (US Census Bureau 2017)

Pendo Mentoring Circles

First Flight Ventures Mentoring Circles

Ais SOLUTION: Advocate and raise awareness

    • Host “ATHENA Speaks,” an advocacy speaker series that shares first- hand experiences from local technology leaders.
    • Support emerging leaders in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel-Hill area through carreer assistance and networking

 

CHALLENGE: The wage gap between women and men in the U.S. averages $0.82 to $1 (Breaking Gender Barriers – Institute for Women’s Policy Research )

AiS Partners with like-minded groups

    • Engage with a myriad of local organizations, from collaborative public-school systems to innovative technology companies, to address the gaps in leadership development throughout a woman’s professional journey

InfoSys Mentoring Circles

Companies AIS Works With

AiS Committee Members

Andrea Conner

Chair

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Rafael Fulton Fernandes

Mentorning Circle Chair

Rafael Fulton Fernandes (He/Him) is passionate about people, developing global relationships and empowering others to be their true, vulnerable, best selves. Building community and empathy are his superpowers, with a proven record to achieve success in three main pillars: cultural, operational and customer-facing. Over the past 10 years, living in multiple countries, Rafael had the ability to travel, explore, innovate, with the goal to provide opportunities to young and underrepresented populations through coaching and mentorship. He strives for driving change and empowering the next generation to be the future leaders of our society.

Rafael works as Manager of Project Management in Lenovo’s PMO Team and Leader of the Global Supply Chain Rotational Program, an early career focused program to develop highly skilled and well-rounded professionals equipped to take on leadership roles within our organization. Rafael has over 7 years of experience in Supply Chain, Customer Success, Project and People Management.

The impact and involvement with leadership, mentorship and coaching are areas that Rafael is truly passionate about, he currently serves as Board Member of the Hispanics/LatinX of Lenovo Association (HOLA) Employee Resource Group (in which he served as Chairperson for four years), Sponsor of Women Enhancing Logistics (WEL) Program, Mentor and Leader of the Mentoring Circles at Athena in the Triangle, Mentor of first-generation low-income (FGLI) students of Close the Gap Foundation, Advisory Board Member at ISLA NC, and Executive Board Member at Latinas in Tech – North Carolina Chapter.

During his participation in the DEI efforts at Lenovo, Rafael led Lenovo to its first annual national ERG award (by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – USHCC) placing third in the best Hispanic/Latinx ERGs in the country in 2021 and was a Nominee to the ERG Leader of the year awarded by Seramount in 2022. In the same year, The Pennsylvania State University awarded Rafael as a “People to Watch Award Winner” for the recognition of students who have made a significant contribution to the betterment of society through their personal and professional endeavors.

Rafael Fulton Fernandes is a Summa Cum Laude graduate from The Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Project Management & Supply Chain Management, and a Masters with Innovation from the Inova Business School. Rafael also holds a Certificate with the Highest Award of Achievement from Dale Carnegie. Rafael speaks 4 languages fluently, is a tennis player and coach, and currently resides in North Carolina, with his girlfriend, Lexi, and his dog, Ayla.

Ming Gao

Co-Chair ATHENA Speaks

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Holly Neal

Co-Chair ATHENA Speaks

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Dana Harition

Role Model

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Kathy Weaver

Role Model

Kathy Weaver is an experienced global Human Resources leader, certified trainer, and professional coach. She offers coaching and training solutions as well as consulting services.

As an experienced executive and Chief Human Resources Officer, she offers a powerful combination of executive leadership experience combined with a personal passion for helping organizations and individuals perform at their best. Kathy primarily supports clients in the areas of leadership, communications, team effectiveness, and career navigation.

Ada Lopez

Role Model

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Donna Rhode

Role Model

Donna is currently Community Relations Executive at Vaco Raleigh, a boutique provider of executive search, consultant, permanent placement, and strategic staffing services. She also provides leadership coaching, facilitation, and business consulting services. Donna is an Advisory Board member for Avallano, as well as a board +/or committee member for several non-profit organizations (see below).

Donna spent over 25 years in the high-tech industry in various capacities. She was Vice President in Global Sales Operations for Cisco Systems where she led multiple teams to drive,design, and implement innovative global programs and processes. She held other leadership roles in Strategy, Sales Enablement, Product Management, Government Affairs, Systems Engineering, and Field Marketing, and started 6 business organizations from scratch. Before Cisco, Donna was with IBM in Systems Engineering, Sales, and Brand Management roles.

Donna served as Program Director at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill ExecutiveDevelopment Program, where she designed, developed, and executed custom leadership programs for corporate clients. She has since provided leadership coaching for leaders at all levels – individual contributors to executives. One of her consulting engagements was with MetLife Technical University, where she led the management readiness track for a new early-in-career development program.

Certifications include EQ-I (emotional intelligence self-assessment & 360); LeadershipVersatility Index (360); Insights Discovery Tool; Covey Leading at the Speed of Trust.

EDUCATION

Donna received her B.A. in Economics with Minor in Psychology, and M.B.A with concentration in Information Systems, from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

CLIENT EXPERIENCE

Donna has worked with clients across a range of industry sectors including networking, computer tech, biotech, energy management, manufacturing, financial services, insurance, health care management, government, commercial real estate, and non-profit.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Donna is passionate about supporting the community, where she has been actively engaged for several years. She is/has been affiliated with the following organizations: American Red Cross (15 years Board Member; former Board Chair & several other leadership roles); Dress for Success Triangle (Board Chair; Strategy Committee Chair, former HR/Governance Committee Chair); Triangle CHRO Association (Co-Founder and Co Chair); NC Symphony (Board of Trustees, Digital Committee Chair, Strategy Committee, former “Friends of Note” event Chair); American Heart Association (Circle of Red); Raleigh Chamber of Commerce (Board of Advisors, former Executive Committee & Education Committee Chair); BEST NC; Triangle Family Services (Advisory Board); Raleigh Professional Women’s Forum (Past President); American Friends of the Château de Compiègne (Cofounder; former Vice Chair); Athena Women in STEM (Advisory Board); Women’s Giving Network; International Women’s Forum (former Board member & Chair, Comms & Member Engagement Committee); Triangle Diversity Equity Inclusion Alliance; National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) (Programs Committee).

Michelle Proctor

Role Model

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Daneen West

Role Model

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Anita Ali

Role Model

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