ATHENA Leadership Conference
ATHENA Leadership Conference

Date: Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Time: 10am – 4pm (Registration: 9:15am – 9:55am)

Location: North Carolina Biotechnology Center
Address: 15 TW Alexander Drive, Durham, NC 27709

ATHENA of the Triangle will host our second annual ATHENA Leadership Conference – “People, Purpose, Passion”.

This full-day conference will be structured around the ATHENA Leadership Model with breakout sessions, workshops, and networking. The sessions will be relevant to the challenges faced by women business owners, professionals, and male allies. Local business owners will also have the opportunity to showcase their products and services at booths during participant mingling sessions.

 Tickets will be limited. Plan to register as soon as possible as we anticipate this event will sell out quickly.

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JORDAN Waiting on Room Change

Session i


Presented by: Erica Rooney
CEO – From Now to Next

Sticky floors are the limiting beliefs that hold women back from breaking through the glass ceiling. They exist in imposter syndrome, perfectionism, toxic behaviors, toxic relationships, fear, and more. Benefits are truly learning how they show up, why they affect women differently than men, and what we can do about them


Presented by: Dr. Atoya Hodges
Founder/Owner O/X Society and Atoya Hodges LLC

Individuals will learn how to identify their strengths and opportunities and tips to reframe weaknesses and threats in their lives and business.


Presented by: Tabitha Concepcion, CFP®, MBA

Vice President, Wealth Advisor / Truist Wealth

Through the 4 steps of Awareness, Courage, Equip, and Joy, this session will engage you with hands-on tools to organize, streamline, and protect what means the most on your journey. You will participate in customizable financial planning resources and will create your own Pathways Family Binder through the lens of : “I AM ENOUGH.”


Presented by: Gareth Gwyn
Founder, Let’s See Labs

To address systemic victimization, transformation must come from inside each of us. Together, let’s leverage the tensions of polarities in order to see and feel the innate worth of ourselves and others beyond socialized identities. By practicing authentic relating, let’s build practices and tools to generate irreversible and human-centered work relating.


Presented by: Sukesh Pai
Principal, Trillium Square Advisors LLC

Find out, What is the difference between an Entrepreneur, Investor and a Saver?; What is your Opportunity Cost to starting your own Venture?; Why is planning your life goals important?

Session ii


Presented By: Dr. Paulette Evans
CEO + Founder, Evans Efficiency Experts

The S.T.A.R. method will be explained in detail and examples will be reviewed so women are able to capture their successes in an effective manner.


Presented by: Dr. Mira Brancu 
CEO, Towerscope

Expand the ways in which leaders think about their current leadership development programs – they will learn about the gaps in current programming and how they can adjust both the specific program content as well as training organizational leaders to think more broadly. This will help not just women but anyone in the organization.


Presented by: Tabitha Concepcion, CFP®, MBA

Vice President, Wealth Advisor / Truist Wealth

While finances are one manifestation of your resources, YOU are your biggest asset. When you can confidently recognize, own, and express your authentic self and emotions, what really matters, and what resources you can add (starting with YOU), your behaviors will lead your decisions and outcomes with Purpose and Confidence. Through this interactive session you will build upon the tools in Pathways 1.0 and through disciplines, activities to take with you, and collaborative discussion, you will express your Emotional Intelligence, improve your $ Confidence Quotient, develop your personal mission statement, and unlock your financial Capacity toward a Purposeful Life.


Presented by: Michelle Davis, CPA
Associate Financial Planner

Learn gentle, yet powerfully effective, leadership tools for having hard difficult conversations at work and home while preserving, even potentially improving, your relationships. Uncover why having, instead of avoiding, hard conversations is important.


Presented by: Nicole Case
Speaker & Coach, The Upgraded Career

Life is full of contractions. We are driven and ambitious in our careers but we also want full lives outside of work.

In this inspiring and practical session, you will learn why we feel so conflicted when faced with what seems like a contraction, how perfectionism keeps you stuck, and how to bring opposing desires together to Upgrade to the life, career, and business you want.

Session iii


Presented by: Zahira Floyd
Operational Readiness Change leader, Real Page

Leaning into the Live Authentically principle to maximize your ROI in life and career. In this session you will learn about Bringing all of who you are; Adapting without compromising; and Showcasing your diversity.


Presented by Mike Witt
Co-Founder, D4 concepts LLC

In today’s fast paced world, we can become worn out with all the decisions we have to make on a daily basis and can become fatigued at times. This workshop will provide insight on becoming a ‘healthier leader’. Attendees will learn tools to become more self aware of their own tendencies that may be undermining their influence as well also learn tools that can be immediately applied to help them have a positive impact on those they influence and lead.


Presented by Kathy Weaver
Founder & CEO, Talent Weaver Solutions

Positive Intelligence (PQ) is the measure of your mental fitness. If you are physically fit, you can climb steep hills without physical stress. Similarly, if you are mentally fit, you can handle life’s greatest challenges without mental stress, frustration, or other negative emotions. Based on the research of New York Times best-selling author, Shirzad Chamine, PQ helps individuals fulfill their true potential. Strengthening your mental fitness muscles will lead to a better, stronger, healthier, happier YOU


Presented by Dr. Susan Lovelle
Founder | CEO Premiere Wellness

What if you had unlimited energy capable of self-generating as much as you needed, on demand, whenever you wanted it? How would your life change? During this interactive session, you will learn three timeless strategies that will allow you to thrive—both at the work you love and at home with those you love: Listen, Let Go, and Live!


Presented by: Olivia Ecker
Board Chair, Activate Good

Jenn Von Egidy
Marketing Manager, Activate Good

What are your values? What issues and causes are important to you? What’s the best way for you to apply your unique talents and interests to make the community and our world a better place? Join Activate Good to discuss this and more during our interactive workshop, “Create Your Personalized Social Impact Plan!” full of authentic and human conversations and inspiration! Leave with ideas for volunteering, daily actions, and micro-actions you and/or your business can participate in to improve the world right away!

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Paulette Evans

CEO/Founder, Evans Efficiency Experts

Dr. Paulette J. Evans, BSEE, MBA, SSBB, CPHQ, PMP, CKF was born in Georgetown, SC, a small coastal town where both of her parents grew up; after they both graduated from college, her Father worked as an electrician for 33 years and her Mother taught Math for 36 years. Combining what she learned from both of them, she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, minoring in Mathematical Sciences, from Clemson University in 2001. Paulette also earned her Master of Business Administration degree from Stetson University in 2008, graduating Magna Cum Laude. She recently obtained her Doctor of Education degree, specializing in Performance Improvement Leadership, from Capella University; she was on the President’s List throughout her work for maintaining a 4.00 GPA and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Paulette currently lives in Raleigh, NC and identifies as a process improvement/project management expert who utilizes proven methodologies to effectively and efficiently solve problems at work, at home, and everywhere in between. Because this ability comes naturally to her, she recently launched Evans Efficiency Experts, a consulting firm focused on helping people convert chaos to calm before they burn out. Prior to founding her business, Paulette served as the Vice President – Enterprise Portfolio Management Office at Cardinal Innovations Healthcare in Charlotte, NC. She was responsible for overseeing the enterprise-wide portfolio of projects, and managing a dedicated team of professionals to ensure all components of projects and deliverables met desired metrics and outcomes.
Before transitioning to Cardinal Innovations, Paulette served as the Senior Business & Quality Improvement Leader for the Revenue Cycle department at UNC Health. She was tasked with partnering with leaders and front-line staff to improve their processes, identifying ways to enhance project team performance, and serving as a key champion of the organization’s strategic priorities. Prior to relocating to Raleigh, Paulette was a Senior Project Manager at Cone Health where she led and managed the development, implementation, and coordination of projects for Reinventing Care, a collaborative process that combined architectural and health care experts from across the country to inform the design, construction, and renovation of Cone Health’s hospitals. In the last 9 years, she has obtained certifications in Kaizen Facilitation, Project Management, and Healthcare Quality.

Before transitioning to the healthcare industry, Paulette held a variety of leadership positions at General Electric where she honed and cultivated her project and operations management skills and earned a Six Sigma Black Belt certification. As an Electrical Project Manager, she managed 430 projects totaling $13.4MM for the sales team in the North Florida district, and helped the team reach $58MM for the 2006 budget year.
One of Paulette’s most memorable life experiences occurred in 2001. While an electrical engineering student at Clemson University, she led a project requiring a team to research, design, and install a water purification system at a clinic in Hluvukani, an underdeveloped village in South Africa, just outside Johannesburg. The establishment had not had clean water in over five years, so this project was literally a matter of life or death and she traveled approximately 8,500 miles to share her blood, sweat, and tears with a group of people who were less fortunate that she was. To this day, Paulette looks back on this experience as the sole reason why she loves volunteering and traveling.

Paulette was recently featured as one of 25 Coaches and Masterminds to KNOW and Support and one of seven CEOs of Black Women-Owned Businesses to KNOW on the KNOW Women Global Platform; she also won the 2019-2020 Junior League of Raleigh Foundation Award for her outstanding performance as an Active member in an in-League placement. In 2017, Paulette was recognized as one of 40 Leaders Under 40 by the Triad Business Journal, and she was featured in the Clemson World Magazine as a “Tiger on the Move.” She also has a passion for empowering women to be strong, self-reliant, and successful in all of their endeavors, so Paulette spends any free time she has volunteering for organizations that have this same focus; she currently serves as President-Elect of the Junior League of Raleigh and President of the NC Triangle Chapter of Ellevate Network. During any remaining free time, Paulette loves traveling internationally, creating new recipes in the kitchen, relaxing at the spa, and spending time with her husband of 18 years, John Jamal Evans, PhD.
Social Media:


Dr. Mira Brancu

CEO, Towerscope

Dr. Mira Brancu is the founder and CEO of Towerscope, an award-winning social impact consulting firm that helps executives and their teams to lead well today and better navigate tomorrow. To this work, she brings 20+ years of experience in healthcare, research, and education, including a leadership career at the US Department of Veterans Affairs and a faculty appointment at Duke University.

Mira is the author of Millennials Guide to Workplace Politics and writes about women in leadership for Psychology Today. She was awarded the Early Career Woman Psychologist in Management Award in 2020 from the Society of Psychologists in Leadership; the 2022 Hero Award by A Lotta Love for her research groups contribution to demonstrating the impact of this non-profit’s work on homeless shelter outcomes; and identified as one of the Top 50 Influential Women in the Triangle this year in North Carolina. Her company received the 2021 Corporate Philanthropy Award from the Triangle Business Journal.

Tabitha Concepcion

CFP®, MBA, Vice President, Wealth Advisor, Truist Wealth

Tabitha Concepcion is Vice President, Wealth Advisor for Truist Wealth. Holding the designation of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Tabitha serves as a trusted advisor to build and implement tailored financial plans. Her strengths of business development and gift of putting herself in other’s shoes complements her ability of simplifying obstacles into actionable steps for long term security.

Tabitha holds a Masters in Counseling and a Masters of Business Administration. Tabitha’s community involvement includes: Durham Arts Council, T.H.R.I.V.E. Women Helping Women, and W.E. Rise. Her hobbies include raising dairy goats and travel photography. Tabitha’s mantra is best said by Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Whatever you choose to do, leave tracks… You will want to leave the world a little better for your having lived.”

Nicole Case

Speaker & Coach, The Upgraded Career

Nicole Case is an awarding winning Keynote Speaker, Leadership & Executive Coach, and the host of The Upgraded Career Podcast. She helps women corporate leaders succeed at work, make a bigger impact, and be recognized for the authentic leaders they are – all without the burnout or guilt. She uses her decade of corporate HR experience in her talks and programs to help women gain visibility for their work, set boundaries and the right priorities, and build their confidence to thrive in leadership roles. Nicole is a Certified Authentic Leadership Coach and was recognized as a “Top 10 Leadership Coach To Watch in 2022.” She is a professional aunt and champagne enthusiast who lives in North Carolina with her husband and cat, Luna.

Michelle Davis

CPA, Candidate for CFP® Certification

Michelle Davis, CPA, Candidate for CFP® Certification

After reinventing herself and starting career #3, Michelle is following her passion to empower people with their money by providing financial and tax planning services with Trillium Square Advisors. Michelle’s previous careers were in hospitality and accounting, including nearly 10 years serving North Carolinians as a Revenue Field Auditor with the NC Department of Revenue.

Starting with learning how to diffuse upset customers while working in hospitality, Michelle has spent years honing her communication skills while not avoiding the issue. She is now looking forward to sharing this experience with you, so you can face difficult conversations with the goals of talking about the issues and preserving your relationships.

Jenn Von Egidy

Marketing Manager, Activate Good

Jenn is Activate Good’s Marketing Manager. She is currently developing the 2023 Marketing Strategy to include key messaging, brand clarity, digital marketing tools, and website overhaul. Jenn brings 19 years of Non-profit leadership and a passion for fostering community empowerment. She obtained her Bachelors of Social Work from Appalachian State University and her Certificate of Essentials of Business for Non-Profit Organizations from Wake Forest University. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of H.O.S.T. (Housing Options for Students Today) and supports her family’s business, Cataleya Jewelry Studio.

Zahira Floyd

Operational Readiness Change Leader, RealPage

Zahira (Zai) is an Operational Readiness Change Manager at RealPage, Inc. with 20 years experience combined in organizational change, marketing & communications with roles in the IT industry at Red Hat, Nortel, Avaya, and Cisco. In 2016, her work for Change Management Digital Transformation as a new Business to Business Service earned her a Bronze Stevie Award. Zai completed degrees in Music and Business Management. And in her pursuit of ongoing learning, in 2019 she completed a Leadership Executive Development program at UNC Kenan-Flagler’s School. She is a member of the Association for Change Management Practitioners. She serves as the Board secretary for WGEP and has been on nonprofit boards for the last seven years: ATHENA of the Triangle Board as Co-Chair of the Emerging Leaders program and Communications Chair, and as President of Connected Women of NC. She is a native of Puerto Rico, has lived in Germany and currently resides in Raleigh, NC. She speaks English, Spanish, and German.

Gareth Gwyn

Founder & Lead Facilitator, Let’s See Labs

I am the author of the book “You Are Us: How to Build Bridges in a Polarized World.” The 13 stories in the book are from the perspective of 13 people who are radically different but are also unified by having done the work of inner reckoning with their trauma, pain, and socialized identity. Through the vulnerable illumination of each story, we learn how inner work translates into liberated leadership that serves the community, workplace, and ultimately societal transformation. We are also invited into a self-inquiry process, as an opportunity to illuminate our own unconscious patterns in the contexts of societal identities, and to catalyze our generative leadership potential in an increasingly polarized world.

In addition, I am the founder of Let’s See Labs, a think tank that is the leading advocate for the radical notion that polarity is a creative engine in organizations. We recognize that our differences in identity are highly compatible, and can be a source of connection rather than conflict. Our generative methodology uses storytelling, authentic relating, and inductive growth work to create teams who have been liberated to use polarities as a strategy to unleash unrivaled creative advantages.

Dr. Atoya Hodges

Founder/Owner O/X Society and, Atoya Hodges LLC

Dr. Atoya Hodges has over Twenty-five years of progressive leadership, educational, operational,
spiritual, and holistic service experience. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Accounting and
Business Management from Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, NC. Her passion for service to others
and passion for business, mental health and helping educate others drove Atoya to return to higher
education to earn her Master’s in Health Service Administration, Master of Education with
concentration in counseling, and MBA from Strayer University. She holds a PHD in Hypnotherapy
from UCE. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral degree in Counseling at Bible Christian College and
Seminary will graduate in 2023. She is currently an entrepreneur, speaker, author, business, life,
mental health, personal development strategist and educator. Atoya has several certifications in the
mental health and holistic practices. Atoya enjoys supporting mental health developmental services,
educational programs, consumer outreach, improving self-awareness, self-esteem, self-worth and
help people heal. Atoya has been in the greater Triangle area consulting new business startups,
enhancing her brand and network amongst fellow entrepreneurs across the education, non-profit,
mental health, health, beauty, wellness and healing industries while maintaining her commitments
to volunteerism efforts in the community. Atoya currently volunteers teaching GED, Budgeting,
financial literacy, business development and bookkeeping classes. In addition, to teaching classes,
Atoya also writes and develops curriculum for NCDOT workforce development program, various
educational and mental health curriculums that are currently in in public schools. She also helped
the FBI create a program with sex and human trafficking victims and family with reunification
therapy. Atoya is a member of the Lumbee Tribe located in Robeson County, NC. She continues her
love for her tribal community and culture by attending Pow Wows, supporting local efforts with local
Urban Indian Organizations. She is the founder of the O/X Society, Atoya Hodges LLC, and Truth
Reigns Ministries. This mother of two sons keeps her hands and mind diligently active with
upcoming projects, wellness initiatives and breaking barriers for women of color in business around
the world.

Dr. Susan Lovelle

CEO/Founder, Premiere Wellness

Dr. Susan, The Thrive Architect, teaches busy professionals how to flourish both at work and home by mastering their energy, weight, and hormones. She’s the Founder of Premiere Wellness, a comprehensive lifestyle health company based in Raleigh, NC, serving clients globally.

She and her team work virtually and in person through speaking, workshops, courses, and retreats. Her corporate programs impact innovative companies such as Activision and BlackLine.

Dr. Susan has been featured on The Doctors, the docuseries Exhausted, Lifetime TV, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Training Magazine, KNOW Women, Good Morning Washington, and Good Day Charlotte. Her new book, Thrive! The Five-Week Guide to Mastering Your Energy At Any Age is available on Amazon.

Sukesh Pai

Principal, Trillium Square Advisors LLC

Trillium Square Advisors is founded and managed by Sukesh Pai, CFA. With over 20 years of broad industry experience, Sukesh brings fresh perspective from different disciplines such as engineering and design to the financial advisory service. Having started his career in the technology industry, he understands the needs and aspirations of engineers, scientists and software developers. He implements evidence-based strategies and systematizes the investment process to mitigate the impact of behavioral biases in decision making.

He is very active in the local business community. He has been on the board of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), Triangle chapter for the last several years and has been the President during the year 2022. He also mentors and teaches for the TiE Young Entrpreneurs (Tye) program hosted by TiE Carolinas for high school students to foster entrepreneurship.

Prior to founding Trillium Square Advisors, he served at QMS Capital Management LP and Morgan Stanley & Co. He is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst ® designation and has an MBA from Duke University where he was a Fuqua Scholar.

Erica Rooney

CEO, From Now to Next

Erica Rooney is a relatable & impactful Keynote Speaker, Executive Coach & Consultant, host of the Podcast, From Now to Next, and a Chief People Officer.

With 10 years of experience in HR leading organizations in gender equality crusades, & coaching Executive Women, Erica has created a framework that empowers women to get seen, get heard, and get promoted by breaking free from the sticky floors that hold us back from busting through the glass ceiling.

As a top Culture Expert, Erica invigorates and educates organizations through change, driving a positive experience for employees, and guiding executives through the process of change to lead to massive success.

She is on a mission to help women get seen, get heard, and GET PROMOTED empowering women to break free from the sticky floors to bust through the glass ceiling.

Olivia Ecker

Board Chair, Activate Good

Olivia is originally from Pennsylvania, and spent 10 years in New York, before relocating to North Carolina in 2018. She has held several professional positions in Communications and Human Resources within the biopharmaceutical, financial services, technology, agricultural industries. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Manhattanville College and a MBA from Iona College. Prior to joining the board, Olivia volunteered with Activate Good as a 9/11 Day of Service Volunteer and a Virtual Project Leader for the “Kindness Calls to Seniors” Project during COVID-19. In addition to volunteering with Activate Good, she also volunteers with Raleigh Metro SHRM, Dress for Success Triangle NC, and Note in the Pocket. Olivia is excited to utilize her past volunteer and board service experience to become more involved in the Triangle, in full support of continuing and expanding Activate Good’s “people-powered projects for good.”

Kathy Weaver

CEO/Founder, Talent Weaver Solutions

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.

Mike Witt

Co-Founder, D4 Concepts LLC

After graduating from the University of NC at Greensboro, Mike spent 12 years in the apparel industry in areas such as manufacturing logistics and supply planning, before joining a rapidly growing Fortune 300 company here in NC. There he held a variety of management positions in supply chain, innovation, and new product development for 19 years. In 2019, he started D4 Concepts, a coaching and consulting company, with his lifelong friend and now business partner. Together, they help organizations create better ideas and better teams.