Who We Are

Founded in 2013 by Carrie Peele of Mako Documents, Linda Craft of Linda Craft Realty, Cathy Hunt of Gailor Hunt Law Firm, and Beth Hallowell of PNC Bank, ATHENA of the Triangle is governed by a local Board of Directors and is a Regional affiliate of ATHENA International.

Our goal is to empower WOMEN as strong leaders
in either multinational corporations or their own business ventures
through the ATHENA Leadership Model.

Mission

ATHENA of the Triangle inspires, develops, and honors established and emerging women leaders.

Vision

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

BOARD OF DIRECTORS BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Beth strives to become a trusted business advisor by engaging in meaningful conversations and listening to the client’s needs. She is currently focused on companies with annual revenues of between $5mm – $50mm, her mission is to contribute to the achievement of her client’s goals and financial operating objectives.

Previous positions include PNC Business Banking Sales Manager, Commercial Relationship Manager at SunTrust Bank, and Financial Center Leader at BB&T Bank in Greenville, SC. Beth was one of the founding members of the ATHENA of the Triangle organization and currently serves as a Board Member and Treasurer for the organization. Beth holds a BS Business Administration from Lyon College.

BETH HALLOWELL

Commercial Banking Relationship Manager | PNC Bank

LISA SMALLWOOD HOWELL

President | Spoken            4- Communications, LLC

Lisa Smallwood Howell leads a team of dynamic and innovative speech-language and occupational therapists, as well as a highly skilled group of administrative support professionals. Her goal at the end of each day is to have “Made a Positive Difference in the Life of a Child.”

Before joining Gailor Hunt Jenkins Davis Taylor & Gibbs, PLLC in 2001, Cathy practiced corporate law with Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge, and Rice in Raleigh, and McGuire, Woods, Battle and Booth in Northern Virginia, devoting most of her time to mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Cathy received her J.D. degree from the University of Memphis where she was a member of the Law Review. Graduating first in her class, Cathy holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is licensed to practice in North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Recognized by her peers in Business North Carolina Magazine as a member of North Carolina’s Legal Elite in Family Law, Business Leader Magazine also named Cathy one of North Carolina’s Top Lawyers in Family Law.

CATHY HUNT

Partner | Gailor Hunt Jenkins Davis Taylor & Gibbs, PLLC

LORRAINE JOHNSON

CFP®, CFA, ADPA® Wealth

Lorraine Johnson works with business owners and individuals who are either retired or within 5-10 years of reducing their involvement in the workforce. Her services include financial planning, investment management, and insurance. Lorraine holds a BS in Trust Management, the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® practitioner. She is honored to serve on the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans, which governs the 401(k), 403(b), and 457 retirement plans for the active and retired North Carolina state, local, and municipal employees. InvestmentNews Magazine and The Wall Street Journal have either quoted or featured Lorraine in their articles.

ATHENA of the Triangle is proud to have Carrie at the helm as Chairman. Carrie Peele took a startup luxury transportation company from an idea to an internationally recognized power player. One of a few women elected by her peers to serve on the Board of Directors for the National Limousine Association, Carrie found a way to drive business revenue, cut costs, maximize profitability, improve productivity and streamline operations. Fundraising and organization development are some of Carrie’s key strengths. After successfully selling Blue Diamond Limousines in 2014, it was not long before Carrie’s entrepreneurial spirit started another company. She is now the president of The File Depot, a company that helps companies of all sizes manage their documents.

CARRIE PEELE

President | The File Depot and The C. Peele Group

BECKY WILLIAMS

Founder | REALM Leadership

An experienced business and people leader, Becky specializes in helping individuals and organizations identify and execute leadership practices to achieve their strategic goals. Over a 38-year career with LORD Corporation, she held multiple roles including design engineer, marketing director, and President of the Asia Pacific Region while living in Hong Kong for five years.

Since leaving LORD Corporation, Becky launched REALM Leadership, an executive coaching practice. She also serves as a Director of ISBM (The Institute of the Study of Business Marketing) focusing on curriculum development, and as a board member of Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina. Becky holds an MBA with a focus in marketing and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

Adina has spent the past 13 years of her career in leadership. Working with entrepreneurs in business banking in different industries and revenue sizes, Adina takes pride in her ability to build relationships through learning about the business, its owner’s, goals, and future needs. Her latest adventure is striking out on her own as a Fractional CFO, with A Safta Group.

Recently, she served as a PNC Women in Business Advocate, Member of the Raleigh Chamber YPN, Leadership Team for PNC’s “Grow up Great,” and other local community groups. Adina is currently featured in the KNOW Book + Raleigh Tribe, Vol. 2, a Women’s Book highlighting some of Raleigh’s highly successful and authentically driven women.

Adina Safta

Boutique Financial Officer |    A Safta Group

Zahira
CLASS Floyd

Global Workplace Change Management Program Manager | Red Hat

Zahira Class Floyd has been passionate about women’s non-profit work for the last 5 years. She is the immediate past president of Connected Women of North Carolina, a local non-profit organization dedicated to providing the tools, support and opportunities for women to grow their careers, no matter their current status. She is also a Change Management leader with almost 20 years of experience in organizational change, marketing and communications with roles in the IT industry at Nortel, Avaya, Cisco, Intel, and now Red Hat.

As a State Farm agent, Carmen’s passion is to help her clients manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams, all while being backed by the number one insurance company in the United States. As a business owner, she is consistently recognized for outstanding achievement among her peers, the Senior Vice Presidents Club, the Chairman’s Circle, and qualifies for Ambassador Travel every year.

Carmen’s formal education includes a BA in History from Rollins College. A native Tennessean, she considers herself extremely lucky that she found her way to Raleigh almost 20 years ago.

Carmen Ritz

President | Carmen Ritz State Farm Agency

Tiamesha Walker-Smith

Executive Director | ATHENA of the Triangle

Tiamesha is a results-driven leader with several years of diverse experience. She brings her skills with employee and organizational development and implementing strategies and processes to ATHENA to effectively meet objectives. Adept at working at all levels in an organization, she has the ability to facilitate change to support organizational objectives. Additionally, her strong background in leadership, management, employee relations, public speaking, program planning and development, as well as linking rewards and recognition to performance and grant writing, further assist in meeting the organization’s mission and goals.

Kristen is a Tax Partner in KPMG’s Business Tax Services practice, focusing on Alternative Investment Funds. She has extensive experience providing tax compliance and tax planning services to U.S. and non-U.S. private equity, hedge and real estate funds. Kristen also serves on KPMG’s Southeast Asset Management Leadership team and is Partner Champion for the Raleigh office chapter of KPMG’s Network of Women (“KNOW”).

Kristen Tabor

Tax Partner | KPMG

Andrea Stevenson Conner

CEO | Stevenson-Conner Global Strategies

A servant to the global community, Andrea is the immediate past President/CEO of ATHENA International where she advanced its mission to develop, support, and honor women She is a Diamond Mentor and Advisory Board member for Global Women Connect, is a co-chair for the Women’s Business Collaborative Leaders Council, serves on the board of American Friends of Chateau de Compiegne, Sias International University Foundation, is the past Executive Director and a board member for ATHENA of the Triangle and a Governing Body Board Member for the Raleigh Chapter of the US National Committee for UN Women. She consulted for the World Academy for the Future of Women and previously worked for United Nations Women Beijing.

Andrea holds a master’s degree in Global Leadership from Duquesne University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from Edinboro University. Currently residing in Cary, North Carolina.

Beth strives to become a trusted business advisor by engaging in meaningful conversations and listening to the client’s needs. She is currently focused on companies with annual revenues of between $5mm – $50mm, her mission is to contribute to the achievement of her client’s goals and financial operating objectives.

Previous positions include PNC Business Banking Sales Manager, Commercial Relationship Manager at SunTrust Bank, and Financial Center Leader at BB&T Bank in Greenville, SC. Beth was one of the founding members of the ATHENA of the Triangle organization and currently serves as a Board Member and Treasurer for the organization. Beth holds a BS Business Administration from Lyon College.

Lisa Smallwood Howell leads a team of dynamic and innovative speech-language and occupational therapists, as well as a highly skilled group of administrative support professionals. Her goal at the end of each day is to have “Made a Positive Difference in the Life of a Child.”

Before joining Gailor Hunt Jenkins Davis Taylor & Gibbs, PLLC in 2001, Cathy practiced corporate law with Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge, and Rice in Raleigh, and McGuire, Woods, Battle and Booth in Northern Virginia, devoting most of her time to mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Cathy received her J.D. degree from the University of Memphis where she was a member of the Law Review. Graduating first in her class, Cathy holds a BS in Business Administration from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She is licensed to practice in North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

Recognized by her peers in Business North Carolina Magazine as a member of North Carolina’s Legal Elite in Family Law, Business Leader Magazine also named Cathy one of North Carolina’s Top Lawyers in Family Law.

Lorraine Johnson works with business owners and individuals who are either retired or within 5-10 years of reducing their involvement in the workforce. Her services include financial planning, investment management, and insurance. Lorraine holds a BS in Trust Management, the designation of Chartered Financial Analyst, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® practitioner. She is honored to serve on the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Supplemental Retirement Plans, which governs the 401(k), 403(b), and 457 retirement plans for the active and retired North Carolina state, local, and municipal employees. InvestmentNews Magazine and The Wall Street Journal have either quoted or featured Lorraine in their articles.

ATHENA of the Triangle is proud to have Carrie at the helm as Chairman. Carrie Peele took a startup luxury transportation company from an idea to an internationally recognized power player. One of a few women elected by her peers to serve on the Board of Directors for the National Limousine Association, Carrie found a way to drive business revenue, cut costs, maximize profitability, improve productivity and streamline operations. Fundraising and organization development are some of Carrie’s key strengths. After successfully selling Blue Diamond Limousines in 2014, it was not long before Carrie’s entrepreneurial spirit started another company. She is now the president of The File Depot, a company that helps companies of all sizes manage their documents.

An experienced business and people leader, Becky specializes in helping individuals and organizations identify and execute leadership practices to achieve their strategic goals. Over a 38-year career with LORD Corporation, she held multiple roles including design engineer, marketing director, and President of the Asia Pacific Region while living in Hong Kong for five years.

Since leaving LORD Corporation, Becky launched REALM Leadership, an executive coaching practice. She also serves as a Director of ISBM (The Institute of the Study of Business Marketing) focusing on curriculum development, and as a board member of Junior Achievement of Eastern North Carolina. Becky holds an MBA with a focus in marketing and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

Adina has spent the past 13 years of her career in leadership. Working with entrepreneurs in business banking in different industries and revenue sizes, Adina takes pride in her ability to build relationships through learning about the business, its owner’s, goals, and future needs. Her latest adventure is striking out on her own as a Fractional CFO, with A Safta Group.

Recently, she served as a PNC Women in Business Advocate, Member of the Raleigh Chamber YPN, Leadership Team for PNC’s “Grow up Great,” and other local community groups. Adina is currently featured in the KNOW Book + Raleigh Tribe, Vol. 2, a Women’s Book highlighting some of Raleigh’s highly successful and authentically driven women.

Zahira Class Floyd has been passionate about women’s non-profit work for the last 5 years. She is the immediate past president of Connected Women of North Carolina, a local non-profit organization dedicated to providing the tools, support and opportunities for women to grow their careers, no matter their current status. She is also a Change Management leader with almost 20 years of experience in organizational change, marketing and communications with roles in the IT industry at Nortel, Avaya, Cisco, Intel, and now Red Hat.

As a State Farm agent, Carmen’s passion is to help her clients manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams, all while being backed by the number one insurance company in the United States. As a business owner, she is consistently recognized for outstanding achievement among her peers, the Senior Vice Presidents Club, the Chairman’s Circle, and qualifies for Ambassador Travel every year.

Carmen’s formal education includes a BA in History from Rollins College. A native Tennessean, she considers herself extremely lucky that she found her way to Raleigh almost 20 years ago.

Tiamesha is a results-driven leader with several years of diverse experience. She brings her skills with employee and organizational development and implementing strategies and processes to ATHENA to effectively meet objectives. Adept at working at all levels in an organization, she has the ability to facilitate change to support organizational objectives. Additionally, her strong background in leadership, management, employee relations, public speaking, program planning and development, as well as linking rewards and recognition to performance and grant writing, further assist in meeting the organization’s mission and goals.

Kristen is a Tax Partner in KPMG’s Business Tax Services practice, focusing on Alternative Investment Funds. She has extensive experience providing tax compliance and tax planning services to U.S. and non-U.S. private equity, hedge and real estate funds. Kristen also serves on KPMG’s Southeast Asset Management Leadership team and is Partner Champion for the Raleigh office chapter of KPMG’s Network of Women (“KNOW”).

A servant to the global community, Andrea is the immediate past President/CEO of ATHENA International where she advanced its mission to develop, support, and honor women She is a Diamond Mentor and Advisory Board member for Global Women Connect, is a co-chair for the Women’s Business Collaborative Leaders Council, serves on the board of American Friends of Chateau de Compiegne, Sias International University Foundation, is the past Executive Director and a board member for ATHENA of the Triangle and a Governing Body Board Member for the Raleigh Chapter of the US National Committee for UN Women. She consulted for the World Academy for the Future of Women and previously worked for United Nations Women Beijing.
Andrea holds a master’s degree in Global Leadership from Duquesne University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and business from Edinboro University. Currently residing in Cary, North Carolina.