Athena Alliance Advances Gender Diversity in the Boardroom with Help from Microsoft

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Microsoft commits support to Athena Alliance as organization opens Seattle chapter

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Athena Alliance today announced it is working with Microsoft to advance gender diversity in the boardroom. Athena Alliance also recently launched its Seattle chapter, with support from Microsoft, to amplify the visibility of its new members, enhance their networks and connect them with CEOs, venture capitalists, seated directors, board recruiters and others.

Gender diversity on boards improves at a mere 1 percent per year — at the current rate, it will take 30 to 50 years to reach parity. Athena Alliance accelerates the pace of change with companies like Microsoft, to help ensure future generations of women have equal opportunities to secure their place in the boardroom.

As part of Microsoft’s efforts to enable professional women to contribute at their highest levels of impact and ensure society benefits from the value of diversity in leadership, Microsoft is working with Athena Alliance to help Microsoft’s top female executives continue to grow their experiences and industry insights, as well as prepare for board placement and service.

Athena Alliance supports women in their last-mile efforts for board appointments and also provides custom-tailored services, such as board-readiness preparation and simulation training, individual network enhancement, executive and brand coaching, and much more.

“Microsoft’s commitment to its female executives and their professional growth is one every company should emulate, and the wealth of talented, executive women at the company is remarkable,” said Coco Brown, CEO and founder of Athena Alliance. “There’s no denying the strength and depth that leadership teams gain when executives have the opportunity to serve on outside boards. Microsoft’s sponsorship of our work will help bring more women to the boardroom, where they can share their value.”

Athena Alliance will work with Microsoft to support its executives – including corporate vice presidents Allison Watson, Gavriella Schuster and Toni Townes-Whitley – in making a difference outside the company.

Allison Watson, Corporate Vice President, US Marketing, Operations, and Small, Medium, and Corporate Sales, Microsoft Corp., said, “We see such value in the work Athena Alliance does to help companies take action and make a difference in getting after the diversity gap. To advance diversity in the workplace, it takes activities in K-12, early in the career, and at the board level – all areas where Microsoft is heavily invested. I look forward to Athena Alliance’s mentoring approach and ability to provide board placement opportunities for talented female executives at Microsoft and at other companies across the United States.”

Since its founding in 2016, more than 40 public and private company boards across the U.S. have consulted Athena Alliance as part of their director selection processes. Companies such as DoubleDutch, Forrester, Axon and Jitterbit have all worked with the Athena Alliance to bring Athena Alliance women onto their boards. Athena Alliance also worked closely with its members to support their board placements with MobileIron and Banner Bank.

Athena Alliance Seattle will be led by industry veteran Liz Tinkham, who will serve as executive vice president. Tinkham was previously a senior managing director at Accenture, where she led a global team across 12 countries and was responsible for one of the company’s largest accounts and technology partners.

About Athena Alliance

Athena Alliance is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing gender diversity in the boardroom by extending board networks across a range of industries and executives. Empowering women to contribute at their highest level of impact, Athena Alliance has a network of more than 800 C-level women, venture capitalists and CEOs from more than 100 companies. Sponsors include Accenture, Autodesk, Intuit, Microsoft, OpenView Venture Partners and others. Founded in 2016, Athena Alliance is headquartered in Half Moon Bay, Calif. For more information, visit http://athenaalliance.org.

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Cathy Atkins
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