Athena Announces Holly Smithson as Chief Executive Officer

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Athena Taps Holly Smithson as New CEO

Athena today announced that its Board of Directors appointed Holly Smithson as Chief Executive Officer, effective December 6, 2017.

“This is the perfect time for Holly to become Athena’s new chief executive officer,” said Athena Chair, Constance Maples, “Today’s pace of change is exponential and our next leader needs to thrive in a highly dynamic environment. One of Holly’s greatest strengths is her ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution. She knows how to mobilize the key players to drive significant outcomes.”

“I want to be a part of a company where I believe the possibilities are limitless and where the mission aligns with my passion for science and technology and empowerment,” said Smithson. “I’m honored by the privilege to work with such a strong and visionary board of directors. The culture and consciousness of professional women in the workforce today is under immense reexamination and Athena members are well poised to lead that national dialogue.”

Smithson previously served as vice president, business strategy at the California Life Sciences Association, the nation’s largest statewide advocacy organization for the life sciences sector. Prior to that, she served as president and chief operating officer at Cleantech San Diego, one of the first cleantech industry associations launched to establish the region as a global hub. Smithson worked in public policy as a Presidential Appointee in several federal agencies and as a registered lobbyist for industry in Washington, D.C. Smithson began her career in broadcast journalism as a news director and anchor for several television and all-talk radio stations. She is a graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Leadership Program and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in broadcast communications from East Carolina University. She has been recognized by multiple organizations, including San Diego Daily Transcript (San Diego's Top 100 Influentials in 2014), Delegate on California Governor Brown’s Trade Mission to China in 2013 and the San Diego Metro (Women Who Rock in 2012).

Founded in 1998, Athena is a 501(c)(6) professional development association serving women in science and technology. Athena is a community of dynamic women that provides education and leadership programs to empower women in realizing their potential within STEM industries. Athena members are executives, entrepreneurs, educators and rising stars from life sciences, healthcare, defense, engineering and related industries, as well as the associated service providers.

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