Athena and Ad Astra Ventures Launch Strategic Alliance to Support Women Founders of STEM Companies

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Southern California partnership to empower women entrepreneurs

Ad Astra Ventures and Athena announce a strategic partnership that provides entrepreneurial guidance tailored for women and designed to accelerate new company formation. Ad Astra Ventures is a female-focused accelerator and Athena is a member-based organization that advances women working in STEM fields.

“Ad Astra is focused on supporting entrepreneurs building high growth, scalable, and investible companies in both tech and life sciences. We are taking these women on a 12-week journey, transforming their businesses and themselves as leaders to set them up for success,” said Allison Long Pettine, Ad Astra Co-founder. “Athena’s 20-year history serving Southern California by advancing women in STEM, coupled with its deep bench of seasoned executive mentors, will help us generate the impact that this market segment deserves.”

These two organizations will develop and deliver joint programming and mentoring that builds upon Athena’s long-standing, regional network in the STEM fields and Ad Astra’s expertise in business formation and capital investment. Together, Ad Astra and Athena are working to ensure the success of women founders in their pursuit of scalable, investable businesses.

“As an executive development organization located in one of the nation’s leading STEM hubs, Athena is uniquely positioned to empower the next wave of women founders,” said Athena CEO, Holly Smithson. “This alliance brings to bear the extensive cohort of STEM leaders in Athena’s member portfolio together with Ad Astra’s leading curriculum specifically designed by and for entrepreneurial women to propel their success.”


About Ad Astra
Founded in 2018 by Vidya Dinamani, Allison Long Pettine, and Silvia Mah, Ad Astra is dedicated to growing and building female leaders through thoughtful programming, and investment opportunities. The organization’s first program is a 12-week business accelerator for high-growth startups led by one or more females. Ad Astra is building a global community of founders, investors, executives, and philanthropists passionate about putting more women in leadership positions. For more information, please visit

About Athena
Athena is empowering progress together by advancing women in the STEM fields. Athena’s member community accesses executive leadership forums, educational and mentoring programs and cross-sector networking that propels job performance and careers. Our 20-year focus on advancing women in one of the nation's leading STEM hubs, establishes Athena as a premier women's empowerment advocate. For more information, please visit

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Karin Fair
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