About The Athena Alliance

The Athena Alliance tackles the challenging “last mile” efforts toward gender parity in the boardroom.

Our Vision

Our Vision is of a world where women can contribute at their highest level of impact in leadership.

Our Mission

Our Mission is to accelerate gender diversity in the boardroom by making the connections that make the difference.

  • We do the heavy lifting
  • Our services are white glove
  • Our membership is curated & selective
  • We make connections that make a difference
  • We make the match process frictionless & easy

Our Story


Under the leadership of Coco Brown, a loose affiliation of female CIOs begin to gather regularly for drinks, dinner and networking


By 2012, the group has grown to over 80 female CIOs. These women determine that their collaboration as leaders will be more valuable if the group expanded to include all C-Level woman.


By 2014, more than 130 women are involved in this affiliation, which has come to be known as “Athena.” Leadership includes Ginna Raahauge, (CTO of Catholic Health Initiatives, former CIO of Riverbed) and current Athena board members Jessica Denecour (SVP and CIO of Varian Medical) and Mercedes De Luca (COO of Basecamp).

2015, Fall

Yvonne Wassenaar (CIO of New Relic, Athena board member), hosts an intimate roundtable discussion with Senator Mark Warner, D-VA and a select group of senior Bay Area executive women. The lack of female leadership in the boardroom dominates the conversation. Debra Chrapaty, director NYSE: KCG and COO of Declara suggestions “We have the critical mass, let’s BE the boardroom.” Several other Founding Members of Athena were there for this seminal day.

The following day, a flurry of emails between these female leaders determines that the Athena Alliance will reform as a mission-directed non-profit dedicated to accelerating gender parity in the boardroom. Coco Brown, the group’s founder, will serve as CEO.

2016, Spring

With the help of Athena board member Debra Vernon (Senior Partner at DLA Piper), Athena incorporates and secures 501c3 status. At this time, Athena also facilitates its first successful board match between Jitterbit and Kara Wilson, CMO of FireEye

2016, Summer

Athena receives 501c3 status, thanks to pro-bono legal support from corporate sponsor DLA Piper, and secures vital funding from Autodesk and Intuit. Athena successfully prototypes and pilots a membership model with a core group of women

2016 Summation

By the end of its 1st year, Athena had supported 17 boards, made 52 presentations of women, secured 26 interviews and supported 5 board placements.