Welcome To Your Athena Journey!

Getting Started

This portal is a comprehensive resource for board service preparation and includes opportunities for connecting with the Athena community and applying for board opportunities.

When you dismiss this message, you will see your "Journey Dashboard." This dashboard is your roadmap for growth and has been specially designed to prepare you for board service.

You'll start with "Goal Setting and Journey Planning" with your mentor and then move into phase work. Please note that, although all phase resources are available to you at any time, we strongly suggest completing your current phase before moving on to the next.

If ever you get lost, simply click the "My Journey" button in the upper right-hand corner of the site to return to your Journey Dashboard. It is of the utmost importance to us that this portal provide you with all resources you need to reach your board goals. Please don't hesitate to reach out to coco@athenaalliance.org with any questions, concerns, or suggestions.

Thank you for being a member of The Athena Alliance. We look forward to the journey ahead!

Category

The Athena Program

Finding Your Unique Selling Proposition

By | Board Bio, The Athena Program | No Comments

Gary Purece is one of several executive advisors for Athena members.  He is a communications advisor who assists executives in clearly articulating their corporate and personal brand message.  Athena Alliance members receive two hours of coaching with Gary to start the process of writing their own board bio for future placement.

Gary penned this advice on how to identify your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)a term which is interchangeable with “value proposition” or “brand statement.”

Think advertising… 

Advertising works only when the words differentiate the product from similar products. BMW differentiates itself with “the Ultimate Driving Machine” (the word car is not even mentioned); GE states “We make things that very few in the world can, but that everyone needs.” These slogans depict a unique selling proposition to help these two companies stand out for those in the market for similar goods and services.

The Unique Selling Proposition contains words that, when clearly stated, explain how you solve problems or help make the company relevant, meet specific needs, and explain to the listener why they should choose you. The USP establishes the unique differentiation between you and the competition.

As an example, I chose the following USP; “Coaching that helps executives communicate with confidence and authority.” In one sentence, I describe my audience (executives), what I do (verbal communication coaching), and the impact (communicate with confidence and authority).

Today, the differentiator statement is not just a necessity, it is a requirement.

As you continue to review your brand statement (it is a work-in-process statement) the following questions will help you refine and update your USP.

  • What is unique about the way I think?
  • What makes me distinctive as a leader?
  • What impact do others expect from me?
  • What impact do others receive from me?
  • What types of solutions do I consistently deliver?
  • What is my legacy/what do I want my legacy to be?

Competition for board seats can be fierce. In order to earn a spot, you must present your unique value to the reader and listener. This is your USP.

Thanks to Gary’s 1:1 coaching on this process, Athena members can clearly define their value in their bios, their LinkedIn profiles and their elevator pitches so that board members seeking directors can more easily see the reasons to consider them.

 

Having Your Voice at the Table

By | The Athena Program | No Comments

In making my decision to join the Leadership Team of The Athena Alliance, I looked at various parts of the program that distinguish it from other board preparation programs. The voice coach is one benefit that jumped out at me.

Voice is one of the most powerful ways by which we convey intent, emphasis, and lasting impression. Yet, very few of us understand how to use the power of voice effectively. Worse, most of us are unconscious of current speaking habits that undermine our authority, negatively impact the way we are perceived and ultimately keep us from having the impact and success we want in the world.

As your journey towards the boardroom progresses, you will be evaluated on what you say and how you say it. Are you conveying your intent, conveying both strength around your conviction and confidence, while at the same time communicating the warmth and openness you want to express to invite discussion and collaboration? If you aren’t perceived as someone the board wants to spend time with for the next 6-10 years, your chances of being selected drop significantly, no matter what your skills.

Voice expert and Athena coach, Hillary Wicht, plays a key role in your membership journey. Through 1:1 coaching with Hillary, you’ll be able to: uncover unconscious habits that are undermining your authority; learn tools you can begin implementing immediately to create the impact you want to have; understand the psychology behind what it means to earn trust and confidence with your communication.

And, having your seat at the table is not the same as having your voice at the table. If you cannot command a space with your voice, you will not be able to fully leverage your knowledge and authority. If you cannot get a word in—if you make a suggestion that seems to go unnoticed, then your colleague three chairs down makes the same suggestion and suddenly the room is buzzing with praise—you are not owning and extending the power of your voice.

This benefit of membership is one of many elements in Athena’s white-glove approach to presenting you as the best choice for a board position and in assisting you in showing up as a great board member once at the table.

by Nancy Sheppard, Member, Athena Leadership Team