Building the Modern Boardroom September 4, 2017

Good Companies Doing Good Things

By The Athena Alliance

The Athena Alliance is on a mission to improve gender parity in the boardroom - and to create a movement that inspires companies to think about inclusion and diversity at the top levels of their organizations. The movement is gaining momentum. Though we still have a long way to go to see equal female representation in leadership roles and board positions, we are seeing the tide begin to change - and we couldn’t be happier.

We want to acknowledge a few good companies doing good things in 2017 – namely, giving deserving women a seat at the table.

Fortune 500 Companies:

  • Disney brought their board composition to 33% female with the addition of General Motors Chairman and CEO, Mary Barra.
  • Wells Fargo selected Elizabeth Duke, former governor of Federal Reserve, as the first female chairman in the board’s 165-year history.
  • 3M elected Amy Hood, EVP and CFO at Microsoft Corp, to the board.
  • Boeing increased female representation with the addition of Caroline Kennedy, ambassador, attorney, author, editor and STEM supporter to the board.
  • Cracker Barrel Country Store elected Meg Crofton, Walt Disney veteran, to the board.

Private Companies:

The news is positive for startups as well!

  • Lyft selected Obama advisor, Valerie Jarrett, to join the board.
  • Girls Who Code added Chief Brand Officer of Uber, Bozama St. John, to its board.
  • Redfin, DFJ, Greylock Partners, Madrona Venture Group, Pioneer Square Labs, & Boardspan all pledged to diversify startup boards through their #DiverseFromtheStart campaign.

The Athena Effect

Athena’s aim is to effectively position qualified, top-level executive females for positions on public and private boards. Over the past 18 months, we have supported more than 30 companies in finding women for open board seats. We would also like to acknowledge a few good companies who have brought Athena women onto their boards:

  • DoubleDutch – Alison Watson, Introduced by Athena
  • Jitterbit – Kara Wilson, Introduced by Athena
  • Axon – Julie Cullivan, Introduced by Athena
  • Banner Bank – Merline Saintil
  • Forrester – Yvonne Wassenaar, Introduced by Athena
  • MobileIron – Jessica Denecour
  • Morningstar – Caroline Tsay

We love to hear about and share news on steps toward improving board diversity, and this is just a short list. Please share accomplishments you know of, and we’ll pass on the recognition!

If you are interested in increasing the diversity of your board – or you are a senior-level executive female looking for a board seat – please visit to learn more about our organization. Let’s all do our part to keep up the good work!