Building the Modern Boardroom March 7, 2019

On International Women’s Day: Reflections on Progress and the Path Ahead

By Coco Brown Founder and CEO

On International Women’s Day and the days leading up to it, it’s both heartwarming and inspiring to see the women in my life and across my network show solidarity and celebrate progress, for themselves and for women around the world. Women CEOs considering what it means for them to have achieved that rank; friends uplifting friends; mothers sharing aspirations for their daughters and their hopes for future generations. As the leader of an organization dedicated to disrupting boardroom conventions and empowering women in leadership, I would be remiss to let International Women’s Day pass without sharing reflections of my own.

Women deserve a seat at the table (every table).

I will never stop being an unrelenting supporter of women, of wanting to see them own their value and play bigger roles in all areas of their life. Throughout the ages, we’ve had to knock down walls to walk an even playing field with men. For equality in the workplace. For balance between the long hours at the office, and the longer hours required to care for a family. For protection from harassment; to vote; even to run a marathon. While the women’s movement may be reaching a boil in 2019, it’s a fight that we’ve been fighting throughout the ages.

There’s been a shifting of the scales in recent years, and I’m proud of Athena’s role in that shift. We exist to propel women forward – into the boardroom, into the C-suite, into the strongest version of themselves. For so long, we’ve been shut out – so, we’re creating our own way in. This is where Athena shines: Athena creates a door of opportunity for women to walk through.

Men, we’re counting on you.

But men, that doesn’t mean that we don’t need you to partner with, to uplift us, to invite us in.

Many may frown upon the notion of “needing a man” in 2019, but this is in no way a battle of the sexes. We need men to invite us into their networks. To thoughtfully reach beyond their own ecosystem to consider women for board opportunities and senior leadership positions. To be visionary leaders, willing mentors, good fathers.

Because progress for women doesn’t work unless future men succeed, too. There’s room for both.

To progress and partnership,