Coco Brown

Founder and CEO of The Athena Alliance

In the spring of 2016, Coco founded and became CEO of The Athena Alliance, an organization dedicated to advancing diversity in the boardroom with a robust membership and match delivery model anchored in her deep connection to community building, executive consulting, and professional services. Coco’s genuine and strong industry relationships and ability to articulate and drive value resulted in over $1,000,000 in sponsorship in it’s first eighteen months and a network of over 800 C-Level women, VCs, and CEOs from over 100 companies including Microsoft, Autodesk, Intuit, OpenView Venture Partners, Accenture, Deloitte, and PwC. Coco leads Athena’s vision and strategy, evolving a model that integrates into and guides the intimate networks through which boards seek directors. She also guides Athena’s team in its offerings of high-touch, white glove executive coaching to the top 10% of female leaders nation-wide.

With broad experience across F1000 companies, start-ups, and nonprofits in the roles of CEO/President, COO, advisor, and Board member, Coco possesses a unique understanding of the breadth of challenges and opportunities of leadership. She has deep expertise in building the links between a company’s strategy and the organizational design and environment required to execute successfully.

Coco’s career has centered on building businesses where the core product and most valued asset are people. Leveraging a degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, the first ten years of Coco’s career were dedicated to the HR disciplines of organizational design, employee performance, compensation, and culture. In the fifteen years following she built on this people-centered focus to become an entrepreneur and technology leader and to build name brand businesses delivering managed services, professional services, and deliverables-based consulting.

In addition to leading Athena, Coco is an Executive Advisor to c-suite executives and their teams guiding strategy and execution. She designs and runs the visioning, organizational design, and strategic planning process, with notable clients including FireEye, Honeybook, Jitterbit, GlobeTouch, Riverbed, and SGI.

Prior, Coco served as President, COO and Board Director of Taos, a prominent in IT Services business serving hundreds of F1000 companies such as Apple, Cisco, ebay, Facebook, and Silicon Valley Bank. During her 17 years at Taos, Coco led the company through periods of significant accelerated expansion including across five key national markets (Silicon Valley/San Francisco, New York, New England, D.C., Southern California). Coco also successfully guided the company through a managed contraction during the dotcom bust, which required the firm to strategically reduce its staff and trim expenses while preserving key talent and customer relationships. Her increasing focus on people-centered leadership went on to ensure Taos’ great success in the period of economic growth post the dotcom bust and minimal challenge during the “great recession” following the housing and financial market crisis of 2008. Coco’s exemplary leadership in these very different market conditions is a testament to her tenacity and her hard-earned insight into the difficult leadership decisions necessary to guide an organization through periods of change. These experiences also served as sources of great learning for Coco to solidify her own values and principals around people-centered leadership; ones designed to ensure the success and health not only of the business, but of the individual people who work for, or are served by the business.

Beginning in 2003, Coco also led Taos in diversifying the business to increase its fundamental value and market position through the addition of Managed Services and Project Services. The Managed Services division enabled the company to move beyond the nine-month average engagement length of a purely professional services model to a multi-year SLA-based “annuity” model, which ensured greater business continuity and accelerated revenue growth. The methodology-based Project Services practice, comprised of former C-Level IT executives, enabled Taos to elevate its strategic impact and value to the CIO. This division also extended Taos’ offerings into a global market with projects in Europe, Asia and South America.

The Athena Alliance, Member of the Board                                                                          2016 – Present

  • Founder and CEO

Taos Mountain Software, Inc., Member of the Board / One of Three Shareholders                  2004 – 2014

  • One of three shareholders, multiple acquisition processes, business
    valuation, CEO compensation and succession planning

MentorNet, Member of the Board / Executive Committee                                                          2012 – 2014

  • Participated in MentorNet’s acquisition by Great Minds in STEM

BOARD SUPPORTING ROLES

Grace Hopper – ABIE Technology Leadership Award, Nominating Committee Chair              2014-2017

  • One of the most prestigious awards honoring “women in technology”

Loggly, Advisory Board Chair                                                                                                        2013-2016

  • Private Series D funded IT SaaS log management, built and ran Advisory board

Golden Seeds, Silicon Valley Operating Committee Chair                                                         2012 – 2014

  • Venture Investment Firm, designed, built and lead first regional operating committee

SamaSource, Finance Committee supporting BoD                                                                     2012 – 2013

  • Leading organization bringing digital work to developing countries
    supported by business leaders including Marc Benioff and Richard Branson

Awards

Women Supporting Women awards                                                                                                          2014

Business Woman of the Year                                                                                                                     2014

Silicon Valley’s top 100 Women of Influence                                                                                            2010

Publications

Coco Brown is often consulted on topics of leadership excellence and board structure by leading publications including: Fortune, Forbes, Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, NACD Directorship, The Street, The Cube, WSJ, and Bloomberg