Nonprofit’s Mission to “Leave No Woman Leader Behind”

ATHENA Valley of the Sun March 7, 2017

When management consultant, author and international speaker Dr. Kristine Quade moved to Arizona in 2011 she began asking local women what it was like to work in the Valley. Many reported lack of opportunities in senior management, on corporate boards and in other high-level positions. Quade has launched ATHENA Valley of the Sun (AVOS) – a new nonprofit designed to help area women succeed through its mission to “Leave No Woman Leader Behind.”

According to Quade, “I was saddened to learn that women are still experiencing the same issues I had encountered in the 80’s in terms of lack of advancement to leadership positions. It’s time to start a new narrative in Arizona through the stories of local women leaders taking action, inspiring others and making a critical difference in our community.”

AVOS is the new and only Arizona affiliate of Athena International. Founded in 1982 by Martha Mertz, ATHENA International is a non-profit organization seeking to develop and honor women leaders through mentorships and other initiatives. Since the program’s inception, more than 7,000 women leaders in over 500 communities across the world have been recognized for their work.

The organization incorporates the ATHENA Leadership Model which identifies eight distinct attributes that are reflective of women’s contributions to leadership: Live Authentically, Learn Constantly, Build Relationships, Foster Collaboration, Advocate Fiercely, Act Courageously, Give Back and Celebrate.

The model was developed through a foundation grant from the Kellogg Foundation in 1998. None of the principles in the model were previously taught in business schools or covered in career track models.

Quade says, “When these principles, often intuitive to women, are combined with the strongest aspects of traditional leadership – taking risks, assertiveness and hard work – women will be more prepared to be successful leaders.”

In addition to her work with AVOS, Quade is a management consultant with clients in 20 countries and teaches at Masters and Doctoral programs at six universities. A frequent presenter at international conferences, she is also the author of numerous articles on change management and is currently working on her seventh book: “Authenticity: A Process or the Price of Admission?”

“My goal is to provide professional women with an authentic platform to have deep, meaningful conversations that help them to identify, embrace and realize their aspirations. We need to acknowledge and applaud these women who are who acting courageously, and advocating fiercely, for others. These emerging leaders know what is happening in our communities and what needs to change,” says Quade.

AVOS offers memberships and hosts meetings the first Thursday of every month from 11 am – 1 pm at various locations throughout Phoenix. The nonprofit is hosting their first ATHENA Leadership Awards fundraiser to recognize outstanding professional women in the community on April 4. The 2017 ATHENA Leadership Award recipient is Ambassador and astronaut Barbara Barrett.

The event will feature a presentation by Barrett on “The Impact of using Leadership Principles in Guiding Global Action,” and will also honor six ATHENA Inspired Leader “Hail Award” recipients: Dr. Brenda Combs, Maraion Douglas, Jody Farley, Annie Groth, Dr. Nadia Katrangi and Dr. Clair McWillams. Honorees were selected based on their exemplification of an individual ATHENA Leadership Principle and through an extensive nomination process. Six “Young ATHENAs”  will also be recognized for their work in their schools and in the community.

Proceeds of the event will fund mentorships, forums and other community initiatives for professional women. Sponsors of event include the Rob and Melani Walton Foundation, Kolbe Corp, C.H Robinson, And She Power and the ASU Lodestar Center.

Quade adds that, “I don’t want the stories of these women to be buried for 50 years, like in the recent film ‘Hidden Figures’ which depicts the remarkable, but virtually unknown, contributions by African-American women mathematicians to the space program. It’s time that we start telling these stories and encouraging women to lead.”

The ATHENA Leadership Awards will be held on Tuesday, April 4, from 11 am – 1 pm, at the Marriott Tempe at the Buttes at 2000 West Court Way in Tempe.  Check-in time is 10:30 am. Tickets are $75 prior to March 14, $85 thereafter. Space is limited. For more information on ATHENA Valley of the Sun, the ATHENA Leadership Awards, memberships or to donate, visit, email or call (612) 860-5992.


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