ATHENA International™



In 1982 Martha Mayhood Mertz began a legacy of cultivating women leaders by honoring the first ATHENA Award recipient in Lansing, MI.  Martha created the award after realizing that women in her community were not seen as leaders.  She believed that every community had women leading behind the scene.  The purpose of the ATHENA Leadership Award was to publicly acknowledge the strengths and contributions of women as leaders within their local community.

Since the first award in 1982, ATHENA International™, a non profit organization, has honored approximately 7,000 individuals in 500 communities and 8 countries with ATHENA Leadership Awards.  These individuals are committed to their profession, their community and to helping other women achieve their full leadership potential. They embody the attributes of the ATHENA Leadership Model ~ Being Authentic; Building Relationships; Collaborating with Others; Being Courageous; Advocating Fiercely; Constantly Learning; Giving Back and Celebrating.

ATHENA honors the highest level of professional excellence coupled with the values of giving back and the responsibility for opening leadership opportunities for others. Honoring successful women in business encourages others to both envision and strive for their highest potential. The long-term vision is to achieve a balance in the voices of leadership.

Tenants of ATHENA International™

The ATHENA Leadership Model®, developed through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, identifies eight distinct attributes that are reflective of women’s contributions to leadership: Authentic Self, Relationships, Giving Back, Collaboration, Courageous Acts, Learning, Fierce Advocacy, Celebration and Joy. These personal traits that are more intuitive to women, and combined with the strongest aspects of traditional leadership—taking risks, assertiveness, hard work—prepare women to be successful leaders in the 21st century.

We know the value of emerging and transformative styles of leadership that are closely tied to the intuitive strengths that women bring to leadership. The ATHENA Leadership Model® captures these principles for use in contemporary settings, while acknowledging that they have been handed down from women across the world and over generations. In short, the ATHENA Leadership Model® meets the needs of emerging leaders and speaks convincingly to women leaders who will head the organizations of the future.

ATHENA Valley of the Sun

Kristine Quade

Dr Kristine Quade

Joining many ATHENA chapters around the globe, the ATHENA Valley of the Sun (AVOS) was formed in 2015 with the focus of supporting women as we evolve from leadership at the community or grassroots level all the way to the governing Board of Directors.

AVOS offers the opportunity to experience extraordinary women as role models that exist in each of us. Our purpose is to provide opportunities for sharing stories of overcoming odds, challenging broken systems, taking brave actions, mending polarities or being the calming voice in the shouting of oppositions.

The guiding principles of AVOS are:

  • Leave no woman leader behind
  • Show up and be seen as a leader.
  • Build the next generation of women senior leaders.

Please join us as we support, honor and develop ourselves as women leaders the world needs.

Truly, Dr Kristine Quade
ATHENA Valley of the Sun

Did you know?

Guests are welcome to attend up to 2 Emerging ATHENA meetings at the guest rate before becoming a member of ATHENA Valley of the Sun.


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