ATHENA, Leadership Principles

AVOS uses the ATHENA Leadership Model, which 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.


Live Authentically: Being true to yourself. An inner clarity centered in core beliefs, grounded in ethics, and honed through reflection. A sense of purpose, pursued with integrity. Authenticity is the single most important quality of leadership.

Leaders know their values and remain true to them.

Learn Constantly: Continuous development of skills and competencies, regardless of your level of achievement. Understanding built on experience, intuition and self-directed learning. The art of listening; the ability to learn from role models, bad as well as good.

Leaders seek knowledge.


Build Relationships: Connecting genuinely with those around you. A willingness to bond with others, profoundly and productively, with trust and respect; to reach beyond status and self-interest in search of meaningful connections.

Leaders engage, empower and trust.

Foster Collaboration: Valuing the gifts each individual brings, with a perspective that is global and a spirit that is inclusive. Deepening understanding, awareness, and knowledge through diversity. Encouraging participation from those who are often overlooked.

Leaders welcome others to the work of leadership.


Advocate Fiercely: Passionate, personal devotion to something that deeply matters. Acting with unswerving commitment tempered by respect and compassion. Generating a powerful force for good.

Leaders champion what they believe is right.

Act Courageously: The willingness to stand alone and speak the truth, to question assumptions or challenge the status quo. The determination to act honorable, consistent with your values, even in the face of fear or loss.

Leaders dare.


Give Back: Leaving a worthy legacy for your community and the world. Recognizing that with success comes a responsibility to enrich the lives of others. Generously devoting voice, position and resources to advance the greater good.

Leaders serve.

Celebrate: The age-old practice of gathering to mark important times. Strengthening bonds of unity through creative expression, rituals and traditions. Memorializing moments, triumphant or tragic; sharing joyful or solemn reflection.

Leaders remember and rejoice.


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