ATHENA Our Founder

The eight distinct principles of the Model are reflective of women’s contributions to leadership: LIve Authentically, Learn Constantly, Advocate Fiercely, Act Courageously, Foster Collaboration, Build Relationships, Give Back and Celebrate.

These are not exclusive to women. However, they do represent the kind of leader that I want to be. I have operated within these principles my entire life. There were times when I felt I was not fully me. I passed the California Bar Exam in 1979 and had 180 clients in 18 months with my own practice. I appeared in court in front of the predominantly male judiciary and felt the wrath of these judges because I was a woman. Recognizing that my clients were the ones that could suffer, I chose a different path within McDonnell Douglas. I had a great career there—partially because I don’t think senior management knew what to do with me. I was given amazing opportunities which included developing the Corporate sexual harassment complaint investigation process in the early 1980’s, supervising the employment function when we needed to hire 6,000 employees in 14 months. I always thought outside the box and was the founder of the Amelia Earhart Society—one that continues today under the Boeing banner.

I consider myself a change agent. I have collected initials and credentials only because I love to learn. I have been privileged to consult with senior teams, serve on for-profit, non-profit and public boards. When I moved to Arizona, I felt the calling of my sisters. My first adventure was to try to start Women as Peace builders and link with a United Nations initiative to train women in the peace process. Then I felt called to travel to China to work with young women in a leadership academy who would say “if you try to stop me, I will just try harder”. These women made me ashamed of my efforts to support women as leaders here at home. In August, I convened a group of women and we called ourselves Women CAN (Change Arizona Now) with the intention of trying to make a difference on any issue for women in Arizona.

When I met Martha Mertz, the founder of ATHENA, International, her story inspired me. The eight principles rattled my soul into awareness and I folded back on myself to realize that I had been living the principles my entire life as an advocate, author, speaker, and organizer. Two principles, Live Authentically and Build Relationships have driven how I formulate myself as a leader. The next three principles of Giving Back, Collaboration and Courageous Acts are how I move to action. The final three principles of Learning, Fierce Advocacy, and Celebration  are how I encourage others to live their leadership potential.

Finally, I have found a model and a set of principles that can be recognized in other women and from there I can always be in celebration and joy.

I hope you will join me as ATHENA Valley of the Sun expands to support, honor and develop women leaders. I am thrilled to join with sister organizations such as those in Raleigh, North Carolina and Akron, Ohio. There is so much to learn from amazing women and it is our joint calling to help others find their own identity as leaders. I am proud to be the ignition for ATHENA Valley of the Sun!


Dr. Kristine Quade, JD, EdD, MSOD


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