The Athena Alliance Expands to Assist More Women on Their Journey to the Corporate Boardroom

The Athena Alliance and Women2Boards announce joining forces to address the need for an organization that can scale to accelerate the current pace of companies adding women to their boardroom.

There is no shortage of qualified women for boards, but there is a need to connect these exceptional women to boards looking to fill an open seat. The current pace of change toward gender parity in the boardroom is 1% per year. At this rate parity for the largest companies will be achieved in 30 years, and for the smallest 50 or more.

The need for an organization that can scale to accelerate the pace of change has become increasingly apparent. The Athena Alliance is that organization. And, it is pleased to announce that Nancy Sheppard, the founder and CEO of Women2Boards, has joined its leadership team. “We expect to see significant expansion for the organization in 2017 through membership development, program sponsorships, and board opportunities,” said Coco Brown, founder and CEO of The Athena Alliance. “Joining forces with Women2Boards will provide us with additional resources to augment that expansion.”

“The Athena Alliance is not a recruiting firm and it is not a board training program. Rather, the organization serves as an extension of a board’s intimate network,  introducing them to incredible executive women. At the same time, we are an essential part of a woman’s support structure, helping her overcome the ‘last mile’ barriers to board service and ensuring that she is prepared, such that when she is tapped for a board opportunity it’s hers if she wants it. I am delighted that Nancy is joining Athena and bringing with her the best practices and wisdom she has developed through Women2Boards. Her past experience and obvious passion for, and dedication to helping women as they reach for a board seat will be an incredible asset to our program,” said Ms. Brown.  

Since its inception less than one year ago, The Athena Alliance has connected women with 17 board opportunities at organizations of all sizes, from large public companies to late-stage private companies.  The Athena Alliance achieved nonprofit status in July 2016. Since then, the organization has received more than $400,000 in donations, including major support from industry leaders Autodesk, Intuit and DLA Piper.

“The movement to improve gender diversity in boardrooms has exploded. And a leader working directly to accelerate the pace of change is essential.” said Nancy Sheppard, founder and CEO, Women2Boards. Women2Boards was founded in late 2014 to provide matching services for smaller company boards. Women2Boards also assisted its members on their journey, providing 1:1 coaching and guidance as they explored board opportunities. Since its inception, the organization has served over 100 women nationwide, and has made more than 30 referrals of qualified women to boards and search firms. “We are delighted to join with The Athena Alliance, integrating our efforts and in so doing, expand our combined impact,” said Ms. Sheppard.  

Ms. Sheppard joins The Athena Alliance as a member of their Leadership Team with a focus on membership advisory services for women preparing to serve in board roles. She will also drive communications strategies and programs to advance Athena’s mission.


Coco Brown
Founder & CEO
The Athena Alliance
408) 410-4950

Coco’s career in the tech industry has centered on IT and Professional Services Leadership as Board Director, COO, and President. Understanding first hand the disparity between men and women in the workplace, particularly in tech, Coco has a particular passion for ensuring that the gender balance in the workplace mimics that of our nation as a whole. For 12 years she ran Taos as President, COO and Board Director.  Taos is a well known privately held IT Services business, which she joined in 1997. In 2013, Coco founded Executive Kinections. Her services include strategy workshop design and facilitation, building and leading boards of advisors, and consulting as a trusted advisor to organization design and operational strategy. Coco’s clients include Cisco, FireEye, Loggly, Jitterbit, MentorNet, Riverbed, GlobeTouch, Vortx, and UCSF. Coco has been recognized through many awards and speaking engagements over the years.

Nancy Sheppard
Founder & CEO
(415) 613-2323

Nancy’s  past experience includes 20+ years as CEO and director, Western Independent Bankers, founding board member for a bank services corporation, and trustee for a workers’ self-insurance group.  She was  a member of the leadership team at the California Bankers Association and spent  several years on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.  Her record of working in male-dominated environments has given her a passion to assist more women break through the boardroom ceiling. She was selected as one of the Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times. Because of her leadership in the board diversity movement, she was asked to chair the 2020 Women on Boards San Francisco, National Discussion on Board Diversity for the past two years.

Distributed by PREngine

Media Contact
Company Name: The Athena Alliance
Contact Person: Coco Brown
Phone: (408) 410-4950
City: Silicon Valley
State: CA
Country: United States