Athena Center Annual Report 2018-2019

Page 1

“ As you enter positions of trust and power, dream a little before you think.”

—Toni Morrison

2018–19 Annual Report

Table of Contents

An Introduction from Umbreen Bhatti ’00, Director 2 About the Athena Center for Leadership Studies 3 Training Barnard Women to Innovate and Lead 4 Distinguished Fellows: Inspiring the Next Generation 9 2019 Athena Film Festival: Celebrating Fierce and Fearless Women Leaders 11 Developing Entrepreneurial Mindsets 17 Advancing Innovative Approaches to Leadership Development 19 Conclusion 21 Our Team 22 Many, Many Thanks 28


An Introduction from Umbreen Bhatti, Director Dear Friends, I couldn’t be more excited to be back at Barnard as the new Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of the Athena Center, building on the incredible foundation laid by my predecessor Kathryn Kolbert. When I set foot on this campus for the first time at the age of seventeen, I knew immediately that this was where I wanted to be. The energy and passion was palpable, and I just felt so much possibility. I feel that even more today as I witness the brilliance and creativity of our students as they, each in their own ways, work to build a world in which all women thrive, tackling issues like literacy, access to health care, sustainability, and more. I see how they support one another and amplify each others’ efforts — how truly special this community is. And I see incredible enthusiasm and commitment from Barnard faculty, supporters, and friends who advise them, open doors for them, and help them challenge cultural stereotypes about


leadership and think expansively about the kind of leaders they want to be. Athena is a magical place — a Center that is nurturing the next generation of women committed to challenging the status quo, and generating meaningful impact for our communities and for our culture through initiatives such as the Athena Film Festival. I look forward to celebrating the Center’s 10th anniversary this year, to building on this momentum, and laying the foundation for our next decade of impact. I can’t wait to see all we will accomplish together. In partnership,

Umbreen Bhatti ’00 The Athena Center for Leadership Studies

About the Athena Center for Leadership Studies Established at Barnard College, a pioneering force in undergraduate women’s education since 1889, the Athena Center is dedicated to advancing a bold new vision of leadership. Our innovative programs: • develop new generations of women leaders, particularly among Barnard students; • create innovative approaches to leadership development; • change what leadership looks like in Hollywood and beyond; • level the playing field for women entrepreneurs; and, • foster public dialogue that expands our understanding of leadership. The Center’s talented team provides a wide range of education, professional development, and public education programs to advance the cultural conversation around what leadership looks like and why we need more women in positions of power and influence.

WHY ARE WE COMMITTED to creating a bold, new vision of leadership? It is simple. With more women leaders, we change society’s understanding of what leaders look like, how they operate, and how they respond to social, political, and economic needs. With more women leaders, communities and organizations will be more innovative, productive, and the successful aspirations of women and girls will rise.


Training Barnard Women to Innovate and Lead Athena Scholars Program Enrollment in the Athena Scholars Program reached an all-time high during 2018 – 2019, with over 325 students participating in the program. Athena Scholars commit to a rigorous three year curricular and experiential program that features five academic courses, six leadership development skill-based workshops, and a pre-professional practicum. Through this program, students develop and deepen their understanding of their own leadership identity and abilities and engage with a multidisciplinary community of peers committed to leadership development. The classroom and extra-curricular experiences lay a crucial foundation for our senior Scholars when constructing and implementing their senior social action projects. Based on the student’s passion to contribute to the greater good, Scholars create a social service, advocacy, or entrepreneurial project with a community partner. Students present their projects to their peers, obtain both positive feedback and critical response, and then work collaboratively in teams to implement and improve the effectiveness of their projects.

51 members of the class of 2019 successfully completed their social action projects this year and graduated from the Scholars Program. These students launched programs and initiatives that generated tremendous impact both here on campus and in communities across the country and world. For example, Steffanie Andrea Garzon created a series of children’s books called “Friends with Feelings” for kids ages 3-5 which tackle issues surrounding mental health with the goal of cultivating conversation and eliminating stigma. Nabila Nasib created financial opportunities for female artists in Afghanistan through her clothing company, Legend Label, which provides employment opportunities to skilled, underprivileged women by selling their handmade clothing to outside consumers. These are only a few examples of the ways in which Athena Scholars are activating their leadership while creating real and lasting change across a diversity of issues. Some of the students plan to continue their projects on a full or part-time basis following graduation.

“ The Athena Scholars Program has provided me with a tight-knit community of fellow Barnard Students that are just as passionate about women’s empowerment as I am. I have been able to engage with and learn from some of the most remarkable young women that I have the honor of calling my classmates and friends.” — Brooke Levy ’20


LEADERSHIP LABS BRING SUBJECT-MATTER EXPERTS (AND ALUMS!) TO CAMPUS Open to all Barnard students, Athena Leadership Labs enable students to discover, explore, and practice tangible leadership skills. Taught by seasoned facilitators and subject matter experts, these interactive workshops provide hands-on training based on a set of leadership attributes and skills that are particularly important for women: ambition, vision, courage, communication, entrepreneurial spirit, leverage, collaboration, negotiation, resilience, and advocacy. Leadership Labs include opportunities to network with others and share secrets of success in an informal setting. Over 350 students attended the 24 workshops this year, with the majority taking more than one.

FEMINIST FIELD TRIPS AND COMMUNITY EVENTS Conversation with Her Excellency, The President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca In the summer of 2018, Athena Scholar Natasha Cox ’19 interned with Her Excellency, The President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca through the Athena Global Fellowship program and invited her to campus to speak to Barnard students. Her Excellency visited Barnard in September while in NY for the UN General Assembly and discussed women’s leadership both in her small island nation and as a global movement. Students posed challenging questions and received very candid, honest responses from President Coleiro Preca.



Visit to The Wing SOHO

10 Ways to Stay Politically Engaged in 2019 Presenting 10 easy ways to be engaged in government and politics in an off election year, VoteRunLead teaches leadership skills on how to be an engaged and empowered citizen as well as how to strengthen one’s civic activism.

The Fall Senior Seminar class took a trip to The Wing’s SOHO location to learn more about this women-centered co-working space. The students toured the facility, which includes a variety of features not found in most co-working spaces, such as a hair/makeup studio, a nursery, and a pumping room. Students also met with members who are architects, podcast creators, and women and leadership consultants, among others.

Influencing Others with Jyoti Menon ’01 Tips, techniques and personal experiences on how to inspire and cultivate a shared vision taught by Barnard alumna and trustee, Jyoti Menon ’01 teaches students how to encourage others to follow their lead. Effective Communication — 3 part series • Telling Your Story on Video Tips for improvising and thinking on your feet, memorization vs. of-the-cuff delivery, best interview practices, overcoming nervous habits and ticks, and looking your best on camera. • Techniques for Effective Communication Using the Social Styles behavioral model, this workshop presents tools and techniques to work more successfully in teams, present information more effectively, and avoid unnecessary conflicts. • Developing a Dynamic Leadership Story This workshop focuses on how to develop personal leadership narratives: how to construct dynamic story structures and 6 critical techniques for presenting those stories. Am I Really Qualified? Overcoming Imposter Syndrome Providing ways to identify and combat Impostor Syndrome, this lab offers tips on how young women can make the absolute most out of every internship or job. Overcommitted, Overworked and Overwhelmed: Time Management Skills for the Busy Barnard Student Students learn useful strategies on how to organize time well and use it wisely as well as gain helpful advice on making smart choices to complete everything on one’s busy agenda. Coding for Newbies Led by Barnard alumna Cassidy Mayeda ’18, this hands-on lab invites students to learn foundational and tangible programming skills, providing an exciting opportunity for students of all academic backgrounds to immerse themselves in the world of coding. Knowing Your Rights in the Workplace This session addresses knowing your rights in the workplace in the absence of a Title IX Coordinator, informing students how to identify unlawful interviewing practices and develop key strategies to address harassment or discrimination in the workplace. Negotiating Your Worth Recruiter, career coach, and Barnard alumna Caroline Ceniza-Levine presents a 3-step process for negotiating, strategies for preparing for a salary negotiation, and common mistakes to avoid. Through small group and partner exercises, participants practice negotiating skills and learn how to continue developing these skills in the future.


netWERK For the second year, The Athena Student Advisory Board (SAB) set out to eliminate the high-pressure networking they and their peers had experienced in usual cookiecutter networking events. This year, the SAB invited 9 Barnard alumnae to campus and created a space for relaxed interactions with students. Participating alumnae work in the fields of finance, government, media, philanthropy, law, nonprofit and publishing. Thank you to all those who participated.

Highline Trip On April 5th, Barnard students were invited to travel to the High Line for a feminist field trip — a unique off-campus leadership lab and networking opportunity. The excursion included an exclusive tour of the High Line and a conversation with Gail Beltrone, Chief Operating Officer at the High Line and two Barnard alumnae working in different areas of the operation: Melanie Kress ’08, Associate Curator of High Line Art, and Anna Hippee ’15, Planning & Design Coordinator of the High Line, who discussed their roles and leadership experiences. Feminist Field Trip to the United Nations 18 Barnard students took a trip to visit the United Nations Headquarters in October. The trip began with a tour and lesson on the mission and mandates of the various UN bodies. The tour was followed by a discussion with a delegate from UN Women who presented about their work to end gender inequality globally as well as a member of the UN Communications team who

talked about technology and the communication infrastructure at the UN.

FINANCIAL FLUENCY AT BARNARD Since its inception, the Athena Center has offered a wide range of skill-building seminars and hands-on workshops aimed at developing financial fluency. Through these offerings, Barnard students learn the basics of individual and organizational budgeting and are given the tools they need to manage their money, negotiate salary conversations, and ensure their own financial independence. Being financially fluent and financially empowered are key for women as they advance to positions of leadership and influence — and through our programs, we ensure this education starts while they are still in college. This spring, we held a two-hour seminar tailored to seniors providing Barnard women with an opportunity to learn more about financial health and prepare them for life after Barnard. Guest speaker Linda

Davis Taylor highlighted the connection between financial fluency and leadership for women. Seniors then had the opportunity to learn more about relevant topics such as credit cards, apartment rental processes, budgeting and the salary/benefits negotiation process. To conclude, recent alumnae joined students for a panel on valuable tips about real-world finances and money management from their personal experiences. Thank you to our friends in the Beyond Barnard office, The Dean of Studies Office and the Office of Financial Aid for helping coordinate this event.

“ Being an Athena Scholar gave me both the academic and professional tools to develop my self-confidence and communication abilities. I’m able to state my case, stand my ground, and network with others in ways I’d never thought I’d be strong enough to do alone.” — Julia Delgado ’19


SUMMER FELLOWSHIPS ENABLE STUDENTS TO DEVELOP LEADERSHIP SKILLS IN THE WORKPLACE In 2019, the Athena Center offered three fellowship programs: The Athena Summer Fellowship Program, the Williams Program for Women in Politics, and the Silberstein Public Service Internship Fund. Through these opportunities, 13 students gained insight on leadership styles and strategies in the public and private sectors, developed personal leadership and professional skills, and created support networks with other young female professionals. The 2019 summer fellows interned in such places as PEN America, an organization that supports free expression, City Bar Justice Center’s Immigrant Justice Project, New York International Children’s Film Festival (NYICFF), Planned Parenthood and the Dumbo Improvement Project. Scholars lived together on campus and met with a consortia of female leaders, including Barnard President Sian Leah Beilock, Distinguished Fellow, Farai Chideya and Barnard alumnae from the classes 2011-2018, to reflect on their experiences.

FOSTERING AN INTERCULTURAL CONVERSATION ON LEADERSHIP In partnership with the Tomodachi MetLife Women’s Leadership Program in Japan, we were delighted to welcome a group of Japanese students here to campus to engage in a facilitated conversation on the topic of women’s leadership. The Japanese students participated in small roundtable conversations with Athena Scholars and members of the Athena team and discussed barriers to women’s leadership in their home country — uncovering themes and brainstorming strategies to overcome these challenges. Understanding the complex, cultural nuances that inflect the leadership landscape is crucial to navigating a path to leadership, and we were honored to facilitate this conversation in an effort to help foster a more global understanding of the need for and challenges to advancing women’s leadership.


Distinguished Fellows: Inspiring the Next Generation The Distinguished Fellows Program brings to campus renowned leaders from the most senior levels of the private and public sectors. Our Distinguished Fellows, each of whom has a demonstrated commitment to the advancement of women, share their expertise and experience with the Barnard community. This year, the Fellows participated in our Power Talk series, met with students in Athena’s Senior Seminar and Women and Leadership classes, hosted students at their workplace for site visits, and developed programs that advance leadership.


Farai Chideya is an author, researcher, and the Journalism Program Officer at the Ford Foundation. Before joining the Ford Foundation, she was a fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, studying media coverage of the 2016 election. During the 2016 election she was a senior writer covering politics and data at ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight. Her tireless commitment to advancing the conversation around, gender, race, and culture has allowed her to challenge cultural conventions, promote diversity, and engage audiences in meaningful conversations about what it means to be alive today.

Liza Donnelly is a visual journalist, cartoonist and writer with The New Yorker and The New York Times. She is also a resident cartoonist at CBS News and a contributor to CNN. Donnelly is a Cultural Envoy for the U.S. State Department, traveling around the world speaking about freedom of speech, cartoons and women’s rights; and she is also a charter member of Cartooning for Peace, an international organization to promote dialogue and understanding through editorial cartoons. She has an honorary PhD for her work in women’s rights and peace from the University of Connecticut and her TEDtalk on gender was translated into 38 languages and viewed online over a million times. Through her work as a cartoonist and writer, she has been able to leverage humor to help rewrite the rules around gender and power in our society.


“ Athena put me in close proximity to a great number of powerful female leaders across different industries and with different models of leadership — I found those experiences and conversations to be invaluable. In this respect, I spent four years thinking about what tenets of leadership I wanted to embody — e.g., compassion, openmindedness, forward-thinking — and how I could get there.” — Catherine Hoang ’19


Anna Holmes is a SVP at First Look Media, where she serves as the editorial director at Topic, a digital magazine that commissions and distributes ambitious storytelling projects in a variety of genres, including photography, illustration and documentary film. An awardwinning editor and writer, Anna has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker and The Washington Post, among other publications. Over the course of her 20-year career—which included the creation of the popular women’s website Jezebel — she has challenged long-held cultural conventions around gender, race and power. Her perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit are laudable and an inspiration to new generations of strong female leaders.

2019 Athena Film Festival: Celebrating Fierce and Fearless Women This February 28th – March 1st, at the ninth annual Athena Film Festival, more than 6,700 attendees came together to participate in a movement that is challenging preconceived notions of what leadership looks like. With a Q&A, panel, or conversation after 75% of our screenings, our attendees participated in a powerful dialogue around the need for gender parity and more women in positions of authority and influence. We welcomed over 150 filmmakers, speakers, and activists to energize and engage our audience to think deeper about how to be brave, be vulnerable, and how to turn art into action. This year, we were honored to screen a record-breaking number of New York, US, and world premieres at the festival, and we look forward to building on this momentum. Additionally, we are proud to say that 75% of films screened at the 2019 Athena Film Festival were directed by women, 32% directed by people of color, and 20% directed by women of color. The festival would not be possible without our network of more than 300 volunteers, our community of nearly 100 organizational partners, and the generosity of our Honorary Host Committee, Co-Chairs, and sponsors. Many thanks also to our friends of the festival who donated products, services, food and beverages to the festival.


HIGHLIGHTS FROM THIS YEAR’S CELEBRATION OF FIERCE AND FEARLESS WOMEN LEADERS: Throughout the weekend, we screened 59 films: 17 features, 15 documentaries, 22 shorts, 2 Virtual Reality Experiences, and 3 Works-In-Progress and had a conversation or panel following 75% of our screenings. On Thursday afternoon, we were happy to host the world premiere of I Am Somebody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story, followed by a panel with the subject of the film, Regina Louise, actresses Angela Fairley and Sherri Saum, and activists Mary Keane and Rosie Williams. It was a great conversation to kickstart a festival filled with challenging stories and stimulating conversations. Our Opening Night Film this year, Fast Color, written and directed by Columbia alumna, Julia Hart, who said “all the cool girls went to Barnard,” is a captivating and imaginative film about a legacy of women who have hidden their superhuman abilities

and traditions until now. Hart wanted to tell a story about a female superhero who saves the world through creation rather than destruction. In the post-screening Q&A, actress Lorraine Toussaint told our packed house how special it is for black women to have a voice in this genre.


There is nothing we like more than screening an Athena List winning screenplay at the festival. The Athena List is our program which highlights scripts about women leaders that have yet to be made into films. We want these scripts to be read, funded, and produced. On the Basis of Sex, written by Daniel Stiepleman, is the second Athena List winner that has been released, and don’t worry, there are more to come. We were honored to welcome Daniel back with this incredible film, which screened to a packed house at Miller Theater. Following the film, we had a moving conversation with reporter and author Irin Carmon, filmmakers Julie Cohen and Daniel Stiepleman, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s daughter, Jane Ginsburg. This year, as part of our new partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, we had our first “Spotlight on STEM” Shorts Program, which celebrated the stories of fierce women working in STEM fields and curious young girls who will do anything to find out more about the world. During this program we screened seven short films, including the Academy Award-winning short Period. End of Sentence to a sold out audience. Following the screening, we had an extended panel discussion on how we as storytellers can empower, support and celebrate women in STEM. Thank you to filmmakers A. Sayeeda Moreno, Hazuki Aikawa, and Lauren Orme, and neuroscientist and journalist Heather Berlin for joining this conversation The room was overflowing for our free panel discussion about the groundbreaking movement, Time’s Up, and the next steps for the organization in their fight for gender equity. This insightful conversation with Nina Shaw ’76, Nithya Raman, Amber Tamblyn, and Alysia Reiner, moderated by Chloe Melas, was live-streamed. View it on our Facebook page if you missed it.


Throughout the festival, we celebrated powerful, inspiring, and sometimes heartbreaking stories through film and conversation. Our Activism Booth gave attendees the opportunity to take action. This year, we partnered with the Center for Reproductive Rights to connect our attendees to organizations that are doing some of the work they see depicted on screen. Thank you to all participating organizations including Girls Inc., Vote Run Lead, Ignited Voices, Restaurant Opportunities Center United, and the Lady Lawyer Foundation. This year’s closing night film, Knock Down the House, was the hottest ticket at the festival, selling out more than a month before the festival began. This documentary, directed by Rachel Lears and recently purchased by Netflix for a record-setting $10 million, follows four insurgent female candidates who challenged entrenched incumbents in the 2018 midterm primaries. We welcomed more than 400 people into the Event Oval for the screening and the post-screening Q&A with Rachel Lears, producer Sarah Olson, editor Robin Blotnick and Congresswoman and subject of the film Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.


Inspiring Award Winners: The Athena Film Festival Awards Reception, sponsored by Amazon Studios, took place on Friday night. This year we honored founding member of Time’s Up and Barnard alumna, Nina Shaw ’76, and director of the Academy Award-nominated film Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Marielle Heller, with Athena Awards; director and brave voice for queer youth, Desiree Akhavan, was recognized as our Athena Breakthrough Awardee; and artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival and fierce feminist ally, Cameron Bailey, received the 2019 Athena Leading Man Award.

ATHENA’S PARITY PIPELINE PROGRAMS As more attention is brought to the gender disparity prevalent throughout the film industry, more must be done to bolster the pipeline of women writers and directors and promote the creation of women-centric stories. With this in mind, the Athena Film Festival has created the Parity Pipeline Program that will improve the skills and opportunities for women filmmakers and help develop women-centric stories into viable projects. These programs include panels, workshops, and masterclasses taught by industry professionals, a works-in-progress showcase for documentaries directed by women, screenwriting labs for emerging women writers in film and television in NYC and LA, our signature program, the Athena List, as well as a range of activities to build community among Athena filmmakers. At the 2019 Festival, our Parity Pipeline programming included: • A free panel discussion about the groundbreaking movement, Time’s Up • A masterclass, in partnership with Stephens College, on Television Writing with writer, producer, and educator Ligiah Villalobos and moderated by Ken LaZebnik, Director of the Stephens College M.F.A. in Television and Screenwriting program • The announcement and recognition of our 2019 Athena List awardees during the Awards Reception. We were honored to have representatives from Amazon Studios with us to announce the 2019 winners: Hedy by Giovanni Porta; Out of My Mind by Daniel

Stiepleman (his 2nd Athena List win); Roe v. Wade by Jennifer Majka; and The Defining Moment by Margaret Nagle (her 2nd Athena List win). • A Technology of Filmmaking demo which provided a live technology demonstration led by cinematographer Nara Garber and editor Shruti Ganguly, in partnership with Barnard’s Instructional Media and Technology team, and sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. • A two-day screenwriting lab serving 8 writers, hosted in partnership with Women in the Screenwriting Trade (WIST).


Media Coverage: The 2019 Festival generated more than 246 million media impressions, notable and in-depth coverage in such publications as The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, New York Times, Wall St. Journal, more than 1 million+ unique web visits, and 55,000+ social media followers Many, Many Thanks: A special thank you to our Sponsors, Honorary Host Committee, Festival Co-Chairs, Friends of the Festival, and partnering organizations. Our work and this festival would not be possible without your generous support. A particular thanks to our Founding Sponsor, the Artemis Rising Foundation, and Regina K. Scully, Founder and CEO, to whom we extend our most heartfelt gratitude for your unwavering and generous support. A heartfelt thank you as well to the 300+ volunteers, who helped execute a flawless weekend. A complete list of all sponsors and donors is listed on page 30.


SAVE THE DATE Next year’s Festival will be

02/27 – 03/01, 2020.

In June, we held our second annual lab for screenwriters and television writers in Los Angeles. Partnering again with WIST and the Stephens College Masters of Fine Arts in Television and Screenwriting, the threeday program focused on emerging women writers in both television and film. The lab included one-on-one mentoring sessions pairing participants with established screenwriters, a mock television writer’s room, and opportunities for peer-to-peer feedback.

One day was devoted to film and another to TV, with an industry day in between, at which participants learned about the business of making films, including meetings with managers, showrunners and producers. Director, writer, and showrunner Kat Candler (Queen Sugar, Hellion) joined us for a conversation. Many thanks to our friends at Lifetime Studios for their partnership in these efforts.


Developing Entrepreneurial Mindsets Athena’s entrepreneurship programs introduce select high-school and Barnard students to entrepreneurship, enable them to experiment with entrepreneurship through internships and hands-on work experience, and provide resources and mentorship for those young women who have launched or are launching their own ventures. Athena Digital Design Agency: Founded in 2014, the Athena Digital Design Agency (ADDA) seeks to improve technical literacy at Barnard and provide an opportunity for students to earn money and gain work experience by designing websites for clients. They accomplish this by offering classes in HTML/CSS, Javascript, and design principles for the web, which are open to all Barnard students free of charge.

Students who complete the introductory classes are then invited to join the student-run agency, which designs and builds websites for small businesses and nonprofits. Practical, efficient, and tailored to the modern college student, ADDA is a perfect example of how women can learn to code and immediately get to work, earning money for their talent while still in school. Courses offered by ADDA include: HTML/ CSS, Design for Web Development, and JavaScript. During this academic year, nearly 150 took advantage of these classes which are offered free of charge to Barnard students. In 2018-19, we also opened the courses up to Barnard alumnae, for a small fee. The students and alumnae enjoyed being in class together and sharing this experience.


The Athena Digital Design hosted several events this year to build community among Barnard students who are interested in coding. They held a Hackathon in the Fall and “Treats & Tech” in the Spring to allow students to work on projects together and troubleshoot challenges. They hosted a combined information session and graduation event each semester to recognize the finished websites of the students in the coding classes and allow prospective students to see the outcome. The ADDA Student Advisory Board also organized a mixer with the Athena Scholar Student Advisory Board to ensure that Athena women in leadership roles are collaborating and building community. Members of the agency worked with a variety of clients to build websites and provide web design support. If you are interested in hiring members of the Athena Digital Design Agency for your project, please email info@

INSPIRING THE NEXT GENERATION OF WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS Athena Summer Innovation Institute: For the 8th time, in collaboration with Barnard’s Office of Pre-College Programs, Athena hosted 33 high school women


from across the country and globe for a 12-day, intensive, entrepreneurship boot camp. The program guides teens through the development of an idea, customer research, product design and development, and marketing. At the conclusion of the program, the students pitch their company to a panel of investors, founders, and seasoned startup leaders. Our 2019 camp filled up earlier than ever before welcoming students from as close to home as Harlem to as far away as China. From a health bracelet that helps identify stress in teenagers to a mobile consignment shop that solves the problem of textile waste and lack of access to affordable clothing, these students developed innovative solutions to pressing challenges. We look forward to all they will accomplish. Thank you to our talented team of instructors, mentors, story coaches, and pitch competition panelists for their support and invaluable contributions this year — especially our Program Director, Malla Haridat, and Student Program Coordinator, Allison Humphrey. A special thank you to the teams at Hanky Panky, E’s Bar, and Hot Bread Kitchen, who each hosted students for on-site tours of their facilities.

Advancing Innovative Approaches to Leadership Development The Athena Center continues to work with organizational partners to deliver high-impact, meaningful workshops and trainings for women. Leveraging our talented network of subject matter experts, advisors, facilitators, and coaches, the format of these programs can vary from a quarterly series of 1 ½ - 2 hour workshops to a full day, in-depth, off-site conference. Individual trainings and workshops are designed to deepen and expand individual leadership skills and strategies; larger programs are designed to increase the leadership identity and capacity of high-potential mid- and senior-level female leaders and to create widespread recognition of women’s leadership as a competitive advantage within the organization.


For our second year in a row, we were delighted to provide a series of trainings for our friends at the Columbia Global Center in Rio De Janiero as part of their Women’s Leadership Network in Brazil program. This year-long program provides training and strategic networking opportunities to 20 mid-senior professionals from Brazil, with the goal of creating a growing network of women who will contribute to the transformation of public service in Brazil. Selected participants came from diverse sectors for example, Ana Christina Faulhaber, Secretary of State and Penitentiary Administration of Rio de Janeiro, and Luisa De-Lazzari Bicalho Peixoto Resende, Secretary of State for Human Rights, Social Participation and Citizenship.

BUILDING LEADERSHIP SKILLS FOR BARNARD ALUMNAE As part of our efforts to offer meaningful leadership development opportunities to professional women, we launched the Athena Power Posse for Barnard alumnae. Engaging approximately 25 Barnard alums, the Power Posse inaugural cohort was comprised of a diverse group of Barnard alumnae at similar stages of their careers from various industries and fields. Meeting on a quarterly basis, Posse members participated in workshops and trainings on topics including effective networking and navigating strategic relationship building at work. Members of the group exchanged insights and advice, and provided support and feedback to one another, leveraging the opportunity to connect with a peer community. We look forward to growing this initiative in coming years and continuing to develop new ways to engage the Barnard alumnae community. For more information about leadership development partnerships and opportunities, please email


At Athena, we are committed to advancing a broad and bold understanding of what it means to lead, to collaborate, and to excel. Our work has never been more important, and we are immensely grateful to our extraordinary network of staff, friends, supporters, partners, and sponsors that make our programs possible. Your wisdom, creativity, and commitment to our mission allows us to create new ways to advance women’s leadership within the Barnard community and extends far beyond. We are thrilled to have Umbreen Bhatti ’00 on board as our new director to shape the vision and strategy for the next ten years of the Athena Center. We look forward to celebrating our 10th Anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year and building on the momentum of our early success to generate even more impact in the years to come.

Our Team


CENTER STAFF Umbreen Bhatti returned to Barnard in April 2019 to serve as the Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Bhatti is responsible for establishing and implementing the strategic vision for the Athena Center. She oversees all programmatic initiatives including the following areas: women’s leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation, and civic engagement. She manages relationships with a broad network of supporters, including students, faculty, alumnae, consultants, business and non-profit partners, and staff, as well as serves as a thought leader in advancing a public dialogue on women and leadership. Bhatti graduated cum laude from Barnard in 2000 as a political science major and Centennial Scholar and earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 2005. Bhatti returns to the College with a wealth of experience in media, law, and non-profit management. Most recently, she served as Director of the innovation lab at KQED, the Bay Area’s NPR and PBS station. Bhatti also serves on the board of Global Press, a news organization dedicated to reinventing the craft and business of international journalism by recruiting diverse populations of local women and training them to become professional, ethical journalists. As a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, she developed and then hosted the podcast “Kaleidoscope: Reflections on Islam.” Beyond media, Bhatti has worked with universities, libraries, local government, and nonprofits to support their efforts to meet the needs of their constituents in new and exciting ways. Earlier in her career, she practiced law at the Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles, the ACLU in Wilmington, Del., and Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C., and taught law students as an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law. Bhatti now lives in Manhattan with her husband, an executive in digital network news, and her two children.



Victoria Gordon is the Chief of Staff at the Athena Center. Among her many duties, Gordon oversees the day-today operations of the Center, providing strategic oversight of student programs and the Center’s leadership development and entrepreneurship work. She also provides critical fundraising and management support to the Athena Film Festival team. Gordon sits on the President’s Council, the Operations and Management Group of the College, and the Joint Faculty and Administrators’ Benefits Committee. Gordon has ten years’ experience in operations, development, and event management working for organizations including The Resolution Project, Room to Grow, Community Renewal Team and the Wildlife Conservation Society. She has a background in international relations and a passion for working with young people committed to social change and social progress. Gordon holds an MSc in Democracy and Comparative Politics from University College London and graduated with honors and an MA in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews.


Sarit Abramowicz is the Administrative Director of Student Programs at the Athena Center. She oversees the design and implementation of all student-facing programs, initiatives, and events. Before working with the Athena Center, Abramowicz directed the Women’s International Leadership Program at International House for seven years. In this role she was responsible for curriculum design, student advising, organizing logistics and facilitating workshops and panels. Topics included, Cross-Cultural Communication and Awareness, Working in Multicultural Teams, Managing Conflict with Dignity and various themes related to women and leadership and career development. Abramowicz has a Master’s degree from New York University in International Education and a Bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University in Philosophy, Politics & Law and Spanish. .

Opal H. Bennett is the Senior Programmer for the Athena Film Festival, where she is responsible for curating the program of feature length and short films. After several years in legal practice, Bennett now programs a mixture of short, feature and virtual reality films for several festivals — Athena, Nantucket and Tribeca. She has also served on panels, juries and grant committees. A Columbia Law grad, Bennett holds a Masters in Media Studies from the LSE, and received her B.A. from New York University.

Skye Cleary teaches the Athena Senior Seminar. She is a philosopher and author of Existentialism and Romantic Love (Palsgrave Macmillan, 2015). Cleary is the Managing Editor of the American Philosophical Association’s blog, an advisory board member of Strategy of Mind (a global executive learning firm), and a certified fellow with the American Philosophical Practitioners Association. Previously, she was an international equity arbitrageur and management consultant. Her work has been published with Aeon, TEDEd, Los Angeles Review of Books, The Huffington Post, The Conversation, Business Insider, New Republic, New Philosopher, The Philosophers’ Magazine, ABC Radio National, YourTango, Womankind, Actualise Daily and others. She is currently writing a book on Simone de Beauvoir.

Erika Guzman is the Student Programs Administrator at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Guzman is responsible for ensuring the effective and efficient operation of Student Programs run by the Center by providing critical strategic support to the Administrative Director of Student Programs, helping to develop, implement, and plan student programs, manage student programs budget, and consultant contracting. Throughout her career, she has gained a wealth of experience in all aspects of office administration in a variety of fields including corporate, government, healthcare, and higher education; providing high-level executive support to senior management. Guzman holds a Bachelor of Arts in Culture and Deviance Studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Lehman College.

Sylvie Honig, PhD, teaches Women and Leadership and the Athena Senior Seminar. Before coming to the Athena Center, she taught undergraduate Sociology courses at Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Columbia, Tufts, and CUNY. She earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago, with a specialization in youth, life course theory and qualitative methods. Her doctoral project, Untangling the Apron Strings, examines how inequality in young adulthood is exacerbated by the emphasis on independence, a luxury afforded only to privileged young adults, and how it paradoxically enables a prolonged dependence on parents for financial and other types of support. Her focus on transition to adulthood gives her a unique perspective into the particular challenges and opportunities faced by young women as they move through higher education and into the workforce. Her other research interests include urban sociology, gender, sexuality, and stratification. She has done qualitative research on sexuality in young adulthood, income instability, and HIV stigma at the intersection of race, gender and class.



Kristin Molloy is the Operations Manager for the Athena Film Festival. Molloy has spent the past several years producing, managing, and otherwise working numerous film festivals and series including Rooftop Films, Slamdance Film Festival, the Montclair Film Festival, and the Hamptons International Film Festival. Most recently, she programmed films for the Northside Festival — a music, innovation and film festival that takes place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Molloy has also produced live concerts and worked on independent TV pilots. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Culture and Media Studies from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts.


Kory Louko is the PostBaccalaureate Fellow for the Athena Film Festival. She works on the programming and operations sides of the festival, researching and reviewing film selections and working with the Operations Manager on all production aspects to the event. Luoko is a New York based writer, director and comedian. She is from a small farm town in Massachusetts that is adjacent to a town with the smartest lesbians in the US. She packed up her flannels from both groups and moved to NYC to pursue a career in comedy. Her recent credits include her directorial debut with Man vs. Vibrator. In addition to working with the Athena Film Festival, she has worked with the Nantucket Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival on their screenings teams. She graduated from Barnard College with a degree in English and Film Studies.

Alisa Tchernigova is the Senior Programs Assistant at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Tchernigova has been working in higher education since 2013 in various administrative roles. Tchernigova graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Lehman College. While at Lehman, she was inducted into the Golden Key Honor Society, Psi Chi - the International Honor Society in Psychology, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Tchernigova also holds a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from Manhattan College.


Kathryn Kolbert is the CoFounder and Producing Director of the Athena Film Festival and served as the Founding Director of the Athena Center from 2009 - 2018. A publicinterest attorney, journalist, and executive in the not-for-profit world, Kathryn has a depth of experience in collaborative leadership, educational programming, and civil-rights advocacy. She has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” and by The American Lawyer as one of 45 publicinterest lawyers “whose vision and commitment are changing lives.” In 1992, Kolbert argued the landmark case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey before the U.S. Supreme Court and has been credited with saving Roe v. Wade with what CNN’s Legal Correspondent Jeffrey Toobin has called “one of the most audacious litigation strategies in Supreme Court history.

Melissa Silverstein, is the founder and editor of Women and Hollywood, one of the most respected sites for issues related to women and film as well as other areas of pop culture. She serves as the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Athena Film Festival — A Celebration of Women and Leadership, a joint project of the Athena Center and Women and Hollywood. Silverstein recently published her first book, In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing, which is a compilation of over 40 interviews that have appeared on Women and Hollywood. Her work has been featured on CNN and BBC as well as in Newsweek, Salon, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, The New York Times, and many other publications.

A graduate of Cornell University, College of Arts and Science and Temple University School of Law, Kolbert has lectured at colleges and universities across the nation and is a frequent commentator on leadership, constitutional and women’s rights issues in the national media.


Many, Many Thanks Our growth and continued success would not be possible without the generous support of our donors, the wisdom of our advisors and the dedication of our staff, consultants and instructors. We remain thankful to our founding donors, Francene Sussner Rodgers ’67, Constance Hess Williams ’66 and Lucille Zanghi and James Dow P ’10 who enabled us to start the Center and to Constance Hess Williams’ 2011 decision to endow a Chair for the Director of the Athena Center. We extend our gratitude to our active and dedicated Leadership Council, co-chaired by Claire Newman and Jyoti Menon ’01. These Leadership Council members have given both their time and expertise, serving as mentors, professional development trainers, and film festival volunteers, and connecting with our Scholars and staff. We are stronger because of the time and talent they donate and we remain deeply grateful for their loyal support. To our committed group of faculty and student advisors, thank you for your guidance, insights, and invaluable support. As our Center continues to grow and change, your strategic advice is crucial and we thank you for your friendship. To all of our friends, partners, sponsors, and donors, thank you for your continued and renewed commitment to our mission. Together we are advancing women’s leadership and fostering a stronger, more empowered generation of Barnard students. For all you have done and continue to do, we are sincerely thankful.



Francene Sussner Rodgers ’67 Constance Hess Williams ’66 Lucille Zanghi and James Dow P ’10



Patricia Harrigan ’68 and Peter Nadosy Endowment Fund The Daphne Fodor Philipson ’69 Fund for Women’s Leadership Marina Weitzner Lewin ’80 Internship Fund Carol Krongold Silberstein ’69 and Alan Silberstein Public Service Internship Fund


Laird Grant Groody ’67 Patricia Harrigan Nadosy ’68 Mollie Rosenthal Memorial Fund Susan Weber ’77


Jennifer Allyn P ’20 Beth Bloomfield ’73 Glori Cohen P ’14 Dr. Rochelle Cooper ’84 P ’12 Jessica S. Desjardins ’10 Leah Dunaief ’62 Gabrielle Ferrara ’12 Marley Blue Lewis ’05 Christine McConnell Julie Melwani ’09 Jyoti Menon ’01 (Co-Chair) Pat Nadosy ’68 Claire Newman (Co-Chair)

Lida Orzeck ’68 Daphne Fodor Philipson ’69 Gale Picker Julia Qian ’15 Francene Sussner Rodgers ’67 Ariella Salimpour ’17 Martha Scodro P ’14 Robyn Price Stonehill Marissa Wesely Dr. Margaret Withgott ’76 Lucille Zanghi Anonymous

Faculty Advisory Board

Belinda Archibong, Assistant Professor of Economics Alexander Cooley, Tow Professor of Political Science Alan Dye, Professor of Economics, affiliate member of Columbia University’s Department of History and Institute of Latin American Studies. Margaret Ellsberg, Senior Lecturer in English Ross Hamilton, Professor of English, Director, Film Studies Program Brian Mailloux, Professor of Environmental Science Robert McCaughey, Professor of History, Janet H. Robb Chair in the Social Sciences Debra Minkoff, Professor of Sociology, Chair, Department of Sociology Rae Silver, Helene L. and Mark N. Kaplan Professor of Natural & Physical Sciences, Head of the Silver Neurobiology Laboratory Joan Snitzer, Lecturer in Art History and Visual Art David Weiman, Alena Wels Hirschorn ’58 Professor of Economics, Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development Paige West, Professor of Anthropology

Student Advisory Board Natasha Cox ’19 Shambhavi Chadha ’20 Julia Delgado ’19 Demme Durrett ’19 Sophia Houdaigui ’21 Apolline Jonckheere ’20 Stacy Kanellopoulos ’20

Zakiya Lahka ’21 Brooke Levy ’20 Flosha Liyana ’21 Floriana Milazzo ’21 Simran Shah ’20 Alexis Tsapralis ’20 Claire Walter ’19 Hannah Welles ’20 Yunxiao Cherrie Zheng ’21


J.J. Abrams P ’22 Julie Parker Benello ’92 Debra Martin Chase Geralyn Dreyfous Ava DuVernay Paul Feig Greta Gerwig Sherry Lansing Jon Levin Katie McGrath Sheila Nevins David Oyelowo Gina Prince-Bythewood Susan Rovner ’91 Regina K. Scully Rachel Weisz

Honorary Host Committee

JJ Abrams P ’22 Loreen Arbus Julie Parker Benello ’92 Deborah Brenner Glori Cohen P ’14 Elizabeth Cuthrell P ’20 Lisa Brenner Devlin ’97 Abigail E. Disney and Pierre N. Hauser Barbara Dobkin P ’92 Wendy Ettinger Joan Fallon Jan Lisa Huttner Katie McGrath P ’22 Lida Orzeck ’68 Nicole Page Gigi Pritzker Cornelia Ravenal Helen Diana (Heidi) Reavis Martha Scodro P ’14 Nancy Stephens Jenny Warburg




PREMIERE LEVEL Ravenal Foundation


This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dobkin Family Foundation

The Athena Film Festival is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Friends of the Festival




Friends of the Festival continued




Athena Film Festival Crew

Technical Director: Michael Comstock, Indre Recording and Production Public Relations: Clare Anne Darragh, Lina Plath, Clare Anne Darragh, Stephanie Davidson, Emily Maroon and Jeff McBride, Frank PR Barnard Communications: Allison Cooke Volunteer Coordinator: Cailley Frank-Lehrer Outreach Coordinator: Avi Edelman Programmer: Opal H. Bennett Hospitality Manager: Layna Fisher Web Design: Jen Mazer Ticketing Services Manager: Alexandra Taylor Activism Booth Organizer: Phanesia Pharel ’21


Sarit Abramowicz Marisa Aubin Courtney Brand Hannah Campbell Anna Carlson Garance Choko Kira Copperman Adriana DiFazio ’15 Barbara Greene Galia Gichon Lauren Gonzalez Holly Helstrom Caroline Ceniza Levine ’93 Cassidy Mayeda ’18 Monica McCarthy Jyoti Menon ’01 Stephanie Ng Nathalie Molina Niño Avani Patel Christine Valenza Shin ’84 Erinn Sitaras Erin Vilardi Molree Williams-Lendor


Malla Haridat, Program Director Allison Humphrey, Student Program Coordinator


Dominique Aubry Nikki Chambers Frankie LaPace Jamie Lee Nathalie Molina Niño Elise Santora Elizabeth Talerman


Elaine Barsoom Veronica Cabezas Jennifer Morrow Eident Iyanna Halilou Minki Jung Kirsten Magwood Lulu Mickelson Emily Moskowitz Christina Morillo Carolyn Rush Nalini Saxena

Pitch Panelists

Jimmie Briggs Joan Fallon Vanessa Liu Alicia Bonner Ness Silda Wall Spitzer Jacquette Timmons

Story Coaches

Raquel Almazan Mei Ann Teo Jillian Walker Brandon Webster


Arlena McClenton, Chief Executive Officer Nishat Choudhury, Chief Financial Officer Tiffany Ming, Head of Admissions Eleanor Murguia, Head of Agency Nadia Saleh, Head of Academy


“ I cannot thank Athena enough for being the absolute best part of my time at Barnard. From the incredible tools I’ve gained to some of my best friends I’ve made through the Center, everything about Athena has allowed me to grow and flourish as a leader. The support and care that the Athena staff have given me over the past three years have allowed me to explore new interests, take risks, and lead compassionately; for that, I am forever grateful!” — Demme Durrett ’19

The Athena Center for Leadership Studies Barnard College 3009 Broadway New York, NY 10027-6598 212.854.1264 @barnard_athena

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