Athena Center for Leadership at Barnard College - Annual Report - 2019-2020

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ANNUAL REPORT | AY 2019-2020


ANNUAL REPORT | AY 2019-2020







2019-2020 YEAR IN REVIEW













What a year it’s been. The past several months have challenged us as individuals, as an institution, and as a global community. For my colleagues and me, this tumultuous time has created space for us to reflect on how we got here and to explore what we need to do to equip students to lead now and in the years to come. In February of this year, we relaunched the Center with a new vision and approach to leadership. And then, as we were working to develop new programs and adapt our existing ones ... a pandemic. We were pretty sure we had made the right decision before. We are absolutely sure about it now. Keep reading to learn more about what our new vision and approach is, and why it feels so right to us — and, far more importantly, why it feels so right to our students, who have received it with excitement, energy, and the roll-up-yoursleeves, get-to-work Barnard way. I am so inspired by them. This is an extraordinary moment, one that demands a great deal from each of us, perhaps most of all from young people, fairly or not, and I see them working to meet it in their own ways. We at Athena have made an important commitment to them, and it is our privilege to try to fulfill that commitment each and every day. I am grateful for the community of supportive faculty and staff who have reached out to express their enthusiasm for this new direction and who have become our partners. And I am eternally grateful for the commitment of the alumnae, donors, and friends who make our work possible. I know the coming year will test us in new and different ways, but I am confident that we will emerge from this stronger and more committed than ever — because seeing opportunity amid the challenges is what leaders do.

Umbreen Bhatti ’00 Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director September 2020

A NEW DECADE, A NEW ATHENA 2019-2020 marked the end of the Athena Center’s first decade — the perfect opportunity for us to ask: Who are the leaders we need now? And how might we support their development? We spent the first half of this academic year taking in stakeholder perspectives on these questions — building upon the community-wide process begun in 2018. From students, alumnae, faculty, staff, and Athena’s many supporters, we saw a strong interest in (1) a more inclusive and relevant definition of leadership, and (2) opportunities that were more flexible and welcoming for students of all majors, backgrounds, and interests. With this clarity, in February 2020, we announced our vision for the Center’s next chapter. Today, we think of leaders as, at their core, problem-solvers, and our role as providing Barnard students with a wide range of ways to practice problemsolving through programs that are hands-on and experiential. Think about it. At the moment of this writing, less than a year into the 2020s, our students are experiencing a global public health crisis, an economic crisis, and a long overdue confronting of a legacy of racial injustice. That’s on top of climate change, an issue many tell us they see as the most important issue in the world right now. What lies ahead is uncertain, but what is certain is that it’s theirs to face. We’re not alone in recognizing that we must do more to prepare students to navigate the increasingly complex challenges of the present and the future, and to do so aware that we, all of us, wherever we are in our societies and in the world, are inextricably connected to one another. All around us, institutions of higher education are feeling that urgency. But few institutions can do it as we can, with a feminist lens and approach coupled with the extraordinary community we’ve built over these past 10 years — and no other institution has the incredible students we have. We can’t wait to see what bold new future they shape.

“You are moving in the direction of freedom, and the function of freedom is to free somebody else. “You are moving toward self-fulfillment, and the consequences of that fulfillment should be to discover that there is something that is just as important as you are, and that just as important thing may be your stepsister.”


The world is full of vexing challenges. A warming planet, hunger, mis- and disinformation, all of the -isms that keep people from reaching their full potential, just to name a few. These challenges require creative solutions, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. What can we do? Where do we even start? At the Athena Center for Leadership, we see leaders as, at their core, problem-solvers — and our role as providing Barnard students with a wide range of ways to practice solving problems at all scales, all experience-based and available to students from day one. Athena is home to Barnard students who see opportunities in challenges and seize them to build a better world, together — because these are the leaders we need now.

OUR MISSION To equip Barnard students with the skills and experiences they need to take on our world’s many complex challenges.

OUR APPROACH CREATIVE We are home to artists, activists, entrepreneurs, our future policymakers and more; we value all ways to create new possibilities and build a better world. And we acknowledge and honor the work that was done before we arrived and upon which we build.

COLLABORATIVE The change we need won’t come from a single approach or a single person. We create space for the messy work of collaborating across disciplines and lived experiences, across hierarchies and locations. We don’t pretend that it’s easy, but we do believe it’s worth it.

CONSCIOUS OF IMPACT We move at the speed of trust. As we tackle complex challenges, we ask: Who might be helped by our ideas and who might be harmed by them, and what can we do to prevent harm? We’re mindful of the impact of this work on ourselves as well. After all, the path to meaningful, lasting change is a winding one. Missteps and setbacks are inevitable and more than okay here!

OUR PROGRAMS CO-CURRICULAR At Athena, we learn by doing, building on our experiences in the classroom with Barnard’s world-class faculty. We offer experiences on and off campus that give students the chance to put problemsolving skills into practice; low-stress, low-commitment, high-value workshops that teach new skills and refine existing ones; and the support of a community of mentors and experts who are generous with their knowledge and networks.

2019-2020 YEAR IN REVIEW LOTS AND LOTS OF LISTENING AND LEARNING... Dozens of meetings with stakeholders, all with the goal of identifying opportunities for growth and next-level success.

A RELAUNCH! 1 new vision, accompanied by renewed enthusiasm for Athena on the part of students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and our supporters, and new programs like our incredible Hunger Challenge.

A *GLORIOUS* TENTH ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL. 6,000 attendees and 300 volunteers. 84% of the films we screened were directed by women, and 37% were directed by women of color. 22 film premieres. The best part? We pulled it off just before things ground to a halt.

A PANDEMIC TESTS OUR NEW VISION. IT PASSES (WITH FLYING COLORS, WE THINK). 3 pop-up programs, with the help of 30+ alums, serving 200+ students during exactly the kind of uncertainty leaders must navigate. An unexpected plus: Despite all they were facing, our Student Advisory Board really came to life!


CIVICS @ ATHENA Over 100 students joined us to watch a record number of women candidates debate their fellow candidates for the Democratic nomination on September 12, 2019. Sincere thanks to longtime journalist Susie Banikarim ’95 and Chitra Aiyar of the Sadie Nash Leadership Project for framing the event and offering their thoughtful commentary.

With our friends at Beyond Barnard, we brought together students with a shared interest in politics and public policy for a three-part series that included support for voter registration and hands-on workshops, serving 120 students. In 2019-2020, we also sent 7 students to the Public Leadership Education Network’s conferences, first in D.C. and then virtually, to learn directly from policymakers.

FINANCIAL FLUENCY Athena’s original mandate included the development and implementation of financial fluency programs for Barnard students. These programs help students understand money and how it works, and give them the ability to make strategic decisions that can impact both their future and their ability to effect change in the world. These are crucial skills for any leader. In 2019-2020, 429 students attended these programs.




Athena leads an interdepartmental task force that includes Beyond Barnard, the Office of Financial Aid, and the Assistant Dean for Student Success, who works with first-generation and low-income students.

In 2019-2020, our offcampus partners included JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s Women on the Move and AAUW +

budgeting | student loans credit cards | freelancing negotiating salary & benefits | investing | and more

THE FOUNDING DONORS OF THE FINANCIAL FLUENCY PROGRAM Laird Grant Groody ’67 Patricia Harrigan Nadosy ’68

Mollie Rosenthal Memorial Fund Susan Weber ’77



8.26.2019 | 58 participants

9.9.2019 | 16 participants

Learn the ins and outs of managing your loans, getting a campus job, and using a budget to stay in control of your finances.

From student loans to credit cards to budgeting wisely, learn how to make smart decisions when it comes to saving and spending hard-earned cash.

Led by staff from Beyond Barnard, the Athena Center, the Dean’s Office, and Financial Aid

Led by Christine Valenza Shin ’84, Associate Director for Alumnae Counseling and Education at Beyond Barnard



10.3.2019 | 20 participants Does your spending match your core values? How do your emotions impact the choices you make with your money? Come learn how they’re connected and leave with advice, inspiration, and tools to empower you to answer the question “What should I do with my money?” Led by Jacquette Timmons

10.14.2019 | 6 participants Whether it’s a side hustle, a temp position, or a full-time contract, understanding how to manage your money outside of a typical employment structure is crucial. In this session, you’ll learn how to be your own advocate, plan a budget on variable income, create income as a freelancer, and set aside money for taxes. Plus: the latest apps to streamline your life. Led by Galia Gichon



10.23.2019 & 10.30.2019 | 13 & 23 participants

2.21.2020 | 60 participants

A large part of financial fluency is finding simple ways to keep track of your cash flow. This small-group, hands-on session teaches students not only how to track their income and expenses but also chart goals and use visuals to help better understand their financial profile. Topics covered include conditional formatting, data validation, conditional statements, and adaptive charts. Students can get started with Level 1 and really have fun with formulas in Level 2. Attendance at both sessions is encouraged but not required.

Getting ready for life after Barnard? Don’t neglect your financial health. Hear from a money management expert and recent alumnae who have valuable tips about realworld finances, and stay for roundtable discussions in which you can ask questions about credit cards, apartment rental processes, budgeting, and the salary/benefits negotiation process. Keynote by Jacquette Timmons

Led by the Empirical Research Center



3.31.2020 | 24 participants

4.21.2020 | 60 participants

Was: Investing for Beginners. Is now: Investing in Uncertain Times. Hop on March 31 for this workshop with Galia Gichon. You’ll learn about how to approach investing when who knows WTF is happening with the markets — you’ll leave equipped with knowledge about mutual funds, stocks, picking the right mix of investments, and how to get started right away

While finance seems like a scary topic these days, you have an opportunity to better understand what is happening in the world of finance and how it impacts you, today and in the future. In this conversation, we will talk about finding ways to make informed choices and regain some control in an unpredictable environment. Led by Amy Butte and Stephanie Rothermel ’18

Led by Galia Gichon



ASK FOR MORE 10.17.2019 | 106 participants This workshop, run by, in partnership with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), gives women the strategies they need to make the strongest possible case for a new job, a raise, a promotion, or better benefits. Participants leave with a refreshed sense of confidence, killer negotiation skills, and a new support network to help ensure they make what they’re worth.


MY MONEY, MY PLAN: SETTING S.M.A.R.T. FINANCIAL GOALS 10.22.2019 | 28 participants What does it mean to set S.M.A.R.T. financial goals? While it can be intimidating to think about your financial path, small steps you take in college can set you up for a lifetime of success. Learn manageable steps to budget practically and wisely, manage expenses and debt, plan and save for the future, and take ownership of your finances. Introductory remarks delivered by President Sian Leah Beilock and Samantha Saperstein, Managing Director and Head of Women on the Move at JPMorgan Chase & Co. Women on the Move is a JPMorgan Chase & Co. initiative to improve financial health and career growth for women.

Savings are the fuel for your financial journey and a powerful way to insure you have options as you make key life and career decisions. The financial routines you establish in college can set you up for a lifetime of success. Attend this workshop to learn how to start making savings a lifelong habit. Women on the Move is a JPMorgan Chase & Co. initiative to improve financial health and career growth for women.

STUDENT PROJECTS IN 2019-2020 Every year, some of our students focus their Social Action Projects on the topic of financial fluency, creating resources and, in some cases, organizations, Asroy was one of our favorites this year!

ASROY Ishrat Aishee ’20, in partnership with Laal NYC Asroy, an initiative dedicated to empowering immigrant Bangladeshi women through financial literacy, aims to break a vicious cycle of domestic violence and economic dependency by empowering women to make their own financial decisions. Asroy’s individualized financial literacy curriculum is tailored to ensure that individuals and the collective community alike are supported as they pursue their respective goals toward financial fluency, whether that be creating a customized savings plan, navigating home mortgage rates, or applying for a bank loan. The curriculum pairs each individual with the resources necessary for turning dreams into realistic and achievable goals. For far too long, the needs of Bangladeshi women have been overshadowed, but it will be through (financial) literacy that they find liberation.



SKILL BUILDERS Formerly known as Leadership Labs, these 90-minute expert-led (and often alumnae-led!) workshops give students the opportunity to learn and practice important skills in a safe, peer-to-peer environment. In 2019-2020, we offered 4 series, Collaborate | Feel Well, Do Good | Communicate with Impact | Make Your Ask, serving 195 students, with 50% of the workshops led by alums and 60% led by women of color.

The Athena Digital Design Academy (ADDA) champions and inspires Barnard women on their journey into coding literacy through web development. Graduates of the Academy can apply to the Athena Digital Design Agency, which connects local businesses and organizations with students to help build or maintain their websites. In 2019, 49 students and 19 alumnae participated in ADDA’s 9-week classes. ADDA’s fall 2019 showcase included a fireside chat with Victoria Meakin ’85, Co-Founder & President of Ocrolus. The spring 2020 showcase featured tech entrepreneur Ope Bukola.

Do group projects make you squirm? Depending on others to get a project completed is a daunting task but when done well can lead to significantly better results than going it alone. Embracing different perspectives and work styles can actually lead to breakthroughs. These workshops will make you want to seize opportunities to collaborate, and show you how you can make the collaborative process more engaging, dynamic, and worthwhile rather than a drain on your already way too limited time.



9.23.2019 | 12 participants

10.17.2019 | 16 participants

How do you hold a meeting that has everyone engaged and not scrolling on their phones? By developing a thoughtful meeting design and facilitation practice, you can make any gathering productive and dynamic while building community with your team. In this workshop, you will explore and come to understand the various strategies and approaches to designing meetings for small group sizes, develop an understanding of the methods of facilitation, particularly modes of facilitation that tend to power dynamics, and gain experience in designing a meeting for a small group.

Come for improv, leave with a new way of thinking about how to maximize the talents of a team. In this workshop, you’ll learn a set of skills that will help you make collaborating with others in your classes and your work more creative and fun. Led by Maritza Montañez

Led by Judy Pryor-Ramirez

FEEL WELL, DO GOOD Develop tools you can use to make sure you’re taking care of yourself while you’re working on your ideas for change. (Offered alongside the College’s Feel Well, Do Well initiative.)




2.24.2020 | 28 participants

3.2.2020 | 21 participants

3.6.2020 | 29 participants

Climate change, voting rights, violence against women ... there’s no shortage of big, complex issues to tackle, not to mention coursework, internships, and clubs that take up your time. It can get overwhelming! Learn how to use mindfulness meditation to ensure you’re taking care of yourself while simultaneously delivering on commitments you’ve made.

Laugh in the face of uncertainty with us in this fun workshop. You’ll learn how improv can help you become more resilient and empathetic — and less stressed as you navigate the unknown.

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the urgent needs the world has and all the ways you could get involved? Are you jumping at any opportunity to help, at the risk of overcommitting? Unsure about where to start? If this sounds like you, join us.

Led by Adriana DiFazio ’15

Led by Jenny Raymond ’94 and the Funny Girls program of the Harnisch Foundation

Led by Tammy Tibbetts, co-founder & CEO of She’s the First



You’ve got a brilliant idea, and now you need to know how to get it out there ... or maybe you need to have a difficult conversation but you don’t even know where to begin. Take your communication skills to the next level with workshops designed to help you learn how to speak confidently and effectively and use the right platform to reach your audiences.



10.10.2019 | 15 participants

10.21.2019 | 29 participants

Develop the confidence and the skills you need to transform challenging encounters and moments of potential conflict into stronger relationships with peers, family, and those in positions of authority.

The podcast has become an increasingly popular tool for delivering ideas and content in an easily accessible format. As this new medium has been exploding, find out if this is the right platform for you to share your important message or launch your big idea.



Led by Judy Pryor-Ramirez Led by Kat Aaron ’00

MAKE YOUR ASK Learn how to make an ask for help or money that ends in an enthusiastic YES!




1.30.2020 | 20 participants

2.5.2020 | 17 participants

3.5.2020 | 24 participants

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve been negotiating your whole life. We negotiate with our family, friends, teachers, bosses, and colleagues — to name a few. This workshop will introduce you to a wide array of negotiating techniques and provide you with the tools you need to negotiate effectively in various situations.

How do you get others on board with your great idea? How do you recruit your first believers, potential partners, and possible investors? Amy Chen ’10 will show you how to get your ideas to stand out (in front of any audience!) using effective storytelling, strong visuals, and compelling evidence that makes it impossible for your listeners to ignore.

What do you do when you’re working on something and you need some help? Whether it’s money, time, an introduction, or something else, come to this workshop to learn how to ask for help and ensure the only possible answer is YES!

Led by Margaret “Meggie” Palmer, founder of PepTalkHer

Led by Amy Chen ’10, Venture Capital Business Development, Amazon Web Services

Led by Victoria Cuellar ’05

ATHENA CHALLENGES This year, we introduced a new offering: Athena Challenges. In these short-term, hands-on, co-curricular experiences, multidisciplinary teams of Barnard students work on complex problems alongside their peers and with the support of partner organizations, Barnard faculty and staff, and other members of Barnard’s diverse community. Athena Challenges help students navigate ambiguity, get comfortable being uncomfortable, and put ideas into action before they’re absolutely perfect. We were thrilled to be able to host two of our planned challenges before COVID-19 forced a change in plans — and we can’t wait to be back on campus to host additional challenges in 2020-2021. Thank you to our partner organizations and campus partners who helped us bring these experiences to life.

Everyone needs to do one. The Athena Challenge is not only about working or collaborating with others but also about how we frame problems and how we solve them. They connect and relate well with our own positions in society and in New York City, setting us up to be empathetic engagers and ideators outside the classroom.



WHAT'S ON YOUR BANNER? DECEMBER 2019 | 23 PARTICIPANTS Angelou. Anzaldúa. Chang. Hurston. Morrison. Revathi. Shange. Silko. These women and their identities have been traditionally excluded from historical narratives. By putting their names on the most prominent building on campus, in 20192020, the Butler Banner Project, led by Radhika (Rads) Mehta CC ’22 and Augusta (Gustie) Owens ’22, brought their works and legacies the recognition they deserve. In partnership with the Butler Banner Project, we held an engaging conversation with Katherine Maher, CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation, a Wiki edit-a-thon, and a workshop for students interested in tackling the exclusion of women in other spaces.


WHAT'S ON YOUR PLATE? FEBRUARY 2020 | 12 PARTICIPANTS In this weeklong challenge, students developed ideas for sustainable solutions for NYC college students experiencing hunger, with the support of Barnard’s VP of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Ariana González Stokas, and the anti-hunger organization A Place at the Table (APATT), founded by filmmaker Lori Silverbush, chef Tom Colicchio, and media executives Tim Castree and Kristen Castree. Students presented their ideas to a panel that included Colicchio and team, Rose Arce ’86 (producer of Soledad O’Brien’s documentary “Hungry to Learn”), and members of Columbia’s food pantry.

FELLOWSHIPS In 2020, Athena offered the Athena Summer Fellowship, the Williams Program for Women in Politics, and the Silberstein Public Service Internship Fund. The 13 students selected for these prestigious programs developed personal leadership and professional skills and created support networks with other young women in the workforce. In lieu of our weekly Summer Fellowship dinners on campus, we gathered virtually for weekly lunchtime conversations with guests from around the country. These meetups helped connect the fellows with each other, our staff, and our community, while engaging them in meaningful reflection on the rapidly changing world of work.

It was a great experience to have alongside an internship to reflect and discuss our experiences.

THESE FELLOWSHIPS ARE MADE POSSIBLE BY: Marina Weitzner Lewin ’80 Daphne Fodor Philipson ’69 Francene Sussner Rodgers ’67 Constance Hess Williams ’66 Carol Krongold Silberstein ’69 & Alan Silberstein

It was wonderful having a support system in the midst of quarantine.

SCHOLARS PROGRAM The Athena Scholars Program, grounded in the study of women and leadership and complemented by experiential learning, offers students the opportunity to develop and deepen their understanding of their own leadership identity and abilities and engage with a multidisciplinary community of peers committed to leadership development. In spring 2020, 49 Scholars graduated from the program, producing 30 Social Action Projects.



Instructor, Senior Seminar

Instructor, Women & Leadership | Senior Seminar

Skye is a philosopher and author of “Existentialism and Romantic Love” (Palsgrave Macmillan, 2015). Skye 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,” TED-Ed, “Los Angeles Review of Books,” HuffPost, “The Conversation,” Business Insider, “The 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. She has a black belt in taekwondo and loves scuba diving.

Before coming to the Athena Center, Sylvie taught undergraduate sociology courses at Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Columbia, Tufts, and CUNY. She earned her Ph.D. 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 inequality in young adulthood. 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.

PRE-COLLEGE PROGRAM This year, the pandemic required that we reimagine our standard summer offerings. In partnership with our colleagues in Barnard’s Office of Pre-College Programs, we helped build a comprehensive, virtual Young Women’s Leadership Institute (YWLI). Athena’s YWLI series, Leadership In Action (LIA), engaged more than 110 girls around the world in a collaborative effort to develop creative solutions to tough problems. Using design thinking mindsets and what they learned in their core classes, LIA teams created e-zines on topics they care deeply about, from the environment to equity issues to health and wellness.

MALLA HARIDAT, PROGRAM DIRECTOR Malla Haridat is an entrepreneurship coach/strategist. As the founder and CEO of New Designs for Life, Malla is a nationally recognized expert in the specialized field of entrepreneurship education and has trained over 5,000 students. After the birth of her daughter, she created the Mom and Daughters Inc. brand to champion entrepreneurial thinking in young girls. Malla has traveled extensively throughout the United States working in partnership with companies developing creative solutions for entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs. Her company was awarded the New York City Small Business Award of the Year and has been featured in “The New York Times,” “Black Enterprise” magazine, HuffPost, and “Good Day Street Talk.”

ATHENA IN THE TIME OF COVID-19 There’s no question that the pandemic and the resulting shift to virtual learning had a significant impact on Athena’s plans for spring 2020 — but at Athena, challenges are opportunities. We heard students sought community, connection, and escape — and with our pop-up programming, we delivered.






I wish I had known how much talking to people would just make me feel more confident and comfortable with my college experience. I have definitely felt lost and as though I shouldn’t be asking for help, but I am starting to get better at reaching out.



Films drive culture and influence how people feel, think, and perceive the world around them. For too long, the voices and stories of women have been overlooked. Since 2010, Barnard College and Women & Hollywood have worked to redress the gender imbalance in Hollywood, in front of and behind the camera, through the Athena Film Festival.

More than 6,000 filmgoers joined us on Barnard’s beautiful campus for a weekend of films, panels, conversations, and events. We screened 66 films, including 20 NY premieres and 2 world premieres (more than any in our festival’s history) — 84% of them directed by women and gender-nonconforming artists, and 37% by women of color. The 10th anniversary festival was a truly magical experience, one that would not have been possible without our loyal friends and supporters, our founding sponsor the Artemis Rising Foundation and Regina K. Scully, the 300 volunteers who help bring the festival to life, and our 100 organizational partners.


On February 26, we welcomed more than 200 guests, including Gloria Steinem, Greta Gerwig ’06, Paul Feig, Vernā Myers ’82, and Lorraine Toussaint, to Barnard’s campus for our 10th Anniversary Awards Dinner to celebrate our 10 years of impact and the collective power of women.

2020 AWARDEES BEANIE FELDSTEIN EFFIE T. BROWN JENNIFER KAYTIN ROBINSON BREAKTHROUGH AWARD: UNJOO MOON “Stories that beautiful and complex and human can exist when we give the most deserving people the space to create their magic.” BEANIE FELDSTEIN


Along with director and Athena Breakthrough Award Winner Unjoo Moon, over 30 members of the Helen Reddy Fan Club joined us for the New York premiere of “I Am Woman,” a biopic of singer/songwriter Reddy, who wrote the titular song that became an anthem of the 1970s Women’s Liberation Movement.

“I have to tell somebody about what I’m going through ... so I thought, ‘Well, Helen’s out there saying what she thinks, I’ll just write to her and tell her — pour it all out on paper.’ Well, she wrote back.” PRESIDENT OF THE HELEN REDDY FAN CLUB JIM KEATON, ON WHAT REDDY MEANT TO HIM AS A YOUNG GAY MAN GROWING UP IN THE 1970S.

“WE ARE THE RADICAL MONARCHS” We were proud to screen the documentary following the Radical Monarchs, an organization for girls of color in Oakland, California, where they learn about self-love and social justice. Following the screening, we heard from the director, Linda Goldstein-Knowlton, CEO of the Ms. Foundation, Teresa C. Younger, and two educators working in New York City, Dylan Kapit ’16 and Sarah Elrafei ’15 on what it takes to found and sustain social justice organizations and how to build social justice into curriculums for younger children.


“TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM” In this compelling film, Morrison narrates her life and career with the thoughtfulness, care, and humor that only she could provide. After the screening, we engaged in a conversation centered around Morrison’s sentiment “What can I do where I am?” — a question she asked herself working as a publisher at Random House during the Black Power Movement. Barnard professors Yvette Christiansë and Monica L. Miller, CEO of the National Black Theatre, Sade Lythcott, and documentary filmmaker Sekiya Dorsett led this conversation, bringing in their experiences as artists and activists and discussing the connection between the two identities.

This film by Liz Garbus is based on the true story of Mari Gilbert, a woman determined to cut through police bias and stigma to find her missing daughter. We were proud to screen this film to amplify this story and the voices of the women still fighting for justice. Thank you to all members of the filmmaking team who spoke with us after the film and a special thank you to the families and loved ones of the women lost who urged the audience to tell this story and fight for justice.

CLOSING NIGHT “ROCKS” “Rocks” is a story of a young teenage girl who is forced to grow up overnight when she becomes the sole caretaker of her younger brother. In this difficult moment, her friends rally around her, offering support in a truly transformative example of the collective power of girls. Writer Theresa Ikoko joined us for a Q&A following the screening and gave us a behind-thescenes look into the deeply collaborative process that resulted in this film. Ikoko, along with co-writer Claire Wilson, director Sarah Gavron, and producer Faye Ward, worked with the young actresses in the film for almost a year, talking with them, developing community, and building the story.

“I don’t know if it’s a woman thing, but because there weren’t any egos and there wasn’t hierarchy or the patriarchal thing that I think holds the film industry back, it meant that people stepped aside when they thought somebody else could offer something more enriching to the moment.” THERESA IKOKO ON THE PROCESS OF MAKING “ROCKS”

STUDENT SHORT FILM SHOWCASE In partnership with the Sloate Media Center at Barnard, we screened three short films written and directed by Barnard students from the Media Center’s Emerging Filmmaker Mentorship Program. Barnard filmmakers Hannah Ahn ’19, Emma Noelle Buhain ’20, and Iris Sang ’21 joined for a post-screening conversation alongside Athena’s Post-Baccalaureate Fellow Kory Louko ’17 and the Media Center’s Post-Baccalaureate Fellow Ruby Mastrodimos ’18.

PARITY PIPELINE PROGRAM The Athena Parity Pipeline Program builds skills and opportunities for women filmmakers and helps develop women-centric stories into viable projects. We offer panels, workshops, and masterclasses taught by industry professionals, a works-in-progress showcase for documentaries directed by women, and screenwriting labs for emerging women writers in film and television in NYC and LA. Our signature program is the Athena List, an annual slate of screenplays with women leaders that have yet to be made into films. Several Athena List-winning scripts have been developed into films and other projects.


OVER IT Joy Goodwin


NOOR Nijla Mu’min



BELL Dyana Winkler & Darcy Brislin

REDWOOD SUMMER Rangeley Wallace

WORKS-IN-PROGRESS SPONSORED BY SECRET SAUCE MEDIA This year, we revitalized our Works-in-Progress program and were joined by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand, who worked closely with our four filmmakers to advance their projects and materials to prepare them for their pitches. We welcomed a group of industry professionals to hear the filmmakers’ pitches and provide valuable feedback and, in some cases, pledges for direct support to help these filmmakers advance their projects. Many of our Works-in-Progress films have been completed and released, including Dawn Porter’s award-winning “Trapped,” Hillary Bachelder’s “Represent,” and Hannah R. Rosenweig and Wendy Sachs’ “Surge.” We look forward to building on this success!


MAMA GLORIA Luchina Fisher

DRIVER Nesa Azimi

THE FIRE THAT TOOK HER Patricia E. Gillespie

Our Works-in-Progress participants and guests being briefed by Judith Helfand.

“I wrote several drafts of ‘LUCKY 13’ in the front seat of a service van on the way to and from mobile RV repair jobs. Now I go into the world knowing I carry with me a rare badge of honor as the inaugural recipient of a Sloan Development Grant, a calling card that made it possible to elevate my craft beyond anything I ever imagined, with the support of the Athena Film Festival and Barnard College.” DENISE MEYERS

DEVELOPMENT GRANTS This year, for the first time in our history, we awarded development funds to help filmmakers advance their projects. Emerging writers need opportunities and mentorship, but we all know that to make a movie, you need MONEY. We’re so excited we were able to financially support the following creators: The ALFRED P. SLOAN ATHENA LIST DEVELOPMENT GRANT is awarded to an Athena List winner or finalist whose script focuses on a woman in a science-themed project. The inaugural grant of $20,000 was awarded to Denise Meyers for her script “Lucky 13.” In partnership with Netflix, we awarded $25,000 to our BREAKTHROUGH AWARDEE, Unjoo Moon, director of “I Am Woman,” to support her filmmaking endeavors.

A cartoon capturing the script read of “LUCKY 13” during the film festival. Courtesy of Liza Donnelly.



Kathryn Kolbert is the Co-Founder and Producing Director of the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College and served as the Founding Director of the Athena Center from 2009 to 2018. A public-interest attorney, journalist, and executive in the not-forprofit 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 public-interest lawyers “whose vision and commitment are changing lives.”

Melissa Silverstein is the founder and publisher of Women and Hollywood, an initiative and website that educates, advocates, and agitates for gender diversity and inclusion in Hollywood and the global film industry. She is a speaker and consultant with extensive expertise in the area of women and Hollywood. She is the Artistic Director and Co-Founder of the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College, She recently launched the Girls Club, a community for women creatives, culturechangers and storytellers to connect, create, network, advocate, support, and redefine entertainment.

In 1992, Kathryn 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.”

In 2018, Melissa was named to “Variety” magazine’s New York Power list, and in 2016, she received the Marie C. Wilson Emerging Leader Award from the Ms. Foundation for Women. In 2013, she published the first book from Women and Hollywood, “In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing,” which is a compilation of over 40 interviews that have appeared on the site.

Prior to coming to Barnard, she served as the President and CEO of People for the American Way and its Foundation. From 1998-2008, she oversaw a program on law and American life at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center where she was the executive producer of NPR’s Justice Talking. From 1992 to 1997, Kathryn directed domestic litigation and public policy programs for the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she was a co-founder and vice president. Kathryn graduated cum laude from Temple University School of Law, and received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University’s School of Arts and Sciences.

Melissa has written for numerous publications including “The Washington Post,” “The New York Times,” “The Guardian,” “Forbes,” and, and her work has been featured on CNN and the BBC, as well as in “Newsweek,” “Salon,” “Chicago Tribune,” “The Washington Post,” “The New York Times,” and many other publications. She was a contributor to “The Tattooed Girl: The Enigma of Stieg Larsson and the Secrets Behind the Most Compelling Thrillers of Our Time.”

FOUNDING SPONSOR: ARTEMIS RISING FOUNDATION & REGINA K. SCULLY Artemis Rising Foundation is dedicated to supporting media projects that transform our culture and challenge the status quo. Led by founder and CEO Regina K. Scully, the foundation champions powerful stories about some of the most challenging social justice issues of our time — including gender bias, healing, trauma, mental health, addiction, and women’s empowerment. With its focus on human rights, Artemis Rising Foundation has helped produce some of the most impactful documentary films of the past decade, inspiring meaningful policy change to legislation, education, corporate protocol and cultural norms. Films such as “The Invisible War,” “The Hunting Ground,” “Fed Up,” “Miss Representation,” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” address issues such as sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, women’s representation in the media, and pushing back against special interest groups. Working closely with renowned journalists and filmmakers, including Amy Ziering, Katie Couric, Kirby Dick, Morgan Neville, Ross Kauffman, and Freida Lee Mock, Artemis Rising Foundation has supported over 100 films, many of which have received Peabody, Emmy and Academy Awards. In addition to documentaries, Artemis Rising Foundation supports a variety of projects that include narrative film, television, theater, education, and social programs.


UMBREEN BHATTI ’00 | CONSTANCE HESS WILLIAMS ’66 DIRECTOR Umbreen returned to the College in spring 2019 with a wealth of experience in media, law, and nonprofit management. Most recently, she served as director of the innovation lab at KQED, the Bay Area’s NPR and PBS station. Umbreen 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, Umbreen 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 and taught law students as an adjunct professor.

VICTORIA GORDON | CHIEF OF STAFF Victoria oversees the day-to-day operations of the Center and provides critical fundraising and management support to the Athena Film Festival team. Victoria sits on the Operations and Management Group of the College and the Joint Faculty and Administrators' Benefits Committee. Victoria has more than 10 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. Victoria holds an MSc in democracy and comparative politics from University College London and graduated with honors and an M.A. in international relations from the University of St. Andrews.

SARIT ABRAMOWICZ | ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR OF STUDENT PROGRAMS Sarit oversees the Athena Scholars Program, the Athena Digital Design Agency, Summer Fellowships, and all other student-related initiatives. Prior to this role, she also supported the management of Entrepreneurs@Athena, where she worked with the student-run business, Athena Digital Design Agency (ADDA), promoted the Athena Pledge, and assisted with the Mastermind program. Before working with the Athena Center, Sarit 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. Sarit has a master’s degree in international education from New York University and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics & law and Spanish from Binghamton University.

ERIKA GUZMAN | STUDENT PROGRAMS ADMINISTRATOR Erika ensures the effective and efficient operation of Student Programs run by the Center, helping to develop, implement, and plan student programs, manage the student programs budget, and oversee consultant contracting. Erika is experienced 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. Since joining Athena in 2015, Erika’s passion for women’s leadership has only grown and is strengthened every day through her interactions with the broad network of students the Center serves. Erika holds a B.A. in culture and deviance studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and an M.S. in organizational leadership from Lehman College.

ALISA TCHERNIGOVA | SENIOR PROGRAMS ASSISTANT Alisa has been working in higher education since 2013 in various administrative roles. She believes that there is a strong need for more women in leadership as well as a basic understanding of what leadership means and looks like. The Athena Center embodies this idea while actively empowering women, which is why she came to work at the Center. Alisa graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in psychology from Lehman College and is a member of the Golden Key Honor Society; Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology; and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Alisa also has an M.S. in organizational leadership from Manhattan College. She hopes to use this degree to help other women realize their potential while expanding on her own.

KRISTIN MOLLOY | OPERATIONS MANAGER FOR THE ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL Kristin 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. Kristin has also produced live concerts and worked on independent TV pilots. Kristin received a B.A. in culture and media studies from Eugene Lang College of Liberal Arts at The New School.

KORY LOUKO ’17 | POST-BACCALAUREATE FELLOW FOR THE ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL Kory 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 for the event. Kory is a New York-based writer, director, and comedian. She’s from a small farm town in Massachusetts that is adjacent to a town with the smartest lesbians in the U.S. 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” and surviving multiple open-mic performances where men talk about pregnancy as a way to punish their wives (seriously). 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.

OPAL H. BENNETT | SENIOR PROGRAMMER FOR THE ATHENA FILM FESTIVAL Opal is responsible for curating the Athena Film Festival’s program of feature-length and short films. After several years in legal practice, Opal 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, Opal holds a master’s degree in media studies from the LSE and received her B.A. from New York University.


Our success would not be possible without the generous support of our donors, the wisdom of our advisors, and the dedication of our staff and our community. 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 ’66 for her decision in 2011 to endow the Directorship. 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 us their time and expertise, serving as thought partners, mentors, and film festival volunteers, and connecting with our students 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 enters its next chapter, your strategic advice is crucial, and your enthusiasm is contagious. 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.

THE FOUNDING DONORS OF THE ATHENA CENTER FOR LEADERSHIP Francene Sussner Rodgers ’67 Constance Hess Williams ’66 Lucille Zanghi and James Dow P ’10 FOR THE ENDOWMENT OF THE CONSTANCE HESS WILLIAMS ’66 DIRECTORSHIP OF THE ATHENA CENTER Constance Hess Williams ’66 ENDOWMENT GIFTS Barnard Initiative for Women in Leadership Endowed Fund (Lucille Zanghi and James Dow P'10) Marina Weitzner Lewin ’80 Internship Fund Patricia Harrigan Nadosy '68 and Peter A. Nadosy The Daphne Fodor Philipson ’69 Fund for Women’s Leadership Francene Rodgers ’67 Athena Fellowship Program Carol Krongold Silberstein ’69 and Alan Silberstein Public Service Internship Fund Constance Hess Williams ʼ66 Fund for Political Internships

THE FOUNDING DONORS OF THE FINANCIAL FLUENCY PROGRAM Laird Grant Groody ’67 Patricia Harrigan Nadosy ’68 Mollie Rosenthal Memorial Fund Susan Weber ’77 FOR THE ENDOWMENT OF AN ATHENA CENTER DIRECTORSHIP Amy Crate '94 and Darrell Crate



Jyoti Menon ’01 (Co-Chair) Claire Newman (Co-Chair) Jennifer Allyn P ’20 Leila Ardehali ’18 Beth Bloomfield ’73 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 Patricia Harrigan Nadosy ’68 Lida Orzeck ’68 Daphne Fodor Philipson ’69 Gale Picker Francene Sussner Rodgers ’67 Ariella Salimpour ’17 Martha Scodro P ’14 Robyn Price Stonehill Marissa Wesely Dr. Margaret Withgott ’76 Lucille Zanghi P ’10 Jacki Zehner P ’22 Anonymous

Belinda Archibong Assistant Professor of Economics

ATHENA CENTER GENERAL SUPPORT Leila Ardehali ’18 Jane D. Coleman ’64 Linda Colfax P ’23 Amy Crate '94 and Darrell Crate Caitlin Guy ’10 Ruth Owens Hanrahan ’74 Martha Levin ’74 Barbara Smith The Tuttleman Foundation

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 Senior Lecturer in Art History, Co-Chair and Director of Visual Arts David Weiman Alena Wels Hirschorn ’58 Professor of Economics, Dean for Faculty Diversity and Development Paige West Professor of Anthropology STUDENT ADVISORY BOARD Shambhavi Chadha ’20 Linda Chen ’23 Sabrina Farahani ’20 Sophia Houdaigui ’21 Julia Hyman ’22 Annabel Kelly ’22 Zakiya Lakha ’21 Flosha Liyana ’21 Madeleine Morales ’22 Dipashreya Sur ’23 Yunxiao Cherrie Zheng ’21





JJ Abrams P ’22 Loreen Arbus Ann Kaplan Glori Cohen P ’14 Elizabeth Cuthrell P ’20 Abigail E. Disney and Pierre N. Hauser Barbara Dobkin P ’92 Wendy Ettinger Joan Fallon Jan Lisa Huttner Katie McGrath P ’22 Sheila Nevins '60 Lida Orzeck ’68 Nicole Page Helen Diana (Heidi) Reavis Christine Schantz Nancy Stephens Jenny Warburg Lan Yang P '23 Jacki Zehner P '23

Syeda Anjum '21 Eugenia Baek '23 Jasmin Butler '22 Cindy Espinosa '22 Lia Ma '23 Zakiya Lakha '21 Mia Tuchman '22 Mae Viccica '21

Artemis Rising Foundation PREMIERE SPONSOR Alfred P. Sloan Foundation PLATINUM SPONSOR Netflix GOLD SPONSORS Dobkin Family Foundation Hanky Panky Secret Sauce Media Twitter Whitewater Films Walt Disney Studios SILVER SPONSORS

GOVERNMENT FUNDING Attitude NY The Fledgling Fund Lifetime Open Society Foundations Reavis Page Jump LLP BRONZE SPONSORS Adrienne Shelly Foundation FF2 Media National Institute for Reproductive Health New York Women’s Foundation Stephens College Valhalla Entertainment FESTIVAL CO-CHAIRS J.J. Abrams P ’22 Amma Asante Julie Parker Benello ’92 Debra Martin Chase Geralyn Dreyfous Paul Feig Sherry Lansing Kasi Lemmons Jon Levin Katie McGrath P ’22 Pat Mitchell Vernā Myers '82 Sheila Nevins ’60 Gina Prince-Bythewood Susan Rovner ’91 Regina K. Scully Rachel Weisz

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. 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. GENERAL GIFTS Lauren Sanders '87

IN KIND SUPPORTERS Boxed Water Darrell Lea Real Twists DSWS LUNA New York Distilling Company Pret A Manger SmashMallow Stella Artois The Lowell

WOMEN OF THE VINE PARTNERSHIP BuzzBallz Cocktails J Vineyards LaMarca Prosecco Square One Organic Spirits Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey

ANNUAL REPORT | AY 2019-2020


BARNARD COLLEGE | @barnardathenacenter

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