Athena Alliance and OpenView Join Forces to Put More Women on Boards
Athena Alliance, an organization dedicated to advancing gender diversity in the boardroom, today announced that OpenView is now a Founder Level sponsor and has committed to raising more than $500,000 for growth and expansion. OpenView Founder and Managing Partner Scott Maxwell has also joined the Athena Alliance board of directors, where he will help further the organization’s mission to enhance the intimate network of boards and make introductions for companies and women ready for board service.
A recent OpenView survey of more than 300 software companies found that 71 percent of all those surveyed have no female board members. Only 4 percent of those surveyed have parity between men and women on their boards, and just 12 percent have full parity between men and women within their leadership ranks (director-level and above). The mission of the Athena Alliance is to shift the balance of leadership toward gender parity by working closely with CEOs and board members to solve one of the biggest challenges facing boardroom diversity – making the right connections at the right time.
Scott Maxwell, OpenView founder and managing partner, said, “OpenView is proud to partner with the Athena Alliance to help create gender parity on private company boards and across all facets of the technology ecosystem. We believe, and studies have shown, that when the diversity of a company increases, so too does that company’s overall success. Today’s announcement marks the continued efforts of our firm to put meaningful resources into the hands of our portfolio companies to help address a significant issue.”
In just over a year’s time, Athena Alliance has supported more than 30 public and private company boards across the U.S. in their director selection process. Six companies have brought Athena women onto their boards, including Forrester, MobileIron, Banner Bank, Axon, DoubleDutch and Jitterbit. Athena Alliance has put forward more than 150 women board candidates and secured more than 60 first interviews, many resulting in multiple interviews with board directors and CEOs. In addition, Athena Alliance serves as a well-connected resource, with exclusive networking events for CEOs and startup founders looking to enhance their leadership teams and strategic partnerships.
Zack Rosen, CEO of Pantheon, an OpenView portfolio company, said, “Athena Alliance attracts a very impressive cross section of executives across many domains such as CEOs, board members and functional leaders. Everyone I’ve met was a rare talent, and I simply would not have made the connections I made at any other networking events or meet ups I’ve attended.”
OpenView joins other Founder Level sponsors – such as Autodesk, Intuit, DLA Piper and Deloitte – in funding Athena Alliance’s efforts, which accelerate the pace of change toward gender balance in the boardroom. Athena Alliance will use the funds to expand into the Northeast, with OpenView serving as its hub in Boston. OpenView also has opened its portfolio to Athena globally, making key introductions in support of diversifying executive and board leadership.
Coco Brown, founder and CEO of Athena Alliance, said, “When it comes to women’s representation at the board and C-suite level, it’s not enough to vow to change or to sign a pledge. You have to be compelled to act – not by others, but by your own knowledge that diversity delivers greater business success. OpenView’s commitment to action is clear – only four short months we’ve made 54 introductions to OpenView portfolio CEOs, 26 of which have resulted in meaningful discussions.”
Athena Alliance supports women in their last-mile efforts for board appointments, amplifying and sharing their unique and relevant value. Athena Alliance has a network of more than 500 top female executives, 100 of whom are members who receive access to board service preparation and board selection readiness. Athena Alliance has a tailored, one-on-one approach for its membership, offering a complete range of services, from executive coaching around presence, presentation and story, to workshops including board simulations, board bio development, personal PR and media strategy, and more.
To kick off Athena Alliance’s northeast presence, they will be co-hosting an event with OpenView on November 7 at the venture firm’s Boston office. Interested parties can register here.
About Athena Alliance
Athena Alliance is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing gender diversity in the boardroom by extending board networks across a range of industries and executives. Empowering women to contribute at their highest level of impact, Athena Alliance has a network of more than 800 C-level women, venture capitalists and CEOs from more than 100 companies. Sponsors include Accenture, Autodesk, Intuit, OpenView Venture Partners and others. Founded in 2016, Athena Alliance is headquartered in Half Moon Bay, Calif. For more information, visit http://athenaalliance.org.
OpenView, the expansion stage venture firm, helps build software companies into market leaders. Through our Expansion Platform, we help companies hire the best talent, acquire and retain the right customers and partner with industry leaders so they can dominate their markets. Our focus on the expansion stage makes us uniquely suited to provide truly tailored operational support to our portfolio companies. Learn more about OpenView at openviewpartners.local.