The Athena Center for Leadership Studies Presents Spring 2016 Leadership Labs

A low-pressure, high return conversation with leading experts who will sharpen your skills and hone your passions.

The Labs and Living Room Chats are free and open to all Barnard students.  Based on our AthenaCORE10, they are unique to Barnard and gives students an edge for success.  


Click on the link below to secure your spot! We will send a confirmation email and reminders. 

For more information, contact



This spring, the Athena Center is offering a special four-part series Running For Yourself: developed by Athena Distinguished Fellow and founder of the White House Project, Marie C. Wilson.  You can take one or all of the sessions.  We have also added three Living Room Chats at the Athena Center offices in the Vagelos Alumnae Center which allow students to meet with distinguished women from across New York in an informal setting.


Running for Yourself: Introductory Session

Geraldine Ferraro: Paving the Way: A Film Screening and Living Room Chat with Marie Wilson


View an important documentary chronicling the life and political career of Geraldine Ferraro; the first female vice presidential candidate in American history.  The screening will be followed by an intimate chat with Athena Distinguished Fellow, founder of The White House Project, and close friend of “Gerry”, Marie C. Wilson.  Come reflect on the work, vision, and journey of a journalist, author, businesswoman, and Congresswoman. This is a powerful introductory session to the Running For Yourself series presented at Leadership Labs (Spring 2016).

Date: Tuesday, February 2, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Living Room, The Athena Center


Keep Your $20's in Your 20's with Galia Gichon

Are you looking to learn how to make smart financial decisions but don't know how to start?   Come to this two-hour workshop to learn the basics of money management—sound tips and tactics for saving your money and the knowledge, tools, and good habits needed to make educated and responsible financial decisions for your 20s, 30s and beyond! 

Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 504 Diana Center, Barnard  

Galia Gichon is an independent personal financial expert with over 18 years' experience in financial services, including nearly 10 years on Wall Street and an MBA in Finance. She is the Founder of “Down to Earth Finance” which offers individual sessions and seminars to address personal financial needs and concerns and the author of My Money Matters, a boxed set of financial cards with money affirmations, instant money tips and workbooks. In addition to being a Leadership Lab instructor, Galia has spoken at Pennsylvania, Texas, and Massachusetts Governors’ Conferences for Women, and is a frequent speaker at Freelancers Union. Before starting her own company, Galia worked at Bear Stearns, Nomura Securities, and Institutional Investor.


The Keys to Courageous and Confident Leadership with Jane Shure & Beth Weinstock

Habitual patterns of self-criticism and self-doubt can undermine your ability to act assertively and manage challenging moments. Learn strategies to strengthen your resilience, your ability to bounce back from disappointments, move past what isn’t working, take the next risk, and make difficult decisions. 

Date: Thursday, February 4, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 504 Diana Center, Barnard

Jane Shure, PhD, LCSW & Beth Weinstock, PhD, principals of The Resilience Group, have been promoting growth and change in individuals, groups and organizations for over thirty-five years. They are highly skilled in helping people harness strengths, activate motivation, expand perception and fortify relationships. Beth and Jane work with diverse client systems including universities, corporations, non-profits, law firms and a myriad of healthcare and educational institutions. They are on faculty of the Kripalu Center in Stockbridge, MA, write for the Huffington Post, and have authored books and articles.


Running for Yourself: Workshop 2

How to Spark Change and Generate Impact with Erin Vilardi

In the second session of the “Running For Yourself” series--Whether you are a candidate for office, up for your first job or competing for acceptance in the latest incubator, you need to know how to campaign for yourself. This workshop will take the best skills, tips, and tactics from political life to help you craft a plan to lead and a strategy to win. From how to resource your dreams, speak with conviction and authority, and understand the "politics" of your profession, this intensive session will be worthwhile to anyone ready to run for themselves. 

Date: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 504 Diana Center, Barnard

Erin Vilardi is the Founder and Director of VoteRunLead, a national organization leveraging technology and training to accelerate the number of women in civic and political leadership. She first launched VRL as Vice President of Program and Communications at The White House Project, establishing the largest national political training program readying women for public office and civic life, training over 15,000 women. She has served as a Leadership Development Consultant for a range of clients, including the Yahoo! Business and Human Rights division and Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she co-developed the Athena CORE10©.


Living Room Chat with My Chi To

Mi Chi To, a member of the Athena Leadership Council is a Rhodes Scholar, currently practicing law at Debevoise and Plimpton.  In this informal setting, come meet My Chi and learn her secrets of success and her passion for the advancement of women into leadership.

Date: Thursday, February 11, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Living Room, The Athena Center


Running for Yourself: Workshop 3

Hard-Earned Leadership Lessons with Tiffany Dufu

In the third session of Running For Yourself, learn how skills from running NGOs and other projects – understanding stakeholders, getting buy-in, dealing with resistance, communicating – can make you an adaptive and successful leader in the corporate or NGO worlds.  This session will jumpstart your ability to avoid obstacles and pitfalls as an emerging leader.

Date: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 504 Diana Center, Barnard

Tiffany Dufu is Chief Leadership Officer to Levo, the fastest growing network for millennial women professionals. She is also Launch Team member to Lean In and is former President of the White House Project. As a catalyst-at-large in the world of women, she was included in Fast Company’s League of Extraordinary Women and has been featured in The New York Times, The Seattle Times, and on NPR and Bloomberg. Tiffany is a widely sought after speaker and has presented at Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Summit, TEDWomen and MAKERS. Her forthcoming book, DROP THE BALL: How Women Can Achieve More by Doing Less, will be published by Flatiron/MacMillan in February 2017.    


Convince Me: Speak Persuasively and With Authority with Nancy Goldman

Learn to identify and practice verbal and non-verbal techniques that enhance any presentation and allow you to take center stage when needed.  Learn to organize your arguments and evidence and speak persuasively and with authority.  By the end of this highly participatory workshop, you will be able to command the room and communicate with the confidence of an effective leader.

Date: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 502 Diana Center, Barnard

Nancy Goldman, Ed.D, combines her experience working with student and industry leaders to identify and harness their experiences into compelling narratives for job searches, in corporate boardrooms, and in classrooms. Dr. Goldman is an adjunct professor of communications at Manhattan College, trains low-income New Yorkers to work in film and television, and coaches producers and comedians to advance their careers. Dr. Goldman uses storytelling and creativity to foster clarity, connection and change.


Running for Yourself: Workshop 4

Funding Your Big Idea with Stephanie Berger

The final installment of the Running For Yourself series. If you plan to work in an NGO, start your own business, or be part of the political or financial world then becoming an effective fundraiser is key. In this workshop, you will learn and practice proven fundraising techniques garnered from notable political campaigns and advocacy, gain a better understanding of how fundraising skills can improve your organization’s chance of success, and discover how these skills can enhance your success as a leader.

Date: Monday, February 22, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 504 Diana Center, Barnard

Stephanie Berger has risen to the highest ranks of the public policy arena, on both the political fundraising and advocacy fronts as a veteran of three presidential campaigns; including serving as Co-Finance Director of John Kerry's 2004 Presidential Campaign. Stephanie is an expert teacher and trainer in the field of fundraising and non-profit development, with a passion for leadership and the empowerment of women. She has developed successful strategies for numerous political candidates and advocacy organizations, helped to elect public officials nationwide, and elevated public awareness of progressive issues. She offers clients comprehensive yet precise strategies for effectively increasing their financial capital and raising public awareness of their causes. She is dedicated to leaving her clients with the know-how and the permanent infrastructure required to fundraise over the long-term.


Tap the Power of Storytelling with MariCarmen Sierra

Storytelling is a powerful tool for students, job seekers, and professionals when networking, marketing your skills to potential employers, and leading others.  A great story connects leaders with their audience, empowers and motivates both the listener and story-teller.  In this workshop, you’ll learn how to create inspiring narratives and deliver them in authentic ways. 

Date: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 504 Diana Center, Barnard  


Financial Fluency 101: A Beginners Guide to Personal Finance with Andrea Davila ‘04

Although Barnard women are smart, capable, and competent, many of us may find ourselves in a financial pickle at some point in our lives.  In this workshop, we'll examine the common financial difficulties that result from living in a city as great—and costly—as New York. Learn strategies to live within your means, save for your future, and most importantly, accomplish your dreams and still have fun. 

Date: Thursday, February 25, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 504 Diana Center

Andrea Davila works at a social entrepreneurship fund, supporting social innovators in scaling promising ideas for big, bold change. She has been teaching financial education workshops throughout New York City since 2004.


Living Room Chat With Bina Kalola ‘91

Join Bina Kalola, attorney and Athena Center Leadership Council member, in The Athena Living Room as she shares the skills she honed managing the global strategic investments portfolios for Merrill Lynch.

Date: Monday, February 29, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Living Room, The Athena Center


Design Thinking 101 with Carson Linforth Bowley

A friendly, interactive crash course in human-centered design. Learn about the cognitive activities and tools that are taking the innovation and entrepreneurial space by storm. The fundamental goal of the class is to cultivate the creative, synthetic, and divergent thinking that is the hallmark of innovative leadership. 

Date: Tuesday, March 1, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 504 Diana Center, Barnard

Carson Linforth Bowley is a designer, creative director, and artist specializing in rapid prototyping for innovation. He serves as Master Designer at Factory, a boutique innovation agency in San Francisco, where he has supported executive teams from dozens of clients including Nike, GE and Cisco to synthesize and manifest their emergent product visions. Carson also leads rapid prototyping workshops in the developing world, applying human-centered design to humanitarian challenges in partnership with and the MIT Media Lab. He lives in a redwood grove outside of San Francisco and loves travel, music and Nature.


Discover Your Entrepreneurial Spirit with Jeanne Sullivan  

Entrepreneurial spirit, one of the Athena CORE10 Leadership attributes, is key to success when creating any big or small project whether you are in an NGO, business, or setting up your own company.  Come learn how to create and effectively communicate your idea and then make it happen from a woman with a long history of fueling and funding women entrepreneurs and helping women know what they need to know to be successful.  

Date: Wednesday, March 2, 2016 Time: 6:30pm–8:30pm Location: Room 504 Diana Center, Barnard

Jeanne Sullivan is a 2014 Athena Distinguished Fellow, entrepreneur, and Co-Founder of StarVest Partners, a venture capital firm created in 1998. Sullivan has over 23 years of venture capital experience and has spent 30 years in the technology sector, operating and investing in technology companies. Over the years, Sullivan has honed her trade creating “go to market” plans for early and expansion stage companies, while also participating in philanthropy. She has served as an advisor for many women-focused organizations that work to “fund and fuel” women entrepreneurs and is on the Global Board of Trustees of Astia, an organization that empowers high growth women entrepreneurs.




 Barnard College students can register for up to four (4) workshops a semester by clicking the workshop title/link.

This will take you to Eventbrite, an online registration system.

We recommend registering for Eventbrite for easy usage.

View Past Workshops by Date HERE.



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