The Athena Leadership Council is a group of dynamic changemakers, recognized for their influence and accomplishments in business, law, medicine, government, NGOs, and beyond. Leadership Council members are advisors to Athena’s Director and benefit from close connections to students and the Athena community. Council members share a deep commitment to the advancement of a bold new vision of women’s leadership, and their support provides the financial resources that allow our Center to thrive. To learn more about the Council, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Rochelle Cooper ’84, Co-Chair
Dr. Rochelle Cooper is the Founder and CEO of Success Leaders, an Executive Coaching and Leadership Development firm that focuses on building global senior leader strength and creating high performance teams. Dr. Cooper has spent over twenty years advising and coaching leaders and teams to achieve success in their roles, having coached over 850 leaders, trained over 2000 executives, run over 500 team sessions, and designed and delivered over 200 leadership training programs. Previously, Dr. Cooper worked at JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch and Bell Labs in Talent Management and Organizational Development. She has been on the faculty of Hofstra University’s Frank Zarb School of Business, where she has taught Executive Leadership Skills in the executive and traditional MBA programs for the last 14 years. Dr. Cooper has published articles in several leadership journals, and holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. She is currently a member of the HANC Board of Education and has been board president for several community non-profit organizations.
Claire Newman, Co-Chair
Claire Newman spent fourteen years in the financial services industry with FBR Capital Markets where she held a variety of leadership positions, including a seven-year tenure as Director of Institutional Sales. Prior to joining FBR, she worked at the Department of Justice and from 1989-1991 served in the Peace Corps. For several years, Newman and her family lived in Brussels, Belgium, and today she continues to serve on the foundation board for the International School of Brussels. Newman currently resides in Dallas, Texas. She holds her undergraduate degree from Harvard College.
Pooja Badlani '01
Pooja Badlani is a Senior Director of Product Development at Gartner (formerly L2, inc), where she works alongside engineers, data scientists and research teams to build products and data analysis tools to meet user and client needs. With over 15 years of experience designing websites and developing apps and algorithms, Pooja leads a product team focused on helping researchers and analysts explore and analyze marketing data to build stories and benchmarks around B2B and B2C brands. She currently serves as a Male Allyship Advisor on the Board of Women at Gartner working to raise awareness about the implicit challenges that women face in business. Prior to Gartner, Pooja was the Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Rank & Style (acquired in 2016), a start-up that uses an algorithm to create data-driven rankings of the best fashion and beauty products to simplify the way women shop online. She also previously served as a Visiting Instructor at Pratt Institute teaching Interactive Design to undergraduates. Pooja graduated with a B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and a M.S. from Pratt Institute. In 2014, she was named one of the '100 Most Creative People in Business' by Fast Company.
Caitlin Brown '91
Caitlin moved to San Francisco nearly three decades ago. With her husband Tom Brown CC’92, she raised two daughters and built an angel investment portfolio of some thirty companies. She has focused on funding technologies that increase access to and lower the cost of financial services, particularly for traditionally disadvantaged groups and women. She has invested in companies such as Upstart, Digit, Ramp, and Unit. She is also an avid runner and completed her first ultra marathon during the pandemic. Today she divides her time between San Francisco and Saint Helena in northern Napa Valley.
Gabrielle Ferrara '12
Gabrielle Ferrara is a Barnard Athena Scholar alumna. She founded the Barnard Entrepreneur Club as an undergraduate, which remains an active and vibrant force on campus. As one of the youngest managers at Dow Jones, Ferrara led a team of ten employees in the emerging field of programmatic advertising technology. She has recently moved to Rubicon Project to serve as Senior Manager of strategic publisher accounts. Gabrielle serves as a company representative for Advertising Women of New York (AWNY) and is invited as guest speaker and panelist on programmatic advertising topics. Maintaining active ties with the entrepreneurial community, she serves as an ad-tech subject matter expert to the CFDA and the NYU/Stern Entrepreneurship program. Ferrara is also an advisor to several startups, including Tommy John, Lolly Wolly Doodle, and the Run Through. She is an active mentor alumna for Barnard students interested in entrepreneurship and advertising technology.
Julianna Goldman '03
Julianna Goldman is an award-winning multimedia journalist, with a 15+ year career as a CBS News Correspondent and as a White House Correspondent for Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Television. She is also the founder of MamaDen, a wellness and togetherness space for mothers. Based in Washington, D.C., Goldman is a member of the Board of Trustees at Imagination Stage, a non-profit children’s theatre in Bethesda, Maryland. She graduated magna cum laude from Barnard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science.
Patricia Hong is currently a Managing Director and Partner at Alvarez & Marsal, where she is building a Consumer and Retail consulting practice. Prior to A&M she was at Kearney, for almost 20 years. At Kearney, Patricia was Head of their New York Office and led the Luxury, Beauty & Personal Care Sector for the Americas. Patricia spends time advising CEOs, Brand Presidents and other business partners in core transformation program spanning from how to operate in new markets, address changing consumer landscapes, operate in sustainable innovative ways. Patricia is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She has an MBA from CBS, class of 2003. She lives on Riverside Drive a few blocks away from campus with her 9-year old daughter Isabella and their puppy, Daisy.
Bronwyn Hughes '87
Bronwyn Hughes studied economics at Barnard College and International Affairs at John Hopkins University. She joined the Peace Corps and served in the Foreign Service before settling in a small town on the Chesapeake Bay to raise her daughter and build her Certified Public Accounting practice. Bronwyn founded two successful nonprofits and currently serves on the board of Richmond's BridgePark Foundation and as a Trustee of the Madeira School. When her daughter left for Swarthmore College during the pandemic, Bronwyn went back to school herself for an MFA in creative writing. To date, she has published five short stories in literary journals. She and her partner enjoy restoring their 1929 cabin cruiser and boating on the many creeks and rivers of Tidewater Virginia.
Inna (Nazarova) Jackson ‘99
Inna N. Jackson is a Managing Associate General Counsel at HSBC, where she leads the US Transaction Banking and Wholesale Lending legal team, focused on transforming customer and employee experiences through integrated offerings, strategic alliances and digitization. Prior to HSBC, Inna spent 9 years at American Express, where she enabled numerous strategic partnerships and product launches with tech giants and was a key thought leader in the development and evolution of data strategy. Prior to Amex, Inna spent 7 years in private practice as an M&A lawyer with a focus on Latin America. Inna graduated from Fordham University Law School, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the International Law Journal. Inna’s Barnard degree is in Comparative Literature with a focus on English, Russian and Italian. Inna is an advisor and a mentor at Startupbootcamp Fintech, an accelerator for FinTech start-ups, and a member of CHIEF, a private women’s network. Inna currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and three daughters.
Kiran Jain '98
Kiran Jain is the General Counsel for Replica, a privacy-first enterprise data platform for the built environment. She has advised venture-backed technology companies and local governments on cutting edge legal and public policy issues including municipal finance, real-time curb management, broadband deployment and community-owned microgrids. She currently serves on the State of California's Green Bond Development Committee and lectures on innovation, strategy & leadership at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy. Kiran is the former Chief Resilience Officer for the City of Oakland where she focused on the intersection of equity and civic design in deepening resilient communities and the infrastructure they rely on to live, work and play. During her tenure, she co-founded the Civic Design Lab and the Oakland Fund for Public Innovation. She also served as a senior deputy city attorney focusing on land use, urban redevelopment and municipal law. Kiran has a J.D. from Georgetown University, a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University and an A.B. in economics from Barnard College.
Julie (Malyn) Melwani '09
Julie Melwani is an HR Business Partner at Bank Leumi where she is the lead for human capital strategies for the Private Banking, Operations and Technology divisions. Prior to Bank Leumi, Julie held various HR positions at Barclays and JP Morgan Chase. Julie has served in various leadership roles as a student and alumna including the President of the McIntosh Activities Council (McAC) and chair of the Young Alumnae Committee of the Alumnae Association. She is currently pursuing her Executive Masters in Human Resource Management from Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School.
Jennifer Perusini ’10
Dr. Jennifer Perusini, a neuroscientist and entrepreneur, is the Founder and CEO of Neurovation Labs. Jennifer’s doctoral work forms the basis of the company’s pioneering research, which made the groundbreaking discovery that there is a physiological component to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that can be targeted to both diagnose and treat the disorder. Jennifer and her team have developed a patent-pending detection method and are currently creating a companion treatment for PTSD. Jennifer earned her B.A. in Neuroscience & Behavior at Barnard College, Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied the mechanisms underlying PTSD in an animal model. She completed her post-doctoral fellowship, which focused on rodent models of aging and Alzheimer’s disease, at Columbia University in the Departments of Psychiatry and Integrative Neuroscience. Jennifer is on the Board of Directors of both Women in Learning (WIL), a nationwide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and advancement of women in science, and PTSD Recovery Foundation of America, a nationwide 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports PTSD wellness and research. In 2020, Jennifer received the Barnard College Young Alumna Award for her career in PTSD healthcare; she was recently named Chair of the Barnard Entrepreneurs Network (BEnet), an alumnae organization that supports entrepreneurs at all business stages across and within all industries.
Daphne Fodor Philipson ’69
Daphne Fodor Philipson retired as a partner at the private equity firm of E. M. Warburg Pincus, where she focused on investor relations. A Certified Public Accountant, she also holds an MBA from Columbia. Philipson is a Board Emerita for the Hudson Peconic Board of Planned Parenthood and a member of the Leadership Council of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Philipson currently serves on the Barnard Fund Committee and has served on the Fellowship and Leadership Assembly Committees. In 2009, Philipson received the Award for Service to Barnard. In 2015, she received the Columbia University Alumni Medal for Distinguished Service.
Sunita Rampersad-Jaffrey ’89
Sunita Jaffrey is a former Staff Attorney at Sanctuary for Families focusing on matrimonial, custody, and immigration cases under the Violence Against Women Act on behalf of underserved clients fleeing gender-based violence. She is an active member of the Legal Advisory Council and Sanctuary’s Board of Directors. Sunita is also the former Founder and CEO of Zipidee! Corp., an ecommerce venture. She is passionate about women’s issues and hopes to make an impact in preserving social justice and opportunity for those most vulnerable. She is a member of several community-based organizations in NJ, where she currently resides with her family.
Jenny Raymond ’93
Jenny Raymond is the Executive Director of the Harnisch Foundation, advancing intersectional equity through grantmaking, strategic partnerships, and storytelling. With over two decades of building relationships, she is known as a connector in the philanthropic domain. Jenny currently directs “Funny Girls,” a ground-breaking program she developed teaching leadership skills through improv to young students. A graduate of the first class of Columbia/Barnard Joint Program with The Juilliard School in 1993, Jenny additionally served on the oboe faculty at the Manhattan School of Music.
Ariella Salimpour '17
Ariella Salimpour is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at thumbroll. Ariella created thumbroll with her sister Gabriella Salimpour ’20 as a platform to bring best practices to students of medicine worldwide. thumbroll provides visual tutorials for various medical procedures that can be viewed at the user's own pace by 'rolling' through the content step-by-step. In teaching medical procedures, a thumbroll captures the beginning, the end, and everything in-between. The better trained our healthcare professions, the better treated we will be as patients and the healthier our communities will be as a result.
Eva Helene Yazhari ’06
Eva Yazhari is an investor and entrepreneur who brings meaning, purpose and consciousness to her work and life. Eva is a CEO with 15 years of experience working in the venture capital and asset management industries. She is currently Co-Founder and CEO of Beyond Capital Fund (“Beyond Capital”) an early stage impact investment fund that improves the lives of 4.1 million women and families living under the poverty line with its seed investments. The fund has a 27% realized IRR. Eva is a pioneer in the field of impact investing – she was recently interviewed on goop.com. Eva is also the co-host of the Beyond Capital Podcast. She speaks to audiences about the Power of Impact Investing, in addition to being a panelist at numerous family office conferences as well as SOCAP and the Skoll World Forum. Eva has served as a judge and mentor for accelerators and business plan competitions, including the Global Social Benefit Incubator and the Echoing Green fellowship. She brings to the table the unique understanding of both the investor’s and the entrepreneur’s challenges and needs. Eva’s interests outside her professional work, are mostly creative and related to wellbeing. She is a certified yoga instructor, art collector and has an affinity for architecture and design. Eva graduated from Barnard College, Columbia University with a B.A. in Mathematics, and has completed Executive Education at the Harvard Business School. She has completed a certificate in Blockchain Technologies: Business Innovation and Application at MIT Sloan. Eva lives in Dallas, TX with her family and travels often to Los Angeles, London and Zurich.
Jacki Zehner P ’23
Jacki Zehner dedicates her time and resources towards the advancement of women and girls. She believes that a more gender-egalitarian world is a more just world for all, and she serves in a variety of roles to further this vision. In 1996, Jacki became the youngest woman and first female trader to be invited into the partnership of Goldman Sachs. In 2002, she became a founding partner of Circle Financial Group, a private wealth management organization consisting of a small number of women committed to managing their families’ assets and philanthropic undertakings. In 2012, Jacki became Chief Engagement Officer and President of Women Moving Millions (WMM), a non-profit organization with the bold mission of mobilizing unprecedented resources for the advancement of women and girls. Today, as President of The Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Foundation, Jacki funds and works with a variety of organizations and initiatives, with a particular focus on women's rights, women's foundations, movement building, and media. Jacki frequently speaks, writes, and consults on issues relating to women, success in the workplace, wealth and investing, financial current events, and high-impact philanthropy. In 2012, she gave a TEDxWomen talk entitled, “Closing the Gender Gap.” Jacki has written and maintained her personal blog, found at www.jackizehner.com, since 2008, and in 2013, she joined the LinkedIn blogging community as an Influencer, amassing a following of nearly 200,000 subscribers to date. Throughout her career, Jacki has received numerous awards in recognition of her philanthropic work and leadership. Most recently, in 2015, Jacki received the Zions Bank Women in Leadership Award, and had the honor of being named to the Global Diversity List, published by the Economist.
We remain grateful to the following founding donors of the Athena Center and the Athena Leadership Council for their vision and foundational support:
Leah Dunaief ’62
Leah Dunaief holds an MBA from Columbia Business School. She is Founder, Editor and Publisher of The Village Times, a paid weekly community newspaper in 1976 that today has grown into seven paid hometown weeklies, a biweekly, quarterlies, and annuals along Suffolk County's north shore, as well as the website TBR News Media. Dunaief served as President of the New York Press Association and sits on the boards of several Chambers of Commerce and the Stony Brook University Medical Center Council.
Pat Nadosy ’68
Pat Nadosy, one of the first two co-chairs of the Athena Leadership Council, is a Barnard College Trustee Emerita. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a PhD in Botany from CUNY. Nadosy spearheaded the creation of the Financial Fluency program for alumnae at Barnard. In 1985, after spending fifteen years at JPMorgan as a foreign currency and options trader, Nadosy founded Optfor, Inc., a foreign currency options consulting firm. She is very involved in the Carl Schurz Park Conservancy. Nadosy sits on the Board and is a member of the Gardening Committee, and one of the founders of the CSPC Guild. She also tends the gardens in Carl Schurz Park as the Peter Pan Zone Gardener.
Lida Orzeck ’68
Lida Orzeck holds a PhD in Social Psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. After heading several research projects for the City of New York, Orzeck received a serendipitous birthday gift almost forty years ago which led to the founding of Hanky Panky, an internationally renowned intimate apparel brand, coveted by celebrities and Barnard students alike. Hanky Panky is based in New York where Orzeck is CEO. Hanky Panky remains committed to sourcing and manufacturing in the United States.
Francene Sussner Rodgers ’67
Francene Sussner Rodgers is the chair of WFD, Inc., a pioneer in developing a new generation of employee benefits and services especially addressing the needs of women. Its LifeWorks Program was available to over 3 million employees and was sold to Ceridien Corporation in 1999. At the time of the sale, WFD was one of the largest female-owned businesses in the country. Rodgers is a graduate of Barnard College and Tufts University/MGH professional training program in clinical psychology. From 1997-2004, she was a member of the Board of Directors of BankBoston and Fleet Boston Financial where she served on audit, risk, and community investment committees. Rodgers spent 10 years as a trustee and member of the finance committee at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where she also chaired the Strategic Plan for Women's Health. Rodgers currently represents BWH on the board of Partners Continuing Care, which oversees a variety of rehab and post-acute care organizations as well as a number of home care businesses. She is also a board member of NARAL Foundation and Progressive Majority. From 2006-2008, Rodgers helped to facilitate the merger between Crittenton and the Women's Union in Boston and served as the first chair of the combined organization. She is also a former trustee of Barnard College and a former member of its Executive Committee. Rodgers is a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources.
Lucille Zanghi P '10
Lucille Zanghi spent the majority of her career in the financial services industry as a stockbroker, manager, and financial planner. She began her career in Boston with EF Hutton and Co. and retired 20 years later as a Vice President of Dean Witter Reynolds. Zanghi has served on a number of non-profit boards, including those of Northeastern University, The Wang Center for the Performing Arts, and The Brookline Education Foundation. She is currently a trustee of Marymount Manhattan College. A recent transplant to Florida, Zanghi volunteers at two non-profit organizations in Miami: The Lotus House, a women’s homeless shelter, and Born Free Pet Shelter, a no kill shelter for homeless dogs. She graduated magna cum laude in 1972 from Northeastern University with a degree in history.