Umbreen Bhatti is the Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Umbreen Bhatti is responsible for establishing and implementing the strategic vision for the Athena Center. She oversees all programmatic initiatives including the following areas: women’s leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation, and civic engagement. She manages relationships with a broad network of supporters, including students, faculty, alumnae, consultants, business and non-profit partners, and staff, as well as serves as a thought leader in advancing a public dialogue on women and leadership.
Bhatti graduated cum laude from Barnard in 2000 as a political science major and Centennial Scholar and earned her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 2005. Bhatti returns to the College with a wealth of experience in media, law, and non-profit management. Most recently, she served as Director of the innovation lab at KQED, the Bay Area’s NPR and PBS station. Bhatti also serves on the board of Global Press, a news organization dedicated to reinventing the craft and business of international journalism by recruiting diverse populations of local women and training them to become professional, ethical journalists. As a John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University, she developed and then hosted the podcast “Kaleidoscope: Reflections on Islam.” Beyond media, Bhatti has worked with universities, libraries, local government, and nonprofits to support their efforts to meet the needs of their constituents in new and exciting ways. Earlier in her career, she practiced law at the Disability Rights Legal Center in Los Angeles, the ACLU in Wilmington, Del., and Latham & Watkins in Washington, D.C., and taught law students as an adjunct professor at the Widener University School of Law. Bhatti now lives in Manhattan with her husband, an executive in digital network news, and her two children.
Victoria Gordon is the Chief of Staff at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. She is responsible for managing the Athena Center staff and network of consultants, the Center budget, and supports all Center operations. She provides strategic support to the development of Athena’s core programs, including student programs, the Athena Film Festival, leadership development work, and Entrepreneurs@Athena. She sits on the President's Council, the Operations and Management Group of the College, and the Joint Faculty and Administrators' Benefits Committee.
Victoria has ten years experience in operations, development, and event management working for organizations including The Resolution Project, Room to Grow, Community Renewal Team and the Wildlife Conservation Society. She has a background in international relations and a passion for working with young people committed to social change and social progress. Victoria holds an MSc in Democracy and Comparative Politics from University College London and graduated with honors and an MA in International Relations from the University of St. Andrews.
Sarit Abramowicz is the Administrative Director of Student Programs at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. 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. Topics included, Cross-Cultural Communication and Awareness, Working in Multicultural Teams, Managing Conflict with Dignity and various themes related to women and leadership and career development. Sarit has a Master’s degree from New York University in International Education and a Bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University in Philosophy, Politics & Law and Spanish.
Erika Guzman is the Student Programs Administrator at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Throughout her career, she has gained extensive experience providing high-level administrative support to senior management. Prior to Athena, she served as the Coordinator of Corporate Security at Forest Laboratories, where she provided a wide range of administrative services including management of logistical details, investigations/due diligence analysis, project management and handling of sensitive and privileged information. Since joining Athena, Erika's passion for women's leadership has only grown, and is strengthened every day through her interactions with the students and staff at the Center. Erika earned a Bachelor of Arts in Culture and Deviance Studies from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Kristin Molloy is the Operations Manager for the Athena Film Festival, a joint project of the Athena Center and Women and Hollywood. 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. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Culture and Media Studies from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts.
Alisa Tchernigova is the Senior Programs Assistant at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Alisa has been working in higher education since 2013 in various administrative roles. She believes that there is a strong need and necessity 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 woman, which is why she came to work at the Center.
Alisa graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Lehman College. While at Lehman, she was inducted into the Golden Key Honor Society, Psi Chi - the International Honor Society in Psychology, and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In her pursuit to see more women as leaders, Alisa continued on to graduate from Manhattan College with a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership. She hopes to use this degree to help other women realize their potential while expanding on her own. In her spare time she volunteers for Anjellicle Cats Rescue, and is a strong supporter of the “Adopt, Don’t Shop” movement.
Kathryn Kolbert is the Co-Founder and Producing Director of the Athena Film Festival and served as the Founding Director of the Athena Center from 2009 - 2018. A public-interest attorney, journalist, and executive in the not-for-profit world, Kathryn has a depth of experience in collaborative leadership, educational programming, and civil-rights advocacy. She has been recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America,” and by The American Lawyer as one of 45 public-interest lawyers “whose vision and commitment are changing lives." In 1992, Kolbert argued the landmark case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey before the U.S. Supreme Court and has been credited with saving Roe v. Wade with what CNN’s Legal Correspondent Jeffrey Toobin has called "one of the most audacious litigation strategies in Supreme Court history.
Before joining Barnard, Kolbert was the President and CEO of People For the American Way and People For the American Way Foundation, two of the nation’s premier civil rights organizations. During her tenure, People For the American Way's Political Action Committee was cited by the National Journal as the most successful advocacy group of the 2008 election cycle.
For ten years, Kolbert oversaw a program on law and American life at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center. She was the executive producer of Justice Talking, an award-winning public radio program distributed by NPR, and also directed an educational website called JusticeLearning.org, which received a Webby Award in 2005. Before she became a journalist, Kathryn enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a public-interest attorney specializing in women’s reproductive rights. From 1992 to 1997, she directed domestic litigation and public policy programs for the Center for Reproductive Rights, where she was a co-founder and vice president. She has also served as the State Coordinating Counsel of the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project in New York and as a Staff Attorney with the Women's Law Project and Community Legal Services in Philadelphia. A graduate of Cornell University, College of Arts and Science and Temple University School of Law, Kolbert has lectured at colleges and universities across the nation and is a frequent commentator on leadership, constitutional and women’s rights issues in the national media.
Melissa Silverstein is the founder and editor of Women and Hollywood, one of the most respected sites for issues related to women and film as well as other areas of pop culture. She serves as the Artistic Director and co-founder of the Athena Film Festival -- A Celebration of Women and Leadership, a joint project of the Athena Center and Women and Hollywood. Silverstein recently published her first book, In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing, which is a compilation of over 40 interviews that have appeared on Women and Hollywood. Her work has been featured on CNN and BBC as well as in Newsweek, Salon, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, The New York Times, and many other publications.
Silverstein has conducted social media marketing campaigns and events for a variety of films including My Week With Marilyn, The Iron Lady, Gloria Steinem: In Her Own Words, Dancing Across Borders, and more. Formerly the founding project director for The White House Project and the Chief of Staff at the Ms. Foundation for Women, Silverstein also has worked on several high profile public education campaigns including Take Our Daughters to Work Day and the Pro Choice Public Education Project. She is on the advisory boards of the Women’s Media Center and Women, Action & Media (WAM!) and is a member of NY Women in Film and TV.
Opal H. Bennett is the Senior Programmer for the Athena Film Festival. Opal has an impressive track record within the festival industry, working for Nantucket, Montclair, and Queens World during the past four years. Opal will be an integral member of the team this year, managing all film and screenplay submissions and helping to curate the festival program. A Columbia Law grad, Opal holds a Masters in Media Studies from the LSE, and received her B.A. from New York University.
Skye Cleary, PhD MBA, teaches Women and Leadership and the Athena Senior Seminar. She 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, The Huffington Post, The Conversation, Business Insider, New Republic, New Philosopher, The Philosophers' Magazine, ABC Radio National, YourTango, Womankind, Actualise Daily and others. She is currently writing a book on Simone de Beauvoir. She has a black belt in taekwondo and loves scuba diving.
Sylvie Honig, PhD, teaches Women and Leadership. Before coming to the Athena Center, she taught undergraduate Sociology courses at Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Columbia, Tufts, and CUNY. She earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago, with a specialization in youth, life course theory and qualitative methods. Her doctoral project, Untangling the Apron Strings, examines how inequality in young adulthood is exacerbated by the emphasis on independence, a luxury afforded only to privileged young adults, and how it paradoxically enables a prolonged dependence on parents for financial and other types of support. Her focus on transition to adulthood gives her a unique perspective into the particular challenges and opportunities faced by young women as they move through higher education and into the workforce. Her other research interests include urban sociology, gender, sexuality, and stratification. She has done qualitative research on sexuality in young adulthood, income instability, and HIV stigma at the intersection of race, gender and class.
Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO, Brava Investments is the Co-Founder of Entrepreneurs@Athena. Nathalie Molina Niño is entirely focused on outcomes. She is committed to delivering returns to investors while making a catalytic impact on women in the world. A technologist and coder by training, Nathalie is a consummate entrepreneur, and a storyteller at heart.
Prior to launching Brava, as interim CEO of SELF MADE, Nathalie led the launch of SELF MADE, the company, mobile app, learning platform and NY Times Best Selling book by Telemundo's former Entertainment president, Nely Galán. In 2015, Nathalie stepped in as interim Chief Revenue Officer of PowerToFly, a startup aimed at closing the gender gap in tech. Nathalie launched her first tech startup at the age of 20.
Molina Niño has advised industry leaders in both the for- and non-profit sector ranging from multinationals (Disney, Microsoft, MTV, The Discovery Channel, Mattel), early stage startups (Cranium, Onvia) and non-profits (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Affairs Council, Seattle International Film Festival, Athena). She writes and is quoted widely in the media, from best selling books like Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek to diverse media outlets ranging from Bitch Magazine to Forbes, Time Inc and CNN Money.
Keith Ferrazzi called her a “super-connector” in his updated best-selling classic, Never Eat Alone. Nathalie is the “fuel core of a network that makes it easy for her to tap the resources to get stuff done, and done quickly.”