Kathryn Kolbert is the Constance Hess Williams ’66 Director of the Athena Center. A public-interest attorney, journalist, and executive in the not-for-profit world, Kathryn brings to Barnard an extraordinary 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.
Victoria Gordon is the Chief of Staff at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Victoria has nearly 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.
Heather McKee Hurwitz, Ph.D., is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and the Department of Sociology. Her goals are to research and change how gender processes and social inequalities matter to the development of contemporary mixed-gender social movements, tactics, strategies, organizations, culture, and women’s advancement. She teaches Women and Leadership (ACLS 3450) and seminars on Gender and Organizations and Global Activism. Currently, she is writing an article about women and leadership in Occupy. She is revising her dissertation project for publication as a book to be entitled, The 51%: Gender Conflict and Feminist Mobilization in the Occupy Wall Street Movement.
In June 2015, Heather completed the Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB). She also holds a M.A. in Sociology from UCSB and a B.A. in Sociology from The George Washington University. She was the first American to earn a M.A. in Women and Development Studies from the University of the Philippines Diliman.
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 is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership because she believes that there is a strong need and necessity for more women in Leadership. In obtaining this degree, she hopes to help other women realize their potential while expanding on her own.
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 spare time she volunteers for Anjellicle Cats Rescue, and is a strong supporter of the “adopt don’t stop” movement.
Nathalie Molina Niño, CEO, Brava Investments. 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. In 2012, while on sabbatical at Columbia University, Molina Niño co-founded Entrepreneurs@Athena at the Athena Center for Leadership studies of Barnard College, with the mission of leveling the playing field for women entrepreneurs. 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.”
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.
Skye Cleary, PhD MBA, teaches Women and Leadership. 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.
Opal H. Bennett is the Programmer for the 2018 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.