Athena Leadership Council members are specially selected from the most senior levels of the private and public sectors, including leaders in business, law, medicine, government and NGOs from across the globe. Candidates have attained recognized positions of leadership within their careers and communities, and are key supporters and advisors to the Center and its programs. In turn, they benefit from close engagement with scholars, advisors and thought-leaders who share a deep commitment to women’s leadership. As global ambassadors of and advocates for the Athena Center and its programs, Leadership Council members are empowered to advance women in leadership as they meet and interact with other leaders. LEARN MORE about ways in which Leadership Council members engage with the Center, the criteria and process for membership selection, as well as expected financial support.
JYOTI MENON ’01 is a payments professional who is currently Senior Vice President, Emerging Payments at Citi. In her prior role as Vice President she was a key contributor in Citi's launch of Apple Pay. Prior to Citi, Menon was part of the Global Corporate Services team at American Express, focused on building robust mobile travel and expense solutions for corporate travelers. In her roles at American Express, Menon launched global marketing tools, redesigned client reporting solutions, and owned and developed key partnerships. She started her career at Goldman Sachs’ commodities trading middle office where she worked to improve the trade reconciliation process. Menon serves as an Advisor to Rank and Style, a fashion-technology startup that provides unbiased, data-driven top-ten lists of the best fashion and beauty products. Menon holds a Master’s in International Affairs from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. She is currently an Alumna Trustee on the Barnard College Board of Trustees.
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.
JENNIFER ALLYN is a Managing Director in the Office of Diversity for the U.S. Firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) LLP. As an executive and thought leader promoting diversity initiatives, she is responsible for designing programs to retain, develop, and advance diverse professionals. Allyn is an expert on gender, LGBT and work/life challenges. A frequent public speaker who has been quoted in dozens of publications, Allyn spearheaded the effort to enhance PwC’s parental leave policy and launched Full Circle, a program designed to assist parents who want to “on-ramp” after taking an extended period of time off from work. She was instrumental in designing and facilitating PwC's Diversity Leadership Forums, which bring together hundreds of business executives to discuss the future of diversity. Prior to joining PwC, Allyn was a senior consultant at Catalyst where she advised Fortune 500 clients, among them PwC. From 2007-2009, she was a member of the Executive Committee of the Women’s Leadership Board at the Harvard Kennedy School and in 2008 received the Crossing Borders Award from the Feminist Press. Allyn currently serves as Co-Chair of the Advisory Board of the National Council for Research on Women. She is a graduate of Brown University and earned her Master's degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School.
GLORI COHEN P ’14 is an art advisor and collector based in New York City. Cohen founded an independent art advisory company, which specializes in building art collections of emerging and established artists in contemporary and modern art. She is a board member of RxArt, a non-profit organization whose mission is to help children heal through the extraordinary power of visual art. She visits artists’ studios and galleries on a weekly basis and is on the Producers Council of the New Museum. Prior to establishing her company, Cohen initiated a women’s investment group of which she serves as President. The group now focuses on real estate investments. Cohen graduated from Pratt Institute with a B.A. in Package Design and Photography. After thirteen years of experience in packaging, she received a Clio Award in the frozen food industry.
DR. ROCHELLE COOPER ’84 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.
LEAH DUNAIEF ’62 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.
GABRIELLE FERRARA '12 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.
CAROL FINLEY ’83 was formerly general counsel for Tishman Speyer Properties L.P. at Rockefeller Center. Prior to working at Tishman Speyer, Finley was an attorney at Schulte Roth & Zabel. She earned her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and an MBA from Columbia University School of Business. Finley graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College with a B.A. in economics. She serves on the Board of Overseers at the Institute of Contemporary Art at University of Pennsylvania and on the Columbia Alumni Association Arts Access Committee. She is also on the co-op Board of Directors at 101 Central Park West.
JENNIFER PATE GILBERT is the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of the New York-based special events company Save the Date®. In the early 90s, Gilbert revolutionized the event planning industry by flipping the traditional business model and offering Save the Date® services free to clients, thereby becoming the destination for all event planners and vendors. It was this business savvy that earned Gilbert the "Entrepeneur of the Year" award by Ernst & Young. This award was quickly followed by recognition for Gilbert in Inc. Magazine, where Save the Date® was named one of the "Great Companies Started." Gilbert herself was honored with the Entrepeneur Award of Excellence from Working Woman Magazine and is often quoted for her expert advice in national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, People, and InStyle. Her memoir I Never Promised You a Goodie Bad landed her significant media coverage. Gilbert is a graduate of the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Consumer Marketing and a minor in business. She also completed MIT's Birthing of Giants Program.
ANN KAPLAN is a partner of Circle Wealth Management, an investment advisory firm. She is also the chair of Circle Financial Group, a wealth management membership organization. Kaplan was previously a general partner of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and a managing director after the firm became a public company. She was a member of the Fixed Income Division for 23 years and served as the head of the municipal bond department. During her last three years at the firm, she was a member of the Asset Management Division focusing on wealth management. Kaplan serves as a board member of both Goldman Sachs Bank USA and LearnVest. She is a Trustee of Columbia University, and serves on the boards of the American Red Cross in Greater New York, Museum of Arts and Design, and the Economic Club of New York. Kaplan holds a B.A. in government from Smith College and Master’s Degrees in Social Work and Business Administration from Columbia University.
MARINA LEWIN ’80 holds her MBA in Finance from New York University and currently heads the Relationship Management and New Business Development teams for Alternative Investment Services at BNY Mellon. Lewin frequently speaks at industry events and serves as a media spokesperson for the company's alternatives businesses. Before joining BNY Mellon, she worked at JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank and has had a variety of roles in the securities industry business line.
MARLEY BLUE LEWIS ’05 holds an M.A. in Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies from Columbia University and is currently working on the Joan Mitchell Catalogue Raisonné. Previously, she worked for the Agnes Martin Catalogue Raisonné project, as a Collection Manager for a private estate and has held positions in the Department of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art and in the Post-War and Contemporary Art department at Christie’s in New York. Lewis has served as a Board Member of the Ojai Music Festival, Co-Chair of the Barnard Reunion Gift Committee, and as a member of the President’s Advisory Council at Barnard. She is a member of the Brooklyn Museum Chairman's Circle and serves on the Advisory Board of The Knights music ensemble.
NANCY MCGREGOR MANNE ’80 P ’14 served on Barnard's President Advisory Council from 2007-2009. In addition to her Barnard degree, Manne holds a JD from Harvard Law School. She has served as Special Assistant to the Director of the F.B.I. and Special Counsel to the Director of the C.I.A. She now lives in Houston, where she is a Board Member of the Houston Area Women's Center, the Hobby Center, the American Leadership Forum and Preservation Houston, and is the former board chair of Planned Parenthood of Houston.
CHRISTINE McCONNELL, President and Founder of The McConnell Group, is a highly respected executive coach and organizational and business consultant. A trusted advisor, McConnell is a valued partner in her work with business leaders, senior executives, senior and emerging women, as well as entrepreneurs, global private individuals, and high net worth families, their leaders, and generational successors. McConnell is recognized for her mastery of coaching, client efficacy, and transformational and sustaining impact. She is a member of both the Women’s Forum of New York and the International Women’s Forum. McConnell is an advisor to the Global Fund for Women and Co-Chair and Founding Member of its Leadership Advisory Board. She is a Commissioner of the Women's Refugee Commission and advisor to its Executive Director, as well as an advisor on development and strategy to the President and CEO of Breakthrough. McConnell partners with the senior-most female executives as organizations seek to build purposeful communities of both senior and emerging women. McConnell is a passionate, vocal trailblazer in bridging executive women leaders with philanthropic women leaders, leveraging their power and impact.
LAURIE MEDLEY joined Apollo Global Management in 2006 and currently serves as its General Counsel – Private Equity. Prior to that time, she was an attorney at a number of law firms including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, and O'Sullivan, LLP where she specialized in private equity and mergers and acquisitions. Medley serves on the board of directors of Taos Ski Valley and Athene. A cum laude graduate from the University of Mississippi with a BA in Education, Medley earned her J.D. summa cum laude from Vermont Law School.
JULIE (MALYN) MELWANI '09 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.
PAT NADOSY ’68, 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 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.
HITHA PALEPU is an entrepreneur and social media expert with extensive global experience in the life sciences, travel, and technology fields. She is the founder of Hitha On The Go, a lifestyle website founded in 2009 focused on helping women pack faster and live better. Palepu is Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bridge2Act, a start-up technology company enabling charitable giving in a rapid, easy, and more informed manner. Palepu oversees all aspects of Hitha On The Go, from editorial direction and content creation to strategic partnerships and brand development. Palepu’s packing and travel expertise has been featured in video collaborations with about.com, Meredith Media, and in her curated travel boxes with Quarterly. She has been featured in Forbes as an innovator in the travel industry and quoted in The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and USA Today on fashion and travel trends. Palepu has also contributed articles to Fathom Away, Bridal Guide, and MODE Media. She graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in biochemistry and history. She lives in New York City with her husband.
DAPHNE FODOR PHILIPSON ’69 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.
GALE PICKER is the founder and a board member of the Family Leadership Fund, an organization that has given over $1 million in the last decade towards improving the lives of children and families in communities of color in the Seattle Region. She is a certified counselor, primarily leading classes for children and families that offer parents, guardians, and interested adults the tools to give their children an emotional head start. Picker served on the staff of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee as well as of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. She was the first director at C-SPAN and her political programs (both the ones she produced and the ones she hosted on air) received awards from the cable television industry. She also served on the Board of the Seattle Girls’ School. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, Picker has a lifelong appreciation of the value of single-sex education.
JULIA QIAN ’15 is a senior consultant at Tencent in Beijing. She previously worked for McKinsey & Company in Chicago. Julia is an Athena scholar alumna. She continued her Athena senior project and founded Redefine International Inc, a NYC-based non-profit organization. Redefine aims to empower Chinese women with a variety of events, from the annual conference, to the summer academy to online leadership courses. It has grown to a team of 70+ volunteers from all over the world. Julia has served in various leadership roles as a student and alumna including the President of Student Government Association (SGA) and the co-lead for the alumnae club of Chicago.
FRANCENE SUSSNER RODGERS ’67 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 was also a trustee of Barnard College and a member of its Executive Committee. Rodgers is a fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources.
MARTHA SCODRO P' 14 is a Brazilian psychologist. She has been active across multiple areas of psychology including family therapy, social psychology, social work, and narrative therapy. Scodro is currently working alongside her partner on the independent research, Turning 50: a study of women's reflections about life in their fifties, which investigates "What does this actually mean for women? How well do women grasp the significance of a new and extended life outlook?". Prior to focusing on her research, Scodro was President and Member of the Board at Brazil Child Health, an award-winning Brazilian non-profit organization that assists hospitalized children and their families who live below the poverty line. While at Brazil Child Health, Scodro was responsible for public policy, family support, volunteer resources, among other areas. Prior, Scodro held a private practice that focused on childhood psychology. Based in Brazil, Scodro divides her time between Rio de Janeiro where her son and husband live, and New York where her daughter, a Barnard alumna, currently lives. Scodro has her psychology degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, her Master’s in Social Psychology from the Pontificia Universidade Catolica in Rio de Janeiro, and is trained as a family therapist from the Rio de Janeiro Family Institute (ITF/RJ).
ROBYN PRICE STONEHILL is executive vice president, chief human resource officer of Assurant, Inc., leading the human resources function for the enterprise. Throughout her 17-year career at Assurant, Ms. Price Stonehill has held a variety of leadership roles related to compensation, retirement, health and welfare, and other human resources functions. In her role, Ms. Price Stonehill advises leaders on organizational transformation and supports Assurant’s talent, leading global human resource activities with a strong focus of diversity and inclusion, learning and development, enterprise talent development and performance management. She is instrumental in the Company’s multi-year transformation to become a more customer-centric and agile organization to enable its long-term business strategy. As part of this process, she led the restructuring of the human resources function at Assurant, streamlining and integrating processes across the enterprise to increase efficiency and drive business results. As senior vice president, compensation, benefits and shared services from 2011 to 2014, Ms. Price Stonehill set the vision and design of the Total Rewards program and restructured Assurant’s talent acquisition processes, placing greater focus on improving the job candidate experience. Ms. Price Stonehill reshaped Assurant’s pension and benefits architecture to improve cost efficiency and increase value to employees while maintaining the competitive benefits needed to attract and retain talent. Under her leadership, employees’ 401(k) participation rose from 55 to more than 93 percent. A former actuary, Ms. Price Stonehill, working with Assurant President and CEO Alan Colberg, strives to increase employee financial literacy, and helped to establish a free Financial Fitness pilot program at the company. During her tenure, Assurant has ranked in Workforce Magazine’s 2014 Workforce 100, a list of the world’s top companies for HR, been recognized with a North American CandE Award for improving the candidate experience and received a Well Workplace Award from WELCOA (Wellness Council of America) for its commitment to workplace wellness . In addition, for the fourth consecutive year, Assurant received a Best Employers for Healthy Lifestyles® Gold Award from the National Business Group on Health. Prior to joining Assurant in 1999, Ms. Price Stonehill advised clients on benefits and retirement issues at Arthur Andersen and KPMG. Ms. Price Stonehill is also a member of the board of directors and finance committee of AMIT, which runs more than 70 schools and educates more than 20,000 children in Israel.
MARISSA WESELY is the Coordinator of the Win-Win Coalition, a new cross-sector network building strategies to empower women globally. She is also an Advisor to the “Path to Empowerment” series hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center. Previously, she was a 2014 Fellow at Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative and a Global Fellow at the Wilson Center, affiliated with the Center’s Global Women’s Leadership Initiative. Marissa is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an active member of a number of non-profit boards, including the Board of Directors of Global Fund for Women. Prior to 2014, Marissa was a corporate partner at the global law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, and was regularly recognized as a leading lawyer in banking and finance, including as the 2013 Finance Lawyer of the Year at the Chambers’ Women in Law Awards. As a long-standing advocate for women’s rights in diverse settings, Marissa has received many awards, including the ABA’s 2014 Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement Award, which recognizes lawyers who have excelled in their field and inspired other women lawyers. Marissa speaks and writes regularly on issues of women’s leadership and women’s rights, including as the author, with Dina Dublon, of the cover story in Stanford Social Innovation Review’s spring 2015 issue, “Empowering Women at the Grassroots."
DR. MARGARET WITHGOTT ’76 recently co-founded Panafold, the knowledge attraction company. She also co-founded the motion gaming company ePlanet, and is known for the research she led at Xerox PARC, Interval Research Corporation, and Sun Labs. Dr. Withgott previously served on Barnard’s President’s Advisory Council, and was a Fellow at Stanford and Harvard. A managing director at Golden Seeds, she is an inventor with 17 U.S. patents.
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.