What is it?
The first Athena Mastermind was a student-proposed project co-created with the support of Athena's entrepreneurship advisor in 2012. The mission was to support women entrepreneurs on campus by connecting them with entrepreneurial leaders in the community through a monthly Mastermind dinner. The Athena Center has retired our Mastermind program, but learn more about Alumnae Relations' Mastermind program HERE.
What do past participants say?
"I was blown away by the quality of the people and the conversations during our monthly meetings. The group of women was top-notch and the idea generation process was spectacular. I also appreciated the warmth that got created in the group. There was a sense of a "family in NY" a group where one could be intellectually and emotionally "naked" so to speak. The women were all encouraging of each other while good advice was often offered. I absolutely fell in love with the experience and I very much look forward to keeping in touch with everyone in the group! My career has been deeply impacted in many ways, most importantly I feel a renewed sense of courage to carry my science education ventures forward. I learnt practical ways of communicating my ideas and strategies for improving my business. This is probably one of the most useful things I did this year!"
"As a budding social entrepreneur, the Athena Mastermind Group pushed me to develop my personal brand as an emerging activist and thought leader. Based on Mastermind discussions, I acquired my domain name to create a personal website and improved my ability to not only communicate the value add of my initiatives but also tell my personal narrative as a change maker. Furthermore, the Athena Mastermind Group was invaluable in supporting me in my newest community organizing venture in West Harlem, which I rolled out halfway through our dinners. Through the group I got advice on pitching and structuring the project. The Mastermind also assisted me in navigating the tough decision of how to spend my summer as I decided between a White House Internship and a Columbia Community Impact Fellowship to work on my own social venture."
"I believe that I gained as much (if not more) from all the other ladies as they may have from me. We quickly became a closed-knit group that supported each other, challenged each other and carried each other through work and career ups and downs. Our meetings forced me to become accountable with my own work and the goals I set out in my business but go about doing this in a more compassionate way."
What can you expect?
"My expectations were more than met. I found myself excited weeks before our meetings. I would definitely do it again, and plan to be in Mastermind groups in the future as a result of this experience."
"My expectations for the Athena Mastermind were not only met, they were exceded. Not only did I receive invaluable feedback and guidance on my own projects, the Mastermind gave me an inside look into the business strategies and personal philosophies of highly successful women who shared my motivation to build new things in the world. Quickly, I felt like the Mastermind became a net of support – a space to share successes and weather failures. Our mini-community was diverse but we all shared an entrepreneurial spirit that allowed us to bond and be honest. The experience was so fruitful that I plan to seek out or build similar Mastermind support systems throughout my life, to aid me as I engage in future decision making and venture creation."
"It's been a wonderful resource. Everyone is connected to so many different people, it has helped me make some amazing contacts for my business. It's also a good place to bounce ideas and really get some great feedback."
"The impact the Mastermind has had on both my business and my career is unquantifiable. Over the course of the year, the group has offered advice and kindness to get me through rough times and cheered with me as I celebrated the good times. At each dinner, I seemingly learned as much from the direct feedback I received regarding my own goals as I did from hearing about the hurdles faced and accomplishments won by each of my peers. For each of us, some dinners centered upon our businesses, our models, our financials, whereas others were about our selves, our thoughts, our ideas, our struggles and dreams. The conversation was always organic, the advice genuine, and the connections real."