Fellows and Visiting Scholars

The Athena Distinguished Fellowship Program is open to renowned leaders from the most senior levels of the private and public sectors, including leaders in business, law, medicine, government or NGOs. Beginning in fall 2013, the Center will select a class of Fellows who have attained recognized positions of leadership within their careers and communities and have demonstrated a commitment to the advancement of women leaders within the U.S. and across the globe.  Often Fellows are at an inflection point in their lives or careers—looking toward the broader role they might take on in passing down their experience and expertise to emerging women leaders. Fellowships range from nine months to two years.  

Candidates commit to sharing their expertise and experience with emerging women leaders at Barnard and beyond and advocating for women’s leadership within their circles of influence and the local, national and international causes in which they participate. 

Learn More.

2015 Fellows 

Joan Fallon Founder and CEO of Curemark, is considered a visionary scientist who has dedicated her life’s work to championing the health and wellbeing of children worldwide. She is widely recognized for her vision, passion, and innovation in defining a successful entrepreneurial venture. Curemark is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapies to treat serious diseases for which there are limited treatment options. The company’s pipeline includes a phase III clinical-stage research program for Autism & ADHD, as well as three preclinical programs focused on Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and addiction. Joan holds 46 patents worldwide, has written numerous scholarly articles, and lectured extensively across the globe on pediatric developmental problems including autism and ADHD.


Latina media dynamo and women’s empowerment advocate Nely Galán, dubbed the “Tropical Tycoon” by The New York Times Magazine, is one of the entertainment industry’s savviest firebrand talents.  A first generation immigrant and self-made media mogul, Galán was the first Latina president of a U.S. television network (Telemundo). She has also owned and operated her own media company since 1994. Galán Entertainment has launched 10 groundbreaking television channels in Latin America, and has also produced a staggering 600 episodes of programming that cross all genres from reality series to sitcoms, telenovelas to talk shows, in both English and Spanish, including the FOX hit reality series “The Swan.”  Galán is the founder of The Adelante Movement (Move Forward!)  a grassroots movement that unites and empowers Latinas socially, economically and politically which sponsors a series of national empowerment conferences, supported by a digital community, presented by the Coca Cola Company, that inform, mentor and inspire Latinas to take action.  In addition, she has owned her own real estate development and investment company, Santa Clara for fifteen years, which has commercial and residential real estate holdings in multiple states.  Galán appeared on the NBC hit “The Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump”, joining an all-star and raising $250,000 for her charity COUNT ME IN. Galán's new book and campaign for women entrepreneurs will launch Spring 2016.  


2014 Fellows

Linda Basch has held diverse leadership positions spanning higher education, the United Nations, the non-profit sector and facilitating research on corporate issues. An anthropologist, Linda worked as a Research Director at the United Nations, where she focused on social and economic development. Transitioning to higher education, she held senior leadership roles at New York University and Manhattan and Wagner Colleges, serving as Director of Academic Programs, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Academic Vice President respectively.

A decade later Linda was recruited to serve as President of the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW), a network of more than 100 leading research, policy and advocacy centers, where she worked to shape a research and advocacy agenda aimed at gaining rights and opportunities for women and girls, advancing women’s leadership and creating policy change.  She also built a Corporate Circle of over 35 Fortune 500 corporations eager to access the research produced by this network, but also to support NCRW’s mission and goals.  Under Linda’s leadership, NCRW issued reports focused on strategies to create greater gender equality and leadership opportunities for women, particularly in underrepresented areas like the sciences and business, and gave special attention to emerging women leaders across sectors.

Linda has written numerous books and articles for scholarly journals and her articles, letters and interviews have been featured in major media outlets including the Associated Press, NBC Today, the CBS Evening News, National Public Radio, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

Having taken NCRW through a significant growth period, Linda stepped aside a year and a half ago to become an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University.  Linda’s next chapter includes executive coaching to high potential leaders eager to develop their skills, to leaders in career transition, and to leaders of nonprofit organizations, and she is completing a coaching certification program at the Hudson Institute.  She is looking forward to drawing on her experience and interests as an Athena Leadership Fellow at Barnard College over the next two years.

Linda is an elected Fellow of the New York Academy of Science and holds a PhD in Anthropology from New York University and a BA in Economics from the University of Michigan.


With a reputation for integrity, creativity, independence of thought, a sense of humor and an unrelenting focus on results, Sallie Krawcheck has built a career that has reached the top levels of success across a range of functions: as a senior corporate executive, as a research analyst and now as an entrepreneur. Recently named number 9 on Fast Company’s list of the “100 Most Creative People 2014,” she has also been referred to as one of the most successful and influential executives in financial services.  From turning around and growing troubled wealth management businesses to eliminating Wall Street conflicts of interest and advocating a true client-centered business model, Fortune Magazine called her “The Last Honest Analyst” during her tenure at Sanford Bernstein. She spent years as the guardian of such brands as Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch and US Trust. 

Krawcheck has often noted that “Investing in women is simply smart business” and is expressing this view through her ownership in the Ellevate companies. The Ellevate network is 34,000-strong (and growing) global professional woman’s network, the most expansive and diverse of its kind. Ellevate Asset Management has partnered with Pax World to recently launch the Pax Ellevate Global Woman’s Index Fund, which invests in the highest-rated 400 companies in the world for advancing women; it is the first and only fund of its kind.

Krawcheck's embrace of social media as a means of including more people in her frank business conversations on women and business, regulatory reform and investor protection has garnered her more than 500,000 followers as a LinkedIn’s INfluencer and more than 22,000 followers on Twitter.

A Tar Heel fan through and through, Krawcheck also spends her time advising start-up companies, focusing on education-oriented philanthropy and serving on a variety of boards.


Angela E. Oh serves as an Attorney Mediator with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, where she is engaged in resolving disputes regarding civil rights in the workplace, housing, and public accommodations.  Prior to working in this capacity, Ms. Oh was the Executive Director of the Western Justice Center Foundation, a non-profit organization that advances peaceful resolution of conflict by providing training and skill-building programs in mediation and dialogue facilitation. 

In 1992, Oh gained national prominence as a mediating force for Asian Americans during the Los Angeles riots.  In 1996, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton as one of seven Advisory Board Members to the President’s Initiative on Race, which was charged with engaging the nation in an unprecedented dialogue on race relations in the United States of America.

Angela Oh has served in leadership positions on numerous commissions and boards, including as Chairperson of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s Federal Judicial Nominations Committee for the Central District of California, a Member of the L.A. City Commission on Human Relations, as a Lawyer Delegate to the 9th Circuit U.S. Judicial Conference, and a Commissioner to the ABA Commission on Women in the Legal Profession.

Oh, a founding member of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association was also a recipient of its annual Trailblazer Award, now known as the Daniel K. Inouye Trailblazer Award.  Also a founding member of the Multi-cultural Bar Alliance in Los Angeles, Oh was among a small group of Asian American, Latino, and African American lawyers who envisioned collaboration among bar leaders across all communities.  She has received numerous recognitions over the years, including the UCLA Alumni Award for Community Service, the UCLA School of Public Health Alumni Award for Community Leadership, and the Alumni of the Year award from the UC Davis School of Law.

Oh’s public lectures and writings reflect the opportunities and challenges that diversity presents.  Her lectures have taken her to China, Korea, the Middle East, Northern Ireland, and the United Kingdom.  She has held teaching appointments at UCLA in the Asian American Studies Department, University of Southern California Unruh Institute for Public Policy, and the UC Irvine School of Social Sciences and Political Science.  Oh is also an ordained priest, Zen Buddhist, Rinzai Sect.


Jeanne M. Sullivan has been investing in and growing tech companies for many years.  She is a Co-Founder of StarVest Partners which was created in 1998 with $400 million under management.  Jeanne has over 23 years of venture capital experience and has spent 30 years in the technology sector encompassing both extensive operating and investing experience with technology companies.   Ms. Sullivan has honed her trade creating “go to market” plans for early and expansion stage companies. Her expertise also includes strategy, a keen understanding of the technology landscape and industry trends.  Prior to her venture experience, Jeanne gained her operating experience with AT&T and Bell Labs while serving in product and industry marketing roles. 

Ms. Sullivan is a sought-after industry speaker on the subject of “how to get the wallets out of investors’ pocket.”   Jeanne serves on the board of the New York Venture Capital Association and is a newly invited member of the Women’s Leadership Board at the Harvard Kennedy School and is an Athena Distinguished Fellow for Barnard College. She also serves as advisor for many women-focused organizations that work to “fund and fuel” women entrepreneurs and is on the Global Board of Trustees of Astia, an organization that empowers high growth women entrepreneurs.  Forbes cited Sullivan as “one of the women VCs changing the world – grooming the next generation of female entrepreneurs”.  The New York Angels organization honored Jeanne as the OPEL award winner for 2013 – Outstanding Professionals for Entrepreneurial Leadership. 


2013 Fellows

Jimmie Briggs has earned a reputation as one of the most respected human rights advocates in the field of journalism over the past two decades. Briggs received the Barnard Medal of Distinction in May, 2013. A graduate of Morehouse College, he has produced seminal reporting on the lives of war-affected youth and children soldiers, as well as survivors of sexual violence. His book, Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go To War, won accolades in 2005. Briggs has served as an adjunct professor of investigative journalism at the New School for Social Research, and was a George A. Miller Visiting Professor in the department of African-American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His upcoming book, Blood Work, questions manhood, masculinity, and tranformation in the 21st century. Most recently, Briggs founded the Man Up Campaign, a global initiative for mobilizing young people to stop violence against women and girls through the arts, sports, and technology. For his work with the Man Up Campaign and the issue of violence against women, Briggs was selected as the winner of the 2010 GQ magazine's "Better Men Better World" search, as well as being chosen one of "21 Leaders for the 21st Century" by Women's eNews.

2011 Nobel Peace Laureate and Liberian peace activist,  Leymah Gbowee has joined Barnard College as its inaugural Distinguished Fellow in Social Justice.  Gbowee, will also serve as a Fellow in Residence at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies and a Barnard Center for Research on Women Transnational Fellow.  She will be teaching and guest-lecturing in Barnard’s Africana studies program.  A trained social worker and women’s rights advocate, Gbowee is founder and president of the Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa, founder of the Liberia Reconciliation Initiative, and co-founder and former executive director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa (WIPSEN-A). She is also a founding member and former Liberia coordinator of Women in Peacebuilding Network/West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP). Gbowee’s leadership of the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace, which brought together Christian and Muslim women in a nonviolent movement that played a pivotal role in ending Liberia’s civil war in 2003, is chronicled in her memoir, Mighty Be Our Powers, and in the documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. In addition, Gbowee is the Newsweek Daily Beast's Africa columnist. She serves on the boards of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, Gbowee Peace Foundation and the PeaceJam Foundation, and she is a member of the African Women Leaders Network for Reproductive Health and Family Planning. She holds a master of arts degree in conflict transformation from Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, VA), and a doctor of laws (LLD) honoriscausa from Rhodes University in South Africa and University of Alberta in Canada. Gbowee was honored as a flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London. She is based in Monrovia, Liberia, and has six children.

In Spring 2013, John Gerzema became the first Athena Center Fellow.  He will support the Center in offering talks, workshops and insights to promote the advancement of women’s leadership around the world.
A pioneer in the use of data to identify social change and help companies anticipate and adapt to new interests and demands, he is the co-author of The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And The Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future, which reached #2 on the New York Times Best-Seller List within weeks of its release.  A best-selling author, columnist, speaker and social strategist, his books, research and interviews have appeared on “best of” lists at Fast Company, Inc., and The Week Magazine and in such publications as The Harvard Business 
Review, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, The New York TimesCNBC, NPR, and Forbes. As Chief Insights Officer at Young & Rubicam he oversees the world’s largest database of brands and consumer behavior and studies social change and its impact on business, society and the economy. John’s TED talk featured at ‘TedXWomen’ is an overview of his book, which was released April 2013 and is available on Amazon.        

About The Athena Doctrine:  John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio’s proprietary survey of 64,000 people around the world asked people to identify traits as either feminine or masculine and then asked what traits are most important for both leadership and success.  He found that those traits identified as traditionally feminine are now more popular than the macho paradigm of the past and that the most innovative among us are breaking away from traditional structures to be more flexible, collaborative and nurturing.   He found that both men and women from Medellin to Nairobi are adopting this “feminine” style, which emphasizes cooperation, long-term thinking, and flexibility, in turn making their lives, and the world, better. LEARN MORE
A feminist leader and social entreprenur, Marie C. Wilson has created and led women's organizations for the past forty years. She is Founder and President Emerita of both The White House Project and the Ms. Foundation for Women. She was a co-creator of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day ® and author of Closing the Leadership Gap: Add Women, Change Everything. Wilson has been profiled extensively in the national media, including in The New York Times Public Lives column and in O Magazine. She has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, and BBC, and she has spoken on National Public Radio. Wilson has received four honorary doctorates including, most recently, a doctor of divinity from the Episcopal Seminary in Boston.  


Each year the Athena Center brings to campus an academic expert in women’s leadership or woman leader for a short-term visit.  While on campus, they meet with students and center staff and share their expertise with others in the Barnard community.


2013:  Dr. Ludger Helms, Professor of Political Science and the Chair of Comparative Politics at the University of Innsbruck, Austria

An expert on issues of political leadership and democratic governance and the author of many books and articles including his recent book, Comparative Political Leadership (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), Dr. Helms has held previous or visiting positions at Harvard, Berkeley, Heidelberg, Tokyo and the London School of Economics and Political Science. During his time with the Athena Center, Dr. Helms guest lectured in Women and Leadership and in the Athena Senior Seminar and met with Barnard staff and administrators.  Dr. Helms and his wife were also delighted to attend the Athena Film Festival during their time with the Center.



2012:   Charlayne Hunter-Gault, award-winning journalist and author

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an award-winning journalist with more than 40 years in the industry. She is the author of In My Place, a memoir of the civil rights movement fashioned around her experiences as the first black woman to attend the University of Georgia. Her latest book is New News Out of Africa: Uncovering the African Renaissance.
As a global journalist, Hunter-Gault has returned to NPR as a Special Correspondent after spending six years as CNN's Johannesburg Bureau Chief and Correspondent. Before that, she worked as NPR's chief correspondent in Africa.
Hunter-Gault had joined NPR in 1997 after 20 years with PBS, where she worked as a national correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. She began her journalism career as a reporter for The New Yorker, before working as a local news anchor for WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. and as the Harlem bureau chief for The New York Times.
Her numerous honors include two Emmy awards and two Peabody awards – one for her work on Apartheid's People, a NewsHour series about South African life during apartheid, and the other for general coverage of Africa in 1998. Hunter-Gault also was the recipient of the 1986 Journalist of the Year Award from the National Association of Black Journalists, the 1990 Sidney Hillman Award, the American Women in Radio and Television award, the Good Housekeeping Broadcast Personality of the Year Award, and a 2004 National Association of Black Journalists Award for her CNN series on Zimbabwe. She has also received awards from Amnesty International for her Human Rights reporting, especially her PBS Series, Rights and Wrongs, a human rights television magazine. In August 2005, she was inducted in the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame. She is a sought after public speaker, holds more than two dozen honorary degrees, is on the board of The Committee to Protect Journalists and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
While at Barnard, Ms. Hunter-Gault attended classes with students and delivered a Power TalkLEARN MORE

2011:    Frances X. Frei, the UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management at Harvard Business School 

Frances Frei is a Professor in the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School and the Senior Associate Dean, Director of Faculty Planning and Recruiting.  She is the best-selling author of Uncommon Service: How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business (Harvard Business Review Press). Her research examines how organizations can build service models that reliably deliver excellence.  Her work has been published in top-tier journals such as Management Science and Harvard Business Review.  In addition, she has published dozens of case studies across a variety of industries, including financial services, government, retail, software, telecommunications, and hospitality.  These cases include Zipcar, eBay, Southwest Airlines, Tiffany’s, Houston Rockets, Commerce Bank, Progressive Insurance, Orient Express Hotels and Zappos, among others.  While visiting at Athena, Professor Frei joined students in classes, worked with Center staff and delivered a Power Talk  entitled, Reverence: Leading Organizations with Excellence and Integrity. LEARN MORE