Next cohort starts Jun 4
9-week virtual course
20 in-class hours
Taught by leading board experts
Certificate of completion
Sonali Sambhus

I can’t thank Athena enough for landing this (first) board seat. Athena was instrumental in getting me in front of the CEO. Athena empowered me with all the necessary information as I progressed through the many stages from screening, to identifying if this was the right fit, to assessing the offer.

who we supported to the board of Commonbond

Comprehensive support for your board journey

  • Weekly live sessions with board experts to learn boardroom fundamentals and best practices for your board search
  • Weekly Office Hours to ask follow-up questions and get extra support from experienced board directors
  • 1:1 mentoring session with an Athena Board Expert; you can use this time to review your documents or get focused feedback on your search, networking, or interview strategies
  • Ongoing monthly Peer Group exclusively for graduates of the course to stay up-to-date on governance trends and board search best practices.
  • Certificate of completion + a digital badge of completion to upload to your LinkedIn profile


Excludes cost of Athena Alliance membership.
Membership + course cost is $7,000.

register now

Accelerate your board journey

We’ve placed over 400 women on leading boards including Zillow, Bose, Carlotz, PNC Bank, Dropbox, Noodles & Co., and more. We can’t wait to support you, too.

Athena Academy’s Board Readiness Course is designed to help you understand board service, identify the type of board that’s right for your experience, build your network, and maximize your chance of success in your board search.

Modules are taught by experienced board directors bringing practical, from-the-trenches perspectives. All sessions are highly interactive and designed to create a “safe space” to ask and discuss everything you’ve wanted to know about board service.

Backed by the wisdom of Athena’s executive development community of the top women in business, the Board Readiness Course is your launchpad to leading at the board level.

We've helped hundreds of women find their seat in the boardroom. Are you ready?

Next Cohort starts
Jun 4

register now
*Future cohorts will be optimized for other time zones

Designed to educate & accelerate future board leaders

This 9-week course is fully remote with weekly sessions (ranging from 2 to 3½ hours) held over Zoom.

You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of the role of the board, your role as a director, how the board operates, and how to position yourself for a board seat, including…

  • The roles and responsibilities of board directors
  • The different types of boards operating in today’s governance landscape
  • The board’s role in strategy and risk oversight
  • The key board committees and their functions
  • The fundamentals of ESG+T (environmental, social, governance + technology)
  • The distinction between leading from the boardroom and C-suite and how to interact with executives as a board director
  • The nuances of boardroom dynamics and culture
  • A complete toolkit for how to strategically approach your board search, including networking strategies, identifying your fit and delivering your value with confidence, nailing the board interview, and more
R. Sharon Smith

I’m an aspiring board director, and Athena walked me through the whole process. They helped me distill why I’m interested in board service and what I bring to the table in the boardroom, as well as the more tangible pieces like reshaping my CV to be more appealing for a public or private company board. 

EVP @ Chief Strategy Officer at Ambac

Meet our board experts

Learn governance best practices from the brightest minds in the modern boardroom. We’ve handpicked experienced board directors from the Athena network who will offer highly practical insights and behind-the-scenes wisdom you won’t find anywhere else.

Erin Essenmacher

Sitting board director at the New Community Transformation Fund and The Future Directors Institute; Former board director at Eileen Fisher & Docs in Progress; Former NACD President Erin is a C-suite leader, award-winning storyteller, strategic advisor, and board member with a proven talent for synthesizing complex issues, market trends, emerging ideas, and stakeholder perspectives to create visionary and results-focused strategies. She has advised boards and management teams on oversight of strategy and risk and is a frequent speaker and writer on a range of issues related to the modern leadership and the future of the boardroom.

Gail Marcus

Sitting board director at Natera, binx health, and Cambridge Epigenetix Gail is a seasoned healthcare executive and board chair with experience leading a broad range of companies from microcap to the F100. An expert in risk oversight, she brings an in-depth understanding of the complex U.S. healthcare environment and strong financial and operational leadership experience.

Christine Gorjanc

Sitting board director at Carbon Health, Zymergen, Juniper Networks, and Invitae Christine is an experienced public company Chief Financial Officer, board member, audit committee chair, and advisor with extensive operational experience working with multi-national, high-tech, biotech, and healthcare companies.

Britt Ide

Sitting board director at Atlis Motor Vehicles, NorthWestern Energy & Technosylva Britt is an experienced public and private company director whose executive career (CEO, CSO, CLO) spans diverse industries and operations (engineering, M&A, manufacturing, distribution, HR, IT, marketing, sales). She is adept at transforming traditional industries for the future, bringing innovative tech to scale and helping boards navigate issues around ESG. She is a longtime and sought-after Athena coach supporting women on their journey to the boardroom.

Christine Heckart

Sitting board director at Contentful, SiTime & Next Generation Director's Academy; Founder & CEO at Xapa World Christine has experience on both sides of the board table as a CEO and board director. She has over 25 years of experience in the technology industry as CEO, GM, president, and CMO in industries that include entertainment, SaaS, data analytics, security, networking, and storage. She is an expert in strategy and market transitions and has led transformation in high growth markets. Christine was recently named one of the Fifty Most Powerful Women in Technology by the National Diversity Council and a 2016 Woman of Influence by Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Rochelle Campbell

Expert in governance, diversity, and board recruitment; Sitting board director at the Private Directors Association & CEO of Leadership Elevated Rochelle is an accomplished operations executive, board recruiter, and thought leader focusing on governance, policy, D&I, and board succession planning. Rochelle led the board search practice for the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), where she placed more than a dozen board members on with a focus on placing diverse candidates on PE-backed and public company boards. In her role she both worked with boards to successfully place new directors and advised dozens of candidates on board readiness, interview prep, and how to craft a compelling value proposition. As CEO of Leadership Elevated, Rochelle advises boards on leading governance and board composition practices.

Coco Brown

Sitting board director at ArcherPoint; Former board director at Taos; Founder & CEO at Athena Alliance Coco is a founder, CEO, and board member in investor-backed, private companies, SaaS, and professional/managed services. She’s served on 10 boards providing guidance around M&A, divestiture, audit, CEO succession and compensation, corporate strategy, and more. A recognized thought leader on the modern boardroom, Coco was named to the inaugural list of Silicon Valley’s top 100 Power Players by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

Cate Goethals

Certified leadership coach (PCC, CHIC) with a focus on propelling women to the boardroom, Professor at the University of Washington Foster School of Business Cate Goethals has inspired hundreds of leaders to unleash their personal and professional power, working with brands from Amazon and Autodesk to Boeing and the United States Postal Service. Through her work Cate has helped high-level executives understand both what it takes to sit on a board and they unique value they bring to the boardroom. A former journalist, corporate communications specialist who holds an MFA in creative writing, Cate understands the power of storytelling and centers this in her coaching practice.

Carol Coughlin

Sitting board director at HopeBridge, Inc., GoodCap Pharmaceuticals, Inc., University of Maryland Medical Center, & CEO of Bottom Line Growth Strategies. Carol is an accomplished healthcare CFO with a track record of achieving profitability through growth, highly successful turnarounds, and M&A. An experienced public company board leader, certified financial expert, and audit committee chair, Carol is highly skilled in corporate governance including board refreshment, strategic alternatives, and M&A for growth and highly regulated companies.

Chelsea Grayson

Sitting board director at Morphe, Exponential Fitness, Vireo Health; CEO at Spark Networks. Chelsea is an experienced CEO, corporate board member, and advisor to public and private companies. She served as General Counsel of American Apparel and has served in three CEO roles including at American Apparel, True Religion, and now Spark Networks. She has served on boards across industries and is an expert in crisis, turnaround, corporate culture, strategy and brand.

Nora Denzel

Sitting board director at Norton LifeLock, AMD and SUSE Linux. Former board member of Ericsson, Redbox, Saba and Overland Storage Nora built her career as a Silicon Valley technology Executive (HP, IBM, Legato and Intuit). She has served on dozens of non-profit, private, advisory and public-company boards, including multinationals based in Spain, Germany and Sweden. She currently serves as the Lead Independent Director of AMD, chairs the compensation committee at SUSE and serves on the technology committees of both Norton Lifelock and AMD. As a board member, her functional expertise is applying technology to transform companies, achieving innovation at scale, and turning technical concepts into narratives and strategies everyone can understand.

Paula Cholmondeley

Sitting board director at Terex Corporation, Bank of the Ozarks & CEO of the Sorrel Group. Paula is a seasoned corporate director and designated financial expert with a strong profit and loss background. She has served on 10 public company boards across industries and sectors and has chaired every major committee. Paula has expertise in oversight of strategy and risk, board dynamics, expansion into global and emerging markets, and succession planning.

Jessica Lau

Expert in public company board search; Principal of the Ransom Group Jessica has spent nearly a decade as a search professional working across all facets of the process to place dozens of board members and C-suite leaders. Prior to her role at The Ransom Group, Jessica spent more than five years at Heidrick & Struggles, where she focused on board and CEO searches across the Fortune 500.

Jeannie Diefenderfer

Sitting director Irth Solutions, DigitalBridge, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees. Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering; Former CEO Higher Ambition Leadership Alliance. Jeannie has served more than a dozen boards in the public, private and university space and has gained a reputation as a business leader who turns the challenges of modern corporations into profitable opportunities, in part with a focus on customers as a competitive advantage. She has nearly 30 years operating experience in technical and operational roles including at Verizon Communications, where as Senior Vice President of Global Engineering & Planning, she led the implementation of over $10 billion in capital to expand Verizon’s global backbone network across six continents.

Mary Beth Vitale

Sitting director GEHA, Luna Innovations, Inc.; Former CEO Westwind Media. Mary Beth is former media and technology executive and SEC Audit Committee Qualified Financial Expert (QFE) who has served on nearly a dozen corporate boards, both public and private. She has chaired every major committee across her board portfolio and currently chairs the Risk and Technology Committee at GEHA, Inc. Previously she also served as Lead Independent Director at Eye-Ris, Inc and chairs the board of Women Corporate Directors.  Mary Beth is recognized for her expertise in oversight of technology and cyber risk.  Her governance experience includes taking a public company through a restatement, NASDAQ de-listing, restructuring and ultimate sale and overseeing the replacement of four CEO's to ensure preservation of shareholder value.

Shelly Lombard

Sitting board member for Craft 1861/Nano Cures and Alpha Metallurgical Resources; Former board director at Bed Bath & Beyond, Alaska Communications, & INNOVATE; LP investor in Brain Trust Fund. Shelly spent 30+ years on Wall Street investing in the debt and equity of companies, which gives her a unique perspective in the boardroom. Her specialties include  evaluating companies' financials in order to assess financial health, balance sheet management, and leveraging the capital markets and investor relations to maximize value for stakeholders. Her familiarity with the public markets and how investors value securities give her a strong lens on how companies think about long-term value creation.  Her board work spans early stage companies to the F500.

Anna Catalano

Sitting director HF Sinclair Corporation, Frontdoor, Ecovyst, and Hexion, Inc. Anna C. Catalano manages an active board portfolio, serving as an independent director for public and private corporations and not-for-profit organizations. She is a Director of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), Corporate Directors Institute, and Chair of the NACD Texas TriCities Chapter. She is Co-Founder of The World Innovation Network and has significant experience in the not-for-profit sector having served as a board member of the Alzheimer’s Association and the Houston Grand Opera. With over 40 years of corporate experience including over two decades of service on public boards, Ms. Catalano is an expert on the topics of board governance and leadership, and an outspoken champion of women in business.

Andrea Bonime-Blanc

Sitting board director at Cyber Future Foundation, NACD New Jersey Chapter, Epic Theatre Ensemble, Athena Alliance & Wirex Systems; Founder & CEO at GEC Risk Advisory LLC Andrea is a strategic governance, risk, ESG, tech, ethics and cyber advisor to business, NGOs, and government. A former senior global corporate executive (Bertelsmann, Verint, PSEG), she serves on several boards and advisory boards. She is Independent Ethics Advisor to the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, Independent ESG & Integrity Advisor to the Platform for Social Impact and a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Gabriele Famous

Athena Alliance is a tremendous resource and network for board directors, giving busy executives support throughout their board career – from building a board bio and positioning to providing industry and governance details. Athena is my trusted resource for board insights and world-class networking.

Board Director at Mighty Kingdom, Keep It Cleaner & Versent
Sylvie Veilleux

Athena Alliance was instrumental to me in preparing for board of director roles. Athena provided me with the tools to position my value as a board member and a network I can trust and continue to learn from.

who we supported to the board of Cinchy

Who should apply

This course is designed for modern leaders in and around the C-suite who are seeking a board seat.

  • Sitting board directors and aspiring directors
  • People who want to learn from experienced board directors who’ve been in trenches and understand the modern landscape of board service
  • People who want help expanding their network in pursuit of a board seat
  • People who want a high-touch cohort experience

Have questions? Talk to a member of our team.

Ebony Beckwith

Athena Alliance has provided me with an amazing network of women who are actively serving on boards. Learning from their real-world experiences has been invaluable in preparing me for my own board search.

Chief Business Officer & Chief of Staff at Salesforce, Board Director at Poshmark
Tony Leng
From an Athena Board Match client

Athena does important work of identifying, preparing, and educating executives for board roles (public, private, and not-for-profit). Athena has helped me identify well-qualified executives for open board roles. The team is responsive and on point with candidate suggestions and have become my “go to” as soon as I get a board assignment.

Managing Partner, CIO and CTO Global Functional Head

Accelerate your career with Athena Academy

Athena Academy brings together community and learning in an intimate setting, while delivering everything you need to know about what the job entails and requires – whether you’re striving for the C-suite or boardroom or simply want overall executive development. These courses will arm you with a toolkit to successfully land the role you’re seeking. You can connect live with other members, learn from and ask questions to experts who've "been there, done that", and accelerate your journey to reaching your career goal – all within Athena Academy. More courses launching soon.