ATHENA Leadership Model


The ATHENA Leadership Model, developed by Martha Mertz, has led to an international presence, with communities and individuals across the globe benefiting from awards and curriculum based on the eight principles from the leadership model.

Developed through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the model identifies eight distinct attributes that are reflective of women’s contributions to leadership: living authentically, learning constantly, advocating fiercely, acting courageously, fostering collaboration, building relationships, giving back and celebrating. These personal traits that are more intuitive to women, and combined with the strongest aspects of traditional leadership - taking risks, assertiveness, hard work - prepare women to be successful leaders in the 21st century.


Under the ATHENA Leadership Model, distinctive awards, education and mentoring programs have been created to honor and foster women in leadership:

  • The ATHENA Leadership Award, to honor leaders
  • Becoming ATHENA, for emerging, evolving and established leaders
  • ATHENAPowerLink® Program, for business mentoring
  • Women Really Mean Business Podcast, for education
  • Affiliate Program, for continued leadership development

We know the value of emerging and transformative styles of leadership that are closely tied to the intuitive strengths that women bring to leadership. The ATHENA Leadership Model captures these principles for use in contemporary settings, while acknowledging that they have been handed down from women across the world and over generations. In short, the ATHENA Leadership Model meets the needs of emerging leaders and speaks convincingly to women leaders who will head the organizations of the future.

View our programs to learn more.

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