People and Companies

ATHENA Orlando Women’s Leadership, Inc.



Jennifer Johnson, Vice President;
Karen Keene, President;
and Traci Smith, Secretary/Treasurer




ATHENA International is quickly becoming a female-fueled powerhouse within the Central Florida community. The global, non-profit organization was founded in 1982 by Martha Mertz and encompasses eight programs that inspire women to reach their full potential and strives to create balance in leadership worldwide.

Recognizing the need to celebrate mentoring, ATHENA Orlando Women’s Leadership, Inc. was first introduced in 2012 by founders, Karen Keene, Jennifer Johnson and Traci Smith. Every fall, the organization holds a community luncheon with honorary chair, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs. The event brings together hundreds of established women leaders and their up-and-coming counterparts. Attendees engage in roundtable discussions about the guiding principles that help women to build bridges across professional levels and generations. A portion of the proceeds are utilized to honor women who exemplify future role models. ATHENA established a $100,000 scholarship through the UCF Foundation to benefit outstanding female students.

Female entrepreneurs are one of the fastest growing segments in Florida and mentoring is vital to their success. ATHENAPowerLink® is designed to “link” a panel of business advisors to women business owners for one year. Each panel is tailored to the company’s specific needs, to help them increase growth and profitability.

Orlando’s ATHENA movement shows no signs of slowing down in 2015. The ATHENA NextGen series kicks off this month at UCF’s Executive Development Center. It’s a collaborative forum for professionals who are ready to take a deep dive and learn skills that will help them become the next generation of women leaders. They receive pearls of wisdom from leaders such as Sandy Hostetter, Diana Bolivar, Kimberly Maki and Annetta Wilson – women who have made significant contributions to their professions and the business community.

This article appears in the May 2015 issue of i4 Business.
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