Las Sendas resident and Athena urge women to be their best
July 9, 2018
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Four years ago, when Las Sendas resident Dr. Kristine Quade met Athena International founder Martha Mertz, she was immediately inspired. Her background was compelling.
“Martha was living in Lansing, Michigan, and had been invited to be the first woman on the board of directors for the (regional) chamber of commerce because she was a real estate developer and a big land developer,” Quade said.
However, when Mertz recommended adding two more women to the board, her male colleagues rejected the idea. As a result, she founded the Athena Foundation, now Athena International. The first Athena awards presentation honoring women was in 1982.
Mertz, who has since moved to Sedona, and Quade started Athena Valley of the Sun, an affiliate of Athena International, in 2015. Athena Valley of the Sun hosts meetings the first Thursday of every month, including Athena Women Ignite Change: Education in Arizona from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. August 2 at HeraHub, fourth-floor conference room, 435, 2111 E. Highland Avenue, Phoenix. The event is free. For reservations, visit athenaaz.com.
“My emphasis is really around the Athena principles, rather than the award, which most people know about,” said Quade, Athena Valley of the Sun CEO.
The guiding principles are: leave no woman leader behind; show up and be seen as a leader; and build the next generation of women senior leaders. Furthermore, the organization’s leadership model, developed through a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, identifies eight distinct attributes: authentic self, relationships, giving back, collaboration, courageous acts, learning, fierce advocacy, celebration and joy. They prepare women to be successful leaders, Quade said.
“When she showed me the guiding principles, I really wanted to stand on that platform,” she said.
“The first one is to ‘live authentically, which is probably the hardest one for anyone to every truly get. It’s about personal identity and personal standards of ethics and values, norms, etc.”
Recently, Athena Valley of the Sun was selected to host the 2019 Athena Global Award in Phoenix on February 27. Past Global Award honorees have included Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The 2019 award recipient will be announced later this year. This will be the first time the award has been presented in Arizona.
Quade’s resume is impressive, having earned a juris doctor from Western State University College of Law, and an organization development master’s degree and an EdD, organization change from Pepperdine University. She and her husband moved from Minnesota to Arizona five years ago.
“The only criterium was we needed to have mountains to look at,” she said with a laugh. “I also wanted a pool and a good airport.”
Two years ago, Quade discovered another “amazing” group of women – high schoolers.
“There are young high school women – juniors and seniors – who are wanting to make their mark,” she said. “I wanted to understand their leadership style and the capacity in which they are leading their schools and causes.”
She started the Young Athena Leadership Program, which offers East Valley girls in grades 11 and 12 the opportunity to explore eight leadership principles through training, service learning activities and motivational experiences. It is a two-phase program with all applicants participating in phase one and identified YA leaders moving on to phase two. The girls were scheduled to pack food at Feed My Starving Children in Mesa in June.
In 2017, the nonprofit launched a “Leave No Woman Behind” program to provide mentors to economically disadvantaged women and an “Executive Leadership Certification Program” to lead workshops for area women. For more information or to become a program sponsor, visit athenaaz.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.