Coco Brown’s Athena Alliance Is Bringing More Women To The Boardroom

Women make up 47% of the workforce in the US today and account for 85% of consumer purchasing decisions. We have previously highlighted female entrepreneurs and CEOs and their success stories building businesses from nothing to billion dollar companies, so the next question to ask is why are women only 12% of the people sitting in board rooms and more importantly what can be done about it. Coco Brown’s Athena Alliance, formed in 2016, is providing a solution to this problem.

Brown has built her career working for companies where the most valuable assets have been their people, particularly F1000 companies, startups and nonprofits in the roles of CEO/President, COO, advisor and board member and her experience taught her that there needs to be more women at the top, sitting in the board rooms.

According to Coco, the way most CEOs and board members select another person for their board is to look through their network. If that network is not diverse enough then there is a problem.

“Board members, usually men, will usually pick — consciously or unconsciously — someone from their network. More often than not, this person will look a lot like them”. -    Coco Brown, Medium

“Board members, usually men, will usually pick — consciously or unconsciously — someone from their network. More often than not, this person will look a lot like them”. - Coco Brown, Medium

Through the Athena Alliance, Brown finds women with qualities suitable for board room positions and then makes the necessary introductions to companies they’d be great for using her network. They have partnered with 75 organisations to coach and mentor women for leadership roles and secured 172 interviews in support of 97 board seats. 55 of these board matches are in progress today and 14 have resulted in board placements to date.

We believe that this is exactly the kind of change needed for the future of gender equality in the workplace. Making sure women gain access to leadership positions means they would be in a place to support and promote gender diversity throughout the companies they are part of and make it a core part of the company culture. As a female led company ourselves, and with one in five members on Shello being self-employed, we want to empower women in business and make sure they have a strong support network to rely on. To find out more, connect with other strong women and share career or business advice, download the app.