SEPT. 24, 2016

Free pre-conference day trip to the Eighth Annual ArtPrize® open international art competition in Grand Rapids, Mich. hosted and sponsored by Start Garden.
  • Round-trip travel from the Radisson Hotel Lansing at the Capitol
  • Light lunch at Start Garden
  • Presentation by ArtPrize Executive Director Christian Gaines at ArtPrize headquarters
  • View one-of-a-kind 2-D, 3-D, time-based and installation art by 1,500 artists at some of the 182 ArtPrize venues
  • Vote for your favorite art


SEPT. 25, 2016

1:00-5:00 PM Urban Beat in Old Town

Shopping, Entertainment & Conference Check In
2pm showing of "SECOND SHIFT, from Crisis to Collaboration" followed by panel discussion.

Old Town shops and galleries will be open.

6:00-9:00 PM Michigan History Museum

Opening Reception and Strolling Dinner

Unleash the Power

What principles have guided Congresswoman Dingell in her more than 30-year career as president of the General Motors Foundation, as a long time advocate for women and children and, now, as a member of Congress? Learn to unleash the power of relationship building and coming together as women to ignite global – and local – change.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell


SEPT. 26, 2016

7:00-11:30 AM Lansing Center

Conference Check-In

7:30-8:00 AM Exhibit Hall A

Welcome, Breakfast and Kick-off

ATHENA International returns to its Lansing, Mich., birthplace to celebrate 35 years of supporting, developing and honoring women leaders across the globe. How can we inspire future generations of women to seize leadership roles in their industries, communities and society at large?
Andrea Stevenson Conner, ATHENA International
Sarah Jennings, Ignite8 Chair

8:00-8:20 AM Exhibit Hall A

ATHENA Was, Is and Will Be-
Forging the Future

Baby boomers started it. Gen Xers built it. Millennials are embracing it. Women today are making history by changing the practice of leadership. Learn how women are reaching out across the globe for a long-sought, hard-fought balance in the voices of leadership.

Martha Mayhood Mertz, Founder

8:20-8:45 AM Exhibit Hall A

Michigan ATHENA Welcome!
ATHENA Recognition
David Lorenz, Travel Michigan


8:50-9:15 AM Exhibit Hall A

Impact of ATHENA Leadership

The most important discovery during ATHENA’S past 35 years is learning how women lead. Now our task is to recognize, practice and honor the leadership strengths drawn from women – and create the leaders of tomorrow.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow
Martha Mayhood Mertz, Founder

9:15-9:40 AM

Ignite Break

9:40-10:30 AM Ballrooms 1-8

Breakout Session A

ATHENA Powerlink Program

Linda Stevenson
Jan Davies McDermott
Marisa Smith
Megan Torrance

Financial Empowerment for Women

LEARN the latest intelligence on women and money. CELEBRATE women’s natural abilities and unique challenges regarding financial planning. ACT on steps you can implement immediately to strengthen your personal finances and not outlive your money.

Carina Diamond

Grow Your Leadership Team

To create the best team, you first need to find the courage to know yourself and foster an environment where your teammates can thrive. How can we be leaders who care, believe in ourselves and are committed to building up our organization and those around us?

Jacqueline Taylor, Ph.D.
Grace Menzel

Advocate Fiercely for Others

When life gets overwhelming and it feels like there’s no way out, there’s always hope. Learn how faith sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible. Raja Marhaba shares the trials, tribulations and sacrifices her family endured while fighting for special education services for her son. Dr. Lewis Jones, a breast health expert, will share the importance of advocating for others through education.

Raja Marhaba
Lewis Jones, M.D.

10:30-10:50 AM

Ignite Break

10:50-11:40 AM Ballrooms 1-8

Breakout Session B

Shaping the Next Generation of Leaders

We know millennial women value inspirational messages, trusting relationships and brands that allow them to connect with each other. But what’s the best way to empower them to become the leaders of tomorrow? Join us to learn how ATHENA Connections focuses on collegiate women and ATHENA NextGen is helping young career women develop their unique leadership potential.

Karen Keene
Tiffany Hughes

Defeating Self-Doubt: Finding the Courage to Get Out of Your Own Way

Self-doubt is an insidious and, many times, invisible barrier to achieving our full potential. Learn how we can overcome those haunting doubts and find the courage to take action in the face of fear. With strength, grit and optimism, you can move from where you are to where you want to be. Courage truly is taking a jump – and there’s no time like the present!

Rene Greff
Col. Liesl R. Carter

Shape the World by Changing Work Culture

We all know that dynamic and effective work cultures attract and retain the best of the best. But how do we shape that culture and nurture women leaders? Learn how to create an environment that fosters work-life fulfillment, opportunity and growth for all of us.

Tracy Brower, Ph.D.
Sue Perlin

Building Relationships to Become Better Leaders

Collaboration is the key to growing a successful organization. Jennifer Maxson consults with leadership teams across the country, helping them build relationships to achieve effective governance. But how do we work our way up the ladder in a nontraditional environment? Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, the first female director of the Michigan State Police, discusses how she built relationships in the face of skepticism – and how those challenges continue driving her today.

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue
Jennifer Maxson


Ignite Break

Noon-1:30 PM Exhibit Hall A


What it Means to BE ATHENA

Women leaders grow stronger together. How do we foster mentorships to make a difference in our communities and businesses? Learn how to “BE” ATHENA by living the ATHENA Principles of Enlightened Leadership every day.
MaryLee Davis, Ph.D.
First ATHENA Award Recipient
ATHENA Award Presentation
National ATHENA Leadership Award Recipient: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, pediatrician who identified lead poisoning in Flint, Mich. children

1:45-2:35 PM Exhibit Hall A

Leadership at a Young Age

So often we are thrown into leadership with the first promotion, without ever having considered leadership styles and leadership success. This engaging panel session will focus on the importance of reaching out to younger women to begin the discussion on leadership – before that first promotion and before college graduation. The ATHENA Leadership Model is an ideal way to empower women and to foster natural leadership styles for greater success.

Facilitator: Carol Cain
Speakers: Suzy Merchant
Lisa Corless

3:00-4:00 PM

Fierce Advocacy: Fighting Human Trafficking

The horrific epidemic of human trafficking is all too real, yet invisible to most of us. How can we as individuals and businesses detect sex and labor slavery and avoid being a victim – or accomplice – to this abominable crime? Learn how corporations can preserve their reputations, prepare for increasing anti-slavery regulations, and adopt best practices to combat human trafficking.

Laurel Bellows
ATHENA Award Presentation
ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award Recipients: Andrea Pino and Annie Clark, End Rape on Campus

4:00-6:00 PM Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum

Tour and Refreshments (Optional)

6:00-10:00 PM Home of Stella* and Jerry Cash

Dinner, Arts and Entertainment

*Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce
ATHENA Award recipient



SEPT. 27, 2016

7:00-8:00 AM Exhibit Hall A

Creating Inclusive, Thriving Communities and Continental Breakfast

How can the power of collective thinking translate into the creation of inclusive, thriving communities? Partnerships with organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce can be a key to successful economic development.

Grace Dzidzienyo, enyo international, Inc. 

8:00-9:30 AM

Option 1 - ATHENA World Café

Discussion between Lansing, MI (USA), Shanghai, China and Monterrey, Mexico on the ATHENA Leadership Model with a short description by facilitators then breakout into groups for discussion and perspectives on each principle.

Martha Mayhood Mertz (Lansing Facilitator)
Kristine Quade Ph.D. (Lansing Facilitator)
Carol Schoch (Shanghai Facilitator)
TBA (Monterrey Facilitator)

Option 2 - Global Perspectives on Diversity in Entrepreneurism

Join us for this high-energy, engaging session offering a range of perspectives on women and entrepreneurship. How do we overcome the inherent challenges women face in the workplace and capitalize on our successes?

Facilitator: TBA
Nguyen Cam Nhung, Ph.D.
Allison Dorst
Yoky Yu Ida Odinga, Ph.D.

9:30-9:40 AM

Transition Break


9:40-10:30 AM Ballrooms 1-8

Breakout Session C

Communicate with Style

Learn innovative branding techniques to communicate your character and commitment to others. By developing an authentic and unique brand voice – and implementing this brand position across multiple media platforms including print, web, social media and app design – we create a powerful, recognizable connection to the world.

Wayne Baker, Ph.D.
Stephanie Parrish
Heather Stonebraker

Impact Your Community

Leaving a legacy is not something you necessarily plan and mark off a list. Leaving a legacy is thinking about your personal mission statement, what you’re passionate about and how it will change your community. Whether it’s entrepreneurism, women’s safety or empowerment of young women, a legacy is being built with all of the efforts that are put forth. The legacy will be felt for generations to come.

Nguyen Bich Ha
April Boyle

Living Your Best Life

Do you dream of waking up feeling completely rested, lean and toned, mentally sharp, prescription-free and excited about your day – even before your first cup of coffee? Achieving that dream is easier than you think. Learn how to maximize your energy and start living your best life.

Susan Maples, D.D.S.

Serve the Greater Good

If we want a new generation of capable leaders, then it’s up to each of us to help mold them. Learn some of the best techniques for equipping young women with the skills they’ll need to succeed in business – and change the world.

Carolyn Cassin
Shelli Dallacqua

10:30-10:40 AM

Transition Break

10:40-10:50 AM

ATHENA Award Presentation
National ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award Recipient: The Weight Watchers Group (presented to President and CEO Florine Mark)

10:50-11:30 AM

Why a Diverse Leadership Team is
Key Across the Globe
In a global economy, the ATHENA principles of learning constantly, building relationships and giving back are more important than ever. How can your team find success in an ever-changing and diverse world?

Facilitator: D. Keith Pigues, Luminas Strategy
Mari Kay Scott, Executive Director
of Global Environmental Compliance and Sustainability, General Motors

11:30 AM-1:00 PM Exhibit Hall A


Igniting Your Passion to be a Leader

Keynote Speaker: Actor/Humanitarian Ashley Judd


WE WELCOME YOU TO JOIN USRegistration closed