Propelling Women into Leadership Roles
With Coco Brown
Coco Brown wants to see the world evolve. And she’s not willing to wait: She works tirelessly to propel women into well-deserved leadership roles and help them thrive there.
Coco is the Founder and CEO of Athena Alliance, a SaaS platform for women seeking to gain, expand and master leadership roles. Athena Alliance provides live and on-demand learning, networking, coaching, and access to career opportunities for the world’s top women leaders. With Athena’s support, thousands of women have advanced their executive careers and more than 300 women have landed board seats.
Prior to founding Athena Alliance, Coco served as COO, President and Board Director at Taos, where she led the company out of near-bankruptcy and ushered them towards their successful acquisition by IBM.
Coco is also a renowned Keynote Speaker and Writer. She has spoken at Microsoft’s elite global CEO Summit and has been published in Fortune, Forbes, NACD, WSJ, and Bloomberg. She has also received a variety of leadership awards, from Business Woman of the Year in Silicon Valley and San Francisco to Silicon Valley’s top 100 Women of Influence.
Keep the pulse on shifts in business and culture…
When asked about the rise of women in executive roles, Coco Brown has plenty of valuable insight. Before she realized there was an issue, she was already at the top – and realized that there weren’t a lot of other women at the top with her.
After doing some digging and examining cultural attitudes, she noticed powerful trends towards a more conscious model of commerce, a steady increase in consumer power and a collective desire to create a better world through better business. A lot of these shifts are being explored by women, nonbinary individuals and people of color who are rising into positions previously filled by men – or conceptualizing new executive positions that have never existed before.
How will you create the future?
By empowering women and historically-excluded individuals to ascend into leadership roles, Athena Alliance works to build a more diverse and prosperous world for all people. Their goal is to be a resource for leaders who want to grow in their positions and be the best in their respective industrues, and they have members hailing from industry giants including Microsoft, Bank of America, and Disney; as well as rising leaders like Databricks, Stripe and TalkDesk.
During her research Coco Brown looked to the history of the stock market. She realized that men have had hundreds of years to become comfortable with investing, risk-taking, entrepreneurship and leadership, while women are just now learning some of these skills. Just like men did during the conception of the stock exchange, Coco recognized a need for information-sharing in order to give women the boost they need. Unlike a traditional MBA which can at times become irrelevant even by graduation day, Coco sought to construct a place for powerful and knowledgeable women can share information in order to success in business. Now, Athena Alliance has an on-demand learning platform to help executives flourish, develop and grow as leaders. In minutes, members of Athena Alliance can access half a dozen women sharing their own experiences and giving valuable professional advice.
“There’s been a fundamental flipping of power from businesses to consumers. It almost doesn’t matter how poor you are, you have a device in your hand and a voice. Companies are no longer able to tell people what a brand feels like, how you should feel and who you become when you have the brand…consumers tell brands that!”
“Consumers were being mistreated by brands and are taking control. That fundamental shift is what has created the adoption of conscious capitalism in the United States.”
“If the power is changing, and the powers that be are paying attention, then what is required at the top of leadership is a lot more integrated than it ever was before. It’s a shift away from valuing risk-taking at all expense, competition and the fight to win….traits we consider very masculine. It’s a shift towards bringing in vulnerability, cooperation, co-opetition, caring for society and for one another, and these are very feminine qualities.”
“If you’re going to be a senior leader, you have to have a dynamic way of keeping your finger on the pulse of wisdom. That is an increasingly difficult challenge.”
“Don’t just focus on the endgame. Focus on being a great leader throughout. We’re all so busy – We need to get access to learning in a dynamic and instantaneous way.”
“I’m compelled to try to help whenever I can. If I walk away from someone with their hand out on the street, I’m very aware of what my justification is. That is not a Mother Thesa virtue… I just get disappointed when I don’t see other people helping. It’s disappointing when we get so caught up in our own needs that we don’t see the needs of others. That’s central to my brand.”
“I want to see the world evolve. I want to see leadership at the top of business represent the demographics of the society that it serves.”
“I want the structure of business to fundamentally change. It was designed around the elites and the factory model. The way you progress and get access to opportunities are based around the elite.”
Links mentioned in this episode:
Visit the Athena Alliance Website: www.athenaalliance.com
Connect with Coco Brown on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cocobrown/
Follow The Athena Alliance on LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/company/the-athena-alliance
Follow The Athena Alliance on Twitter: https://twitter.com/athenaalliance
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