Blog: HER Story Andrea Stevenson Conner
Andrea Stevenson Conner is on a journey to liberate greatness in women around the world
Activist Coretta Scott King said, Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved, I believe that you must become its soul. This is one of my favorite quotations because it speaks the truth. Empowering women helps companies thrive, economies grow, families flourish, and can indeed help repair the soul of a nation.
When I was in college, two university administrators saw the future leader in me before I could see it in myself. They recognized my natural ability to connect with people and attract others to stand behind a cause. Dr. Lawhorne and Dr. Rue gave me my first experiences in a boardroom as an observer and showed me what to strive for. Because of them, I served on my first nonprofit board at the age of twenty-one. Thirty years later, I‘ve now been an advocate and executive leader in four countries.
My career journey reflects my commitment to empowering women from the classroom to the boardroom through the gender multiplier effect. I‘ve had the honor of effecting change as a member of the USNC UN Women, working as the Director of Resource Development and Marketing for China at the World Academy for the Future of Women, as the President of ATHENA International, and now as VP of Programs for Springboard Enterprises.
Springboard‘s mission is to accelerate the growth of entrepreneurial companies led by women through access to essential resources and a global community of experts. It is the leading network of influencers, investors, and innovators dedicated to building high-growth companies led by women transforming the technology and life science industries.
Liberating greatness is what I love to do.
I get to work with a fantastic team of emerging leaders, helping them find their leadership voice. Acting as a connector for our women entrepreneurs who are innovating in the life sciences and digital health sectors is incredibly motivating.
Every day, I want to wake up and feel that I am making a difference. A title no longer drives me, and I like that place. My next big hairy audacious goal is to empower women and girls in developing countries economically.
The path to inspiring leadership in technology
I didn‘t begin my career journey with a technology endgame in mind. I started with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. Growing up, I‘d never envisioned all the tools we would have and how much impact that technology would have. But we are all technologists in today‘s world. From following the trends in women‘s leadership, the World Economics reports, and the evidence of the negative impact of the 4th industrial revolution on women‘s equality progress, I became an advocate for women in technology.
I’m proud to work with The WIT Network in collaboration with Christine Bongard and Corinne Sharp to incubate the ATHENA Emerging Leaders‘ cohorts. The WIT Network is a sisterhood and an ecosystem for women to thrive, and I love contributing to the conversation that supports emerging women leaders in finding their voice.
My advice to emerging leaders and young women with big dreams is to live life to its fullest by staying curious. Embrace new experiences, opportunities, and foods, meet new people, and if you have the chance to travel, do it—go and be inspired by the world.