In the Project Athena film there are several successful female speakers, who address how they have persevered through the sexism they have faced. Each of these women is from a different professional field, and they all have different experiences. All the women below are featured in the film, with the exception of Ashley Judd, who only spoke at the live conference.
Ashley Judd will be the keynote speaker of the conference (will not be included in film). Judd graduated from the University of Kentucky, majoring in French and minoring in Women's Studies, Art History, Anthropology, and Theater. She started her career as an actress as a Starfleet Officer in Startrek. Since then, Judd has acted and starred in numerous films, including Divergent, Double Jeopardy, and a Dog's Way Home. Meanwhile, she received a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics from the University of Kentucky and earned a mid-career Master of Public Administration degree (MC/MPA) from Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Years later in 2016, Judd enrolled at UC Berkeley to pursue a Ph.D. in Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, however she is currently on medical leave. Judd has done extensive work in the Equal Rights Movement, especially through her involvement in #MeToo. She has spoken about women's rights on numerous occasions and in recent years has become equally well known for her advocacy as she is for her acting abilities.
Dr. Natalya Bailey is an aerospace engineer who is the CEO of Accion Systems, which she co-founded with Louis Perna. Bailey grew up with strong interests in space and math, which she pursued in college, earning her bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from San Diego University. She continued to earn a master's degree in mechanical engineering at Duke University and later a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During her time at MIT, Bailey spent a lot of time in the Space Propulsion Laboratory, where she conducted a lot of doctoral research. These studies later formed the baseline for Accion Systems which she founded in 2014 and where she currently works as CEO. Accion Systems is a business devoted to accelerating the exploration of space through developing in-space propulsion technologies, and it has partnered with many notable agencies including NASA and Boeing.
Catherine Faddis is the founder and CEO of Grace Capital, an investment advising firm. Faddis was born in Ghana, and grew up there until she moved to Pakistan, and later the United States. She earned a full scholarship to William and Mary, and later enrolled in Harvard Business School, where she earned her MBA. She is the second Ghanian woman ever to graduate from the school. After graduating, Faddis became a global banks analyst with Putnam investments, covering banks across multiple continents. In 2006 she founded Grace Capital, a private investment firm. Faddis is still very involved at Grace Capital, where she not only works as CEO but also as the Chief Investment Officer.
Evelyn Murphy was the first woman to hold a constitutional office in Massachusetts and the 67th lieutenant governor of the state. Murphy was born in Panama, but moved to the US soon after. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in mathematics at Duke University, a master's in economics at Columbia, and later a doctorate in economics from Duke. In the mid seventies, Murphy served as the MA secretary of environmental affairs. She was later appointed as chairman of the National Advisory Committee on Oceans and Atmosphere by President Carter, and in the early eighties, she became the Secretary of Economic Affairs. After these positions, Murphy decided to run for lieutenant governor of MA, and she won against Gerard D'Amico with 60% of the votes. Soon after her term ended, Murphy joined the corporate world for several years, before founding the WAGE Project, an organization to combat the gender pay gap.
Dr. Cynthia Bamdad is a pioneer in the medical field, doing extensive research in the biotech field, specifically related to breast cancer. She graduated Northeastern University with a BS in Physics and earned her Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard University. During her time at Harvard, Bamdad created the first universal protein chip and the first electronic DNA chip. Bamdad has been on the Board of Directors for Pharmacyclics (PCYC), as well as the Principal Investigator on contracts and grants from many institutions including the National Science Foundation and the National Cancer Institute. Bamdad is the founder of Minerva Biotechnologies, where she currently works as the CEO. She is currently working on extensive research on breast cancer.
Mary Murphy is a print, television, and digital journalist, and she has appeared on many television programs including Good Morning America, Today, and CNN's Business Tonight. Murphy was also on the staff of Insider and Entertainment Tonight. She began her career writing for the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and then worked at the Los Angeles Times for several years. Murphy has worked as the West Coast Roving Editor of Esquire Magazine, as the senior writer for TV Guide, and as the entertainment editor for MyTime.com. Murphy currently writes a column in The Wrap called "Now and Then", which focuses on Hollywood and teaches at USC Annenburg. In addition to her numerous achievements in the journalism and film industries, Murphy has done extensive social work regarding the homeless crises in Los Angeles. Working with the Midnight Mission, she has helped fundraise millions of dollars to create the Mission's biggest development program, Building a Home for Hope.
A short documentary film highlighting their experiences will also be posted to this website after the conference.