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2016 Athena Pinnacle Award Winners
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2016 Chairman's Award
Karin Eastham has over 30 years of experience in financial and operations management, primarily in life sciences companies.
Karin currently serves as a director for four public biotechnology companies, and the boards of a private biotechnology company and the San Diego Symphony. Her former directorships include Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Genoptix, Trius Therapeutics, among several others. Karin’s career also includes executive positions with the Burnham Institute for Medical Research, Diversa Corporation, CombiChem, Cytel Corporation. and Boehringer Mannheim Diagnostics.
She is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including the 2004 Women Who Mean Business Award, the UCSD Athena 2007 Technology Pinnacle Award and the Corporate Directors Forum 2007 Director of the Year Award in Corporate Governance in addition to the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. In her spare time, Karin is also the author of the award-winning book, Cook the Part: Delicious, Interactive and Fun Team Cooking. This book combines her leadership experience with her passion for cooking.
And, last but not certainly not least, Karin is a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, and an ardent mentor to countless women.
Individual Achievement in Life Sciences
Camille Newton, MD
Dr. Camille Newton is Founder and CEO of PureWick. Purewick has developed an innovative product for women confined to bed or a wheelchair.She designed the product to meet an unmet need that she identified during her medical practice and then self-funded its development. Her perseverance and confidence has led to the product’s adoption and success. The product was selected as 2nd runner up in the 2014 Dare to Dream Med Tech Design Challenge.
Camille’s path to CEO of a start-up was not conventional. She graduated from medical school in 1993 (having attended as a parent), served an internship at Camp Pendleton Hospital and is a Gulf War veteran having served as one of the 1st women to be deployed with the Marines in the Persian Gulf.
She returned to start a family practice in San Diego in which she was innovative in her approach to healthcare. Today Camille continues to teach young physicians and inspire women in science and technology.
Individual Achievement in Education
Lauren Lek is Head of School of the all girls’ high school, Our Lady of Peace.
In her three-year tenure, Lauren has introduced an impressive array of creative, hands-on STEM projects in which the participating students went on to win prestigious citywide awards. She has promoted talented teachers, and collaborated with many other organizations that support the academic initiative, STEAM, which recognizes the academic disciplines of science, technology, and math as equally important as engineering and the arts.
She creates partnerships with other entities interested in and supportive of STEM education and makes sure her students meet prominent women in science. This past year the graduating class saw 30% of its graduates pursuing STEM majors in college, which is double the co-ed national average.
Lauren has implemented all this while earning her EdD from Pepperdine and raising three children, 6 years and under.
Individual Achievement in Technology
Tricia Ward has achieved unimpeachable professional success. She had a 21-year career in the US Navy, rising through the enlisted ranks to become one of the first female Command Senior Chiefs, serving her final tour as the Command Senior Chief of Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center San Diego and was the senior enlisted leader of a command with a $2B budget and more than 2,500 employees.
At Booz Allen, she has advised San Diego’s defense contracting industry for the past 15 years. In parallel, she has had significant roles in the San Diego Women in Defense organization and was President of the National Board of Women In Defense. Tricia leads by example, instigating and supporting programs to bolster the careers of countless women through formal and informal mentoring, advocacy, and recognition. She contributes to Booz Allen’s “Women’s Agenda” program that supports women’s professional development.
Tricia has also mentored and advocated for women-owned small businesses in San Diego, and is active at every level of the academic and athletic lives of her five sons.
Individual Achievement in Service
As the first woman Managing Partner of the 260 person KPMG San Diego office, Elizabeth Altman demonstrates a passion for empowering young female professionals using her enthusiasm and problem solving skills. One example: when she got to the root cause of some key women managers’ departures from the firm—the stresses of maintaining work life balance– the idea of K-MOM was born and she implemented ongoing professional and personal events for working mothers, information and best practice sharing forums, and a new ‘mom’ mentor.
These and other mentoring and career development initiatives have delivered results — since she has been head of the office, 67% of promotions and 50% of new hires are women.
She has a carved out a strong career path for herself and demonstrated to other women that they can have a family, a successful, rewarding career and become active leaders in their communities.
Company Advancement of Diversity in the Workplace
Ernst & Young LLP
Ernst & Young’s programs advancing women’s careers and supporting career development at all stages are exemplary, and have become truly embedded in the culture of the organization. Two examples — (1) its very public pledge for pay parity and equal opportunities, and (2) its “returnship program” that allows high performing professionals a chance to re-enter the EY workforce.
The firm goes beyond the development of its own talent by making its programs available widely and publicly, encouraging other organizations to undertake similar initiatives and ongoing efforts to advance women within industry.
Today, women make up 31% of the partners and executive directors in audit and tax in the San Diego office compared to ZERO, 15 years ago.
In addition, women currently comprise 44% of the complete EY San Diego team, reflecting the success of the focused effort to retain women throughout their careers in EY’s demanding client-service environment.