ATHENA is a women-owned staffing agency working with local, county, and state governments to match the right people to open positions. Its founder has extensive experience with health and human services, and as a result, ATHENA focuses chiefly on this sector. The firm has worked in 30 states since 2002, with current open positions in 19. It strives to bring solutions to its clients and offer value to its employees as well.

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Firm Key Stats

Firm Website:
Firm Headquarters: Gaithersburg, Maryland
Firm Number of Employees: 30
Firm Number of Locations: 1
Firm Chief Executive: Melissa Pappas
Firm Revenue: $15.5 million

ATHENA History

ATHENA was founded by Melissa Pappas, its current CEO, in 2002. She had 30 years of experience in health and human services and obtained a Master’s in Social Service Administration before establishing ATHENA. She now oversees daily operations at the firm and works to make things easier and more smooth for her team and clients.

ATHENA Careers

While jobs are listed on a careers page, interested parties are also able to reach out directly with questions about job openings or other matters. ATHENA careers are primarily remote, but involve working closely with a small team which allows for collaboration and the fostering of community.

ATHENA Internship

No internships have been posted on the firm’s website, and there does not seem to be a history of offered opportunities, but interested students can contact their team with specific questions on available options.

Practice Areas and Industries

ATHENA works in the particular areas where it has expertise and can confidently deliver for its clients.

    • Human Services Staffing
    • Case Managers/Workers
    • Staffing for Unemployment Agencies and Foster Care
    • Educational Support Aides
    • Shelter Monitors
    • Customer Support Specialists
    • Social Workers
    • Custodial and Housekeeping Services
    • Administrative Support Staff, including receptionists, secretaries, administrative assistants, and support specialists.
    • Health Services Staffing
    • COVID-19 Case Managers
    • Case Investigators & Managers
    • Contact Tracers
    • Nurses
    • Scientists
    • Vaccination Support
    • Healthcare Professionals
    • Patient Navigators for Health Plan Enrollment
    • Facility Entrance Screeners
    • Other Healthcare Professionals
    • Executive Recruiting Services
    • Executive level positions

ATHENA Locations

Most employees are fully remote or work on local client sites, but a team works onsite at ATHENA’s headquarters.

    • Gaithersburg, Maryland

Exit Opportunities

Moving to a larger healthcare or social services consulting firm would be an excellent pivot from employment at ATHENA. After recruiting for various positions in the industry, staff will be well prepared to take on even larger clients and continue to offer solutions to employers. Should someone wish to leave consulting, many skills would be transferable as well.

Target Schools

As the ATHENA headquarters office is located in Maryland, many employees live and have attended schools in that area. Some of the most common include:

    • University of Maryland Global Campus
    • Montgomery College
    • Prince George’s Community College
    • University of Maryland
    • University of Baltimore

Diversity Programs

Diversity is built into the framework of ATHENA, as it was founded by a woman who has made this a priority. The firm puts out pro-diversity recruiting advertisements which appeal to a wide variety of candidates, and offers a strong candidate referral program for current employees. ATHENA’s corporate team is 80% female and racially diverse.

ATHENA Culture

Employees reported consistently good experiences with ATHENA’s culture until a layoff in 2021, likely due to a squeeze because of Covid-19. This left many feeling jarred and unprepared—most said they’d had little to no notice. In years before and since, however, reviews have been majority positive, citing kind coworkers, flexible hours, and lots of growth.

ATHENA Interview

ATHENA interviews tend to focus on personality and culture fit rather than impressive past experience. Conversation is often more relaxed than at many other firms, and interviewees should be prepared to share about themselves and why they would be a good match for ATHENA. Some behavioral questions can be expected, while case interviews virtually never appear. As the following questions from previous interviews show, there likely won’t be any brain teasers or difficult testing questions.

Give an example of why you’re a good communicator
Do you have reliable transportation?
What’s your availability?
Are you able to travel to — ?
Tell us something about yourself


The nature of work at ATHENA is slightly different than at MBB firms, which contributes to salaries being significantly lower. It’s a mixed bag as far as staff being satisfied with their compensation. Below are examples of past salaries, but current offers will vary. See our salaries report for more details on compensation at hundreds of firms.

  • Administrative assistant: $48,969
  • Recruiter: $92,555
  • Account manager: $115,534
  • Customer service representative: $57,491


ATHENA’s commitment to diversity and generally comfortable work environment make it a good choice for someone interested in recruitment or health and human services work. Compensation will likely be less competitive than at larger or more broadly skilled firms, but ATHENA could be a great first step for those getting into consulting.


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