"The program gave me a close-up view of political, business and social issues and trends, information that is invaluable to me as an entrepreneur and active participant in the success of our great state. The speakers were incredible� they inspired us and stretched our minds. The opportunity to connect with successful and dynamic California women leaders was a main highlight. Being part of Leadership California is like being part of a powerful sisterhood."

—Ursula C. Mentjes, M.S., ACC
President and Certified Business Coach
Potential Quest, Inc.
"I have enjoyed my involvement with Leadership California. Our trip to the state capitol was most enlightening. As a result I have gotten involved with the Los Angeles African American Women's Political Action Committee. Thank you, Leadership California, for sparking a genuine interest in the political process."

—Shawn Farrar
Director Corporate Diversity
Sempra Energy
"The CIT program brings together successful women from all over California, and gives them the opportunity to build a network with other successful women. It's a way to learn about the important issues in our state, and to get ready to take the next step in your professional life."

—Isela Vilchis Hoenigmann
"Leadership California has provided me a panoramic view of issues, challenges and opportunities for this lovely state that I live in. The program was my introduction to women of unbelievable talent, experience and passion who are set to make a difference. The feeling to want to be more, to accomplish more, is simply contagious. I hope to know these women for the rest of my life."

—Rosario Montes-Arena
Manager, IBM Software Executive Briefing Program
Silicon Valley & Worldwide Briefing Program
"As a young immigrant woman working in the nonprofit sector, it was inspiring to see women leaders in action, to be able to network with them, and talk about the issues that are relevant to our communities and our state. I feel honored and privileged for the opportunity to participate in such an awesome program that weaves women leaders from different sectors and geographies of California to engage in a conversation about the social, political, and economic fabric of California."

—Winnie Hui-Min Yu
Development Associate
Asian Law Caucus
San Francisco
"I've spent half of my work life in the corporate world, and the past ten years in the nonprofit world, but neither taught me how to be who I am at work�the whole pastiche of talent and spirit. I found role models who excited me, the true state of our state of California (which frustrated me), work partners continually learning like me, and friends."

—Peta G. Penson, Ed. D.
Oakland Unified School District
"Leadership California sessions feature influential speakers and lively discussion on timely issues shaping the economy and workforce. The session on work-life balance struck a chord with me, where key leaders advised us to map out a personal career plan. Networking with other women was invaluable. Leadership California is an engaging and downright fun experience."

—Roberta Tinajero-Frankel
Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit Dept.
Healthy Eating, Active Living Project Manager
"Simply put, Leadership California is time well spent that will benefit me personally and professionally for years to come. I've not only kept in contact with my fellow classmates on a social level, but have had opportunities to work with some of them on business projects as our professional paths crossed. The sessions gave in-depth looks at the critical social issues that many Californians face, inspiring me to get more involved in my community�s outreach programs."

—Teena Massingill
Manager of Corporate Public Affairs
Safeway Inc.

2007 CIT Session IV


A gray November morning on Coronado Island, San Diego, was the setting for the final 3-day session for the CIT class of 2007. Participants sipped their morning coffee as they gathered for kickoff speaker Marshall Goldsmith’s “Making Successful People Even Better.” Goldsmith is a world authority on successful leaders and a coach to top-level executives.

Goldsmith, looking relaxed and casual in a blue pullover sweater, noted the tendency of talented leaders to “win too much,” with successful people often failing to recognize when to let go. “The drive to win, to prove how smart we are, is very strong among leaders,” says Goldsmith. “Help more, judge less.”

And as a leader, you’d better resist the urge to be a perfectionist. According to Goldsmith, women leaders succumb to a perfectionistic streak more than their male counterparts. Goldsmith’s helpful tips: know when to stop. And be a better listener.

For a boss who just can’t resist the urge to correct others, Goldsmith offered a suggestion: each time an employee catches you micro-managing, you pay $10 to the office kitty. The money goes to charity.

Another monetary incentive for the over-zealous boss: offer a $2 reward to your employee for each suggestion on how you can be a better person. This works well with spouses and children too, notes Goldsmith, with a grin.

A large dose of humor and a tension-relieving sigh are the keys Goldsmith offers to unload stress: “Just let it go,” breathe, focus on the big picture, and jettison things that might trip you up on the ladder of success.


Frances Hesselbein, second from left, with (from left) Robbin Lewis-Coaxum, Linda Creighton, Lee Angela Reid.

Following a tasty hotel lunch, Drucker Leader to Leader Institute Chairman Frances Hesselbein spoke on “The How-To-Be Leader.” The diminutive octogenarian began her talk by detailing her journey to a top leadership position, CEO of Girl Scouts of America. Here, she effected programs reflecting deeply-held values of inclusion, diversity, passion, relevance, and strength. Far from teaching techniques for better leadership, Hesselbein said that “leadership is how to be, not how to do.” It is a process of discovering what motivates people, of helping them discover their own path to excellence. Great leaders are great listeners. “Ask, don’t tell,” she said. “Think first, speak last.” Passion for the organization takes precedence over one individual’s goals, even if she’s the boss. Leadership entails a big measure of personal humility.

Hesselbein told a moving story from her childhood, of visits to her grandmother’s house. Two beautiful Chinese vases stood on the mantelpiece, and young Frances asked to play with them. After repeated requests, denials, and a tantrum, her grandmother told her a story:

Many years before, a Chinese man came by the house to say goodbye. After years of service washing and delivering laundry to families in the neighborhood, he still endured the racial taunts of children and the disrespect of adults. He felt that he would never be part of the community, and was returning to China. Frances’ grandmother, he said, was the only person who had always addressed him with respect, calling him by his last name, and who invited him in to the house when he delivered the laundry. Since he could take little with him on his journey, he gave Frances’ grandmother his only possessions of value, the two beautiful vases. He had brought them as a parting gift for her kindness. Frances keeps them on her mantelpiece as her reminder of a valuable lesson on human compassion. 


The afternoon session on Strategic Power Networks was led by Rayona Sharpnack, president of the Institute for Women’s Leadership, and Mary O’Hara-Devereaux, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Global-Foresight. Their emphasis was on working to identify, build and reinforce the connections to power brokers in the workplace and in the community. Participants were encouraged to identify their “blue flame”--their intense passion in life--and to develop a list of mentors who could assist them in connecting to their interests and goals. Passion is a recurring theme with O’Hara-Devereaux, a theme which she traces back to a childhood prayer that she was taught to recite while kneeling at her bedside every night: “Lord, give me a tragic life rather than a boring life.”

Mary O’Hara-Devereaux, Ph.D., founder and CEO of Global-Foresight, left, and Rayona Sharpnack, president of the Institute for Women’s Leadership.


The evening session followed a wine reception and dinner with the “Woman at the Top” series sponsored by Southwest Airlines.
Leadership California Board President Dorothy Farris of Wyse Technology introduced Colleen Barrett, president of Southwest Airlines.

Barrett, in a gray pony tail, took the microphone and told stories of the airline’s growth from its earliest days, when every member of the fledgling company was called upon to contribute to its groundbreaking business model. She became a leader not by intention, but by necessity. She learned to correct her mistakes, and while doing so, instituted a bottom-up strategy for management within the company, resulting in remarkable success for the Southwest Airlines brand.

Climate change, infrastructure and sustainable development were themes of the day on Monday. The class boarded a tour bus, morning coffee in hand, for a short trip in gray overcast weather to the Birch Aquarium of the Scripps Institute at the University of California, San Diego.

CIT class members spent a day touring Birch Aquarium at Scripps UCSD, Sempra and SDG&E Mission Control, Market Creek Plaza in southeastern San Diego, and the University of San Diego.

A lovely breakfast buffet awaited, where we filled our plates and headed out the door to a cliffside observation deck overlooking the research facility and pier below. The deck featured an exhibit of tidepool fauna, covered in netting to ward off marauding gulls, with the gray-blue waters of the Pacific beyond.

Those blue waters and the rest of the oceans of the world are in a precarious condition due to global warming, said Nigella Hillgarth, Executive Director of the aquarium, in her welcoming speech. The Earth’s oceans have risen one degree in temperature, as polar ice melts, climates change, and animal and plant species around the world are affected. Coral reefs in particular are harmed by the changing ocean environment. A large exhibit occupying half the aquarium’s space is now devoted to this worrisome global phenomenon.


A worrisome local phenomenon—draught and the resulting “perfect storm” of fires that swept southern California in October—was the subject of a visit to San Diego Gas and Electric’s Mission Control and Skills Training Center. We visited the control rooms where engineers raced to protect power lines and structures threatened by the fires.

Michelle Mueller, Vice President, Customer Service for Sempra/SDG&E provided the introduction to the training facility.

Sempra Energy and San Diego Gas and Electric Company provided major sponsorship for the Leadership California Issues and Trends Program’s Session IV.



In the Training Center, we enjoyed lunch along with presentations on biotech innovations from Judith Kjelstrom, Ph.D., Director of Biotechnology, UC Davis; Connie Matsui, Executive VP of Knowledge & Innovation Networks at Biogen Idec; and Lisa Peterson, Community Relations Manager at Invitrogen.


From left, SDG&E Vice President of Customer Service Michelle Mueller, San Diego County Water Authority General Manager Maureen Stapleton, and San Diego Division President of Pardee Homes Beth Fischer spoke on infrastructure and development challenges.

In an introduction to infrastructure issues, Beth Fischer, Pardee Homes San Diego division president, brought the question of environmentally sensitive housing development to the forefront. She detailed the measures her company employs to win community consensus and to protect the physical environment, plants and animals on land slated for development.

On the issue of water management, Maureen Stapleton, General Manager of the San Diego Water Authority, spoke on San Diego County’s growing demand, shrinking supply, and the resulting uncertainty of both current and future development projects.

Kelly Prasser, Regional Manager of Corporate and Community Relations at Sempra Energy and SDG&E, facilitated.


A case study in unique ways to build community consensus for new development highlighted a visit to Market Creek Plaza in southeastern San Diego. We were introduced to the site by Ron Cummings, Chief Operating Officer of the Jacobs Family Foundation & Center for Neighborhood Innovation, and by Shirley J. Adams, Director of Community Resources & Partnerships at the Center. Roque Barros, Director of Community Building at the Center, gave us a tour of the shopping center, which is brightly painted in yellow, purple, red and green, and decorated with colorful mosaics and murals designed by local residents.

Beginning as a partnership between community residents and a family foundation to redevelop an old factory site, Market Creek Plaza evolved through the creativity of hundreds of community stakeholders.

After 800 neighborhood surveys were conducted in four languages and hundreds of community meetings were held, residents decided on a vibrant commercial and cultural hub for their community. A shopping center, a community center, and outdoor meeting venues have been built according to community input. The Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (JCNI), an operating foundation supported by the Jacobs Family Foundation, served as the developer.


An evening reception at the University of San Diego’s elegant new Hill Hall featured wine and hors d’oeuvres on a plaza overlooking the twinkling lights of the San Diego skyline. The hall houses the university’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences.

Over dinner, attendees were welcomed by university president Mary E. Lyons, who spoke about two women leaders, Mother Rosalie Hill, a university founder, and Joan B. Kroc, whose endowments enabled the university to build the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice and to establish its School of Peace Studies, which promotes research and peacemaking efforts around the world.

A graduation ceremony for the CIT class of 2007 followed. The class received certificates of program completion, presented by Leadership California Executive Board member Debbie Manning, Executive Director Pam Hemann, and Administrator Yvette Dominguez.

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning chartered in 1949; the school enrolls approximately 7,000 students and is known for its commitment to teaching, the liberal arts, and community service.


San Diego Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp, left, and San Diego City Council candidate April Boling participated in a panel discussion on “Getting Appointed/Getting Elected .”

The final morning’s CIT class session featured a panel discussion highlighted by remarks from San Diego Superior Court judge Randa Trapp, Former Sacramento School District Board Member Dawn McCoy, and April Boling, a candidate for San Diego City Council District 7. The discussion centered on the sacrifices and rewards of public service. The moderator of the discussion was Chris Ribiero Rubin, Deputy Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency for the State of California.

A farewell lunch wrapped up the session.



2007 CIT SESSION IV in San Diego


Leadership California met with
San Diego leaders November 4-6 

Marshall Goldsmith,
Ph.D., Co-Founder
Marshall Goldsmith Partners

Frances Hesselbein signs copies of her book,
The-How-to-Be Leader.

Frances Hesselbein, Chairman,
Leader to Leader Institute

Rayona Sharpnack, President,
Institute for Women’s Leadership, Inc.

Mary O’Hara-Devereaux, Ph.D., Founder & CEO

Met with “Woman at the Top”
Colleen Barrett, President
Southwest Airlines

Visited Birch Aquarium at Scripps/UCSD
For “Science & Society”

Nigella Hillgarth, Ph.D., Executive Director
Birch Aquarium at Scripps/UCSD

Visited SDG&E Mission Control/Skills Center
For “Innovation & Infrastructure-Part I”

Michelle Mueller, Vice President Customer Service

Judith Kjelstrom, Ph.D., Director Biotechnology Program
University of California at Davis

Connie L. Matsui, Executive Vice President
Knowledge & Innovation Networks
Biogen Idec

Lisa Peterson
Community Relations Manager

Beth Fischer, Division President-San Diego
Pardee Homes

Maureen Stapleton, General Manager
San Diego County Water Authority

Kelly Prasser, Regional Manager
Corporate & Community Relations
Sempra Energy & San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

Visited Market Creek Plaza
For “Leading the Way to
Infrastructure Solutions-Part II”

Ron Cummings, COO
Community Resources & Partnerships
Jacobs Family Foundation & Center
for Neighborhood Innovation

Shirley J. Adams, Director
Community Resources & Partnerships
Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Roque Barros, Director
Community Building
Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Visited the University of San Diego for
Graduation Ceremonies, CIT Class of 2007

Mary E. Lyons, President
University of San Diego

Met with Panelists for
“Getting Appointed/Getting Elected”

Chris Ribeiro Rubin, Deputy Secretary
State & Consumer Services Agency
State of California

Randa Trapp, Judge
Superior Court of California, SD-17

Dawn McCoy, Assistant Vice President
Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC)
Former Sacramento School District Board Member

April Boling, Candidate
San Diego City Council, District 7


• Southwest Airlines
• Sempra Energy
• University of San Diego


Graduation at University of San Diego

Erin Ryan, Leilani Apolonio
hug goodbye at session's end 


Dana Kracke, Deborah Marie Harris, Lorene Miller, Leilani Apolonio

Yvette Dominguez, Cathleen Greiner, Chris Coats

Frances Hesselbein signs books for Carrie Stewart and Winnie Yu

Carrie Stewart, Winnie Yu, Francis Hesselbein

Patty-Jo Rutland
Robbin Lewis-Coaxum, Debbie Manning

Gwyneth Borden 

Sarah Smith Orr, Pam Hemann,
Dorothy Farris

Winnie Yu and Pam Hemann
at Birch Aquarium

Pam Hemann matches stares with a curious fish at Birch Aquarium
Class members visit SDG&E
SDG&E tour

SDG&E tour

SDG&E tour 

Shirley Adams, Ron Cummings, Roque Barros of Market Creek Plaza

Market Creek Plaza's amphitheater

Elaine Ikeda, Pam Hemann and Yvette Dominguez at graduation ceremonies

Tammy Wong, Christy Wyatt,
Carrie Stewart 

Elaine Ikeda, Donna Lum, Heidi Petersen-Leach

Courtney Jones, Linda Creighton, Lee Angela Reid, Robbin Lewis-Coaxum

Dawn McCoy, Chris Rubin

April Boling, Dawn McCoy, Chris Rubin

Randa Trapp, April Boling, Dawn McCoy

Deborah Marie Harris, Bari Lynn Berkman, Tammy Wong, Chris Rubin

















































Alumnae Login | REGISTER for Events | About Us | People | Activities | Calendar | Women Leaders: First Person Profiles | Watch our Videos | Contact Us | Subscribe to our e-News | Support Us
Privacy Policy