"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.

2008 CIT Session IV

Sally Helgesen, with Chantel Walker, presented "Using Networks to Create Strategic Change."

Dr. Jean Lipman-Blumen, with Dr. Judy Kjelstrom, presented "The Allure of Toxic Leaders."

A trio of women leaders shared "Lessons Learned on the Journey." From left: Carol Wallace, Rear Admiral Christine Hunter, Connie Matsui.

Lisa Marie Platske, Dr. Barbara Kaufman, Carol Wallace

Jesus Thompson, LT, MSC, U.S. Navy; Barbara Kaufman; Rear Admiral Christine Hunter

Science and Society at Scripps Birch Aquarium     

The class left the hotel bright and early for a tour of Scripps' Birch Aquarium

The Birch Aquarium lobby features mounted sharks and giant seahorses

Dr. Nigella Hillgarth shared her career path and introduced the class to an exhibit on "Feeling the Heat: The Climate Challenge."

Nancy Reagan, Yvette Dominguez

Janine Smalley, Judy Kjelstrom, Rebecca Shafi, Terri Macias visit an exhibit of Sea Dragons.

Letitia Davis and Jessica Pearson enjoy the view from the Birch Aquarium terrace.

Theresa Davis and Letitia Davis visit a display of live jellyfish.

Sherry Johnstone, Tina Duong, Kate Killeen

Rebecca Bowen, Yvette Dominguez, Carol Hunter

The Salk Institute plaza features a dramatic ocean view.

Dr. Inder Verma, Laboratory of Genetics professor and American Cancer Society Professor for Molecular Biology, one of the world's leading authorities on the development of viruses for gene therapy vectors in cancer treatment.

Dr. Verma and Marsha Chandler, Salk Institute Executive Vice President

Tim Quinn, Executive Director, Association of California Water Agencies, gave a history lesson on California's water supply.

Dennis Cushman, Assistant General Manager, San Diego Water Authority, covered water policy dilemmas faced by California lawmakers.

Pam Hemann, Caroline Ann Winn of SDG&E, Dennis Cushman

Class in Session

Back: Carol Hunter, Cecily Joseph
Front: Catherine Dodd, Lynn Thompson, Ezilda Samoville

Ezilda Samoville, Suzanne Sutton, Rebecca Bowen


Janine Watson, Heidi Worman

Janine Watson, Cynthia Brooks, Theresa Davis

Juanita Hayes, Sherry Johnstone, Rebecca Bowen 


Market Creek Plaza and The Village at Market Creek

Sixty acres of land in southeastern San Diego was transformed into a vibrant commercial and cultural hub by a diverse coalition of residents in partnership with the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation.

A display of traditional homes from diverse cultures adorn a community plaza at Market Creek.

Judy Kjelstrom, Juanita Hayes

From left, Roque Barros, Director of Community Building, Jacobs Family Foundation & Center for Neighborhood Innovation; Pam Hemann; Shirley Adams, Director, Community Resources & Partnerships, Jacobs Center for Innovation, Market Creek Partners LLC.

The class toured Market Creek's shopping center, community meeting center, amphitheater, river corridor, and array of public artworks.

Roque Barros points out a tile walkway based on a Laotian fabric design.


Shirley Adams leads a tour of the Market Creek development.

Graduation Evening

Graduation evening featured a reception at Hill Hall, in the University of San Diego's School of Leadership and Education Sciences. Dinner followed at the university's Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice.

Rebecca Bowen, Christine Cole 

Lupita Figueiredo, Kimberly Malm, Jenifer Hedrick, Jessica Pearson, Renny Christopher


Caroline Barr, Kate Killeen, Terri Macias, Catherine Dodd, Sally Gutierrez

Cynthia Brooks, Letitia Davis, Linda Brown, Cecily Joseph, Carol Hunter

Renny Christopher, Amanda Quintero, Suzanne Sutton


Mal Rafferty, Director, Division of Continuing Education and Cheryl Getz, Chair, School of Leadership and Education Sciences, University of San Diego, with Pam Hemann, Executive Director of Leadership California.


Pam Hemann addresses the class of 2008 at graduation ceremonies

Leadership California Issues and Trends Class of 2008



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