"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.


2011 CIT Session IV

"Sustaining Quality of Life in
California through Innovation

Session IV gave the Class of 2011 a series of unique experiences to remember, with back-to-back celebrations marking the end of a great year.

The class wrapped up their final session with a 20th Anniversary luncheon honoring San Diego's women leaders and the Class of 2011 graduation ceremony.

That's right in stride for this class, an extraordinary group of women leaders committed to making a difference in California.

ON THE ROAD: Above, the CIT class traveled to the Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, biotech giant Genentech, and the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation at Market Creek Village. Speakers included Sally Helgesen on "The Female Vision" and a slate of experts who shared their insights on innovation in cleantech, transportation, the Smart Grid, biotechnology and economic development.

'JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME' COMES TO AN END : At right, the Class of 2011 poses for a portrait after graduation ceremonies. As program alumnae, they will be part of a statewide network of over 1,200 women leaders and will stay in touch and plan get-togethers through an online group.

Session IV Highlight:
"Happy 20th Anniversary Leadership California in San Diego"

The Class of 2011 and over 150 San Diego women leaders attended the 20th Anniversary Luncheon for Leadership California in San Diego on November 3. From left, Leadership California Executive Director Pam Hemann; Leadership California President Debbie Manning; honorees Lorena Gonzalez and Carol Wallace; event co-chair Maggie Watkins; honorees Darlene Shiley, Mary Lyons, Ph.D., and  Debra Reed; event co-chair Molly Cartmill.

The Female Vision
with Sally Helgesen

The session kicked off with a presentation from Sally Helgesen, who shared key insights from her latest book, The Female Vision. At right, Pam Hemann.

Classmembers got reacquainted at Session IV.


Carla Frank and Lisa Henslee.

Susan Halliday and Tassi Espos.

Joyce Ibardolasa, Sonia Delen and Fanee Harrison.

Sally Helgesen did research on women's strengths in the workplace. Women need to use the right language to ensure they are valued for their radar-like ability to "see around corners" and practice strategic thinking.

Helgesen's personal experiences as a speechwriter and advisor to women leaders led her to challenge the idea that women should adapt and change to fit organizations, rather than seek to change organizations from within.

Helgesen identified particular characterisitics of women that bring value to organizations. Helgesen responds to a question by Raminder Somal.

Women are especially good at relationships and collaborating. They are good at integrating their personal and business lives and are comfortable with diversity, says Helgesen.

Jayne Battey and Ann Blake engage in the discussion.

Sonia Delen and Raminder Somal get a laugh.

Men and women notice different things, says Helgesen. Women scan the environment to pick up clues, men have single-minded "laser vision," focused generally on the bottom line. Men's narrow focus is seen by organizations as a leadership behavior.

Sally Helgesen, Pam Hemann, Jayne Battey.

Helgesen signs her book for Jayne Battey.

Sally Helgesen, Debbie Powell, Jayne Battey.

Women Leaders:
Lessons Learned on the Journey

"Lessons Learned on the Journey" featured a panel of women leaders from business, industry, government and academia. Pam Hemann served as moderator.

Panelists included, from left, Maria P. Sendra, Esq., Partner, Baker & McKenzie LLP; Diana Day, Assistant General Counsel, San Diego Gas & Electric; and Connie L. Matsui, Social Entrepreneur & Retired Executive Vice President, Biogen Idec.

Panel members discussed their career trajectories, how mentors have influenced their careers, and their strengths as women leaders.


Birch Aquarium at
Scripps Institution of Oceanography

The class arrived before business hours to enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Birch Aquarium, the public face of the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of San Diego.

Mary Sue Allen, Felicia Van Frank and Ann Blake, Ph.D.

Two Execs: Birch Aquarium Executive Director Nigella Hillgarth, Ph.D., left and Pam Hemann

Sara Steinhoffer ('10) and Sheryl Sizelove ('09) enjoyed the breakfast buffet.

Birch Aquarium Executive Director Nigella Hillgarth, Ph.D. shared her career path and introduced the class to an exhibit on "Feeling the Heat: The Climate Challenge."

De Jada Simpson and Esther Cuevas

Nigella Hillgarth introduced the class to a new interactive outdoor display.

Class members tried out the waterworks.

Raminder Somal, Katrina Beers.

Raminder Somal, Lilliam Romero, Joyce Ibardolasa.

Birch Aquarium's goal is to encourage public awareness of the need for good stewardship of the world's oceans, said Hillgarth.

Cliffside exhibits overlook the Pacific Ocean and Scripps reserach facilities and docks below.

Live seahorses populate special breeding and exhibit tanks.

Ann Blake and Ann Marie Johnson view live specimens in the exhibit tanks.

A pair of eels on display

A 70,000-gallon kelp forest tank filled with magnificent marine animals captivates Ann Blake and Sonia Delen.

The kelp forest is a highlight of the Hall of Fishes, which showcases sea life from more than 60 habitats.

Diane Stephens visits the Hall of Fishes.

Colorful, strange and rare: aquarium collections feature a host of exotic sea creatures.

The Birch's exhibits, public programs and activities are designed to make ocean science relevant to peoples' daily lives and to inspire public support of scientific endeavors.

Exhibits at the aquarium focus on coral reefs and their global decline.

Leading the Way to Business Innovation    

Business innovation was the topic of a presentation by Julie Meier Wright, Former CEO and Board Member, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and Leadership California Advisory Council member.


Julie Meier Wright with Holly Smithson, Executive Vice President, CleanTECH San Diego.


Holly Smithson discussed the economic benefits of Cleantech on San Diego's future.

20th Anniversary Luncheon
in San Diego

A year-long celebration of women's leadership culminated at a luncheon honoring San Diego's women leaders on November 3. The event was part of 20th Anniversary celebrations held across the state throughout 2011.

Leadership California Executive Director Pam Hemann, at left, and Debbie Manning, Leadership California president, served as emcees.

Five honorees from diverse backgrounds spoke on their dedication to community-building and their values as women leaders. From left, Leadership California Executive Director Pam Hemann; Leadership California President Debbie Manning; honorees Lorena Gonzalez and Carol Wallace; event co-chair Maggie Watkins; honorees Darlene Shiley, Mary Lyons, Ph.D., and  Debra Reed; event co-chair Molly Cartmill.

Event co-chairs were Maggie Watkins and Molly Cartmill. Held at the Omni hotel, the theme for the day was “Celebrating Leadership California’s First 20 Years with Remarkable Women from California’s Last 20 Years.”

Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer and CEO, San Diego and Imperial Labor Council, AFL-CIO, received the 20th Anniversary Community Leadership Award, presented by Molly Cartmill.

Mary E. Lyons, Ph.D., President, University of San Diego, received the 20th Anniversary Academic Leadership Award, presented by Molly Cartmill.

Debra L. Reed, CEO, Sempra Energy, received the 20th Anniversary Business Leadership Award, presented by Julie Meier Wright.

Darlene V. Shiley, President, The Shiley Foundation, received the 20th Anniversary Philanthropic Leadership Award, presented by Maggie Watkins.

Carol Wallace, President and CEO, San Diego Convention Center Corporation, received the 20th Anniversary Trailblazer Award, presented by Maggie Watkins.

Debbie Manning introduced guests to the California Issues & Trends program and its alumnae. As a group, the program's 1,200 alumnae have contributed more than 78,000 hours of volunteer service a year to community organizations.

The luncheon was the final event in a yearlong series of celebrations honoring remarkable women leaders throughout the state.

Guests from Sempra Energy attended.

The Class of 2011 was present to receive a final round of inspiration from a high-achieving slate of inspiring women leaders.

A tableful of guests from the San Diego Convention Center came to honor President and CEO Carol Wallace, second row, center.

Julie Meyer Wright, Molly Cartmill

Academic Leadership Award honoree Mary Lyons with Maggie Watkins.

Leading the Way to
Infrastructure Innovation

Greg Haddow, Clean Transportation Manager, San Diego Gas & Electric Company; Molly Cartmill (’02), Director, Local Government Relations, Sempra Energy; Josh Gerber, Lead Architect, Smart Grid, San Diego Gas & Electric Company

Greg Haddow introduced the class to a new generation of electric and hybrid cars, soon to be rolling off assembly lines.


We'll need a new vocabulary when driving into the future, and we'll have some extra things to worry about, such as "range anxiety" and where to plug in.

Future parking lots and garages will have charging depots that accept credit cards.

Haddow sees an exciting future for plug-in vehicles, which are projected to run on an electric charge costing three to four cents per mile.

Presenter Josh Gerber detailed the benefits of smart meters and the smart grid, followed by questions from the class, here with Carla Frank.

A Visit to Genentech:
Leading the Way to Biotech Innovation

The class visited the Genentech manufacturing plant in Oceanside to learn about innovations in biologics. Genentech's cleanroom-based manufacturing processes allow servicing from corridors outside the clean environments.

Genentech is a pioneer in the concept of "personalized" healthcare, where medicines can be tailored to an individual's needs based on matches with their personal genotype. The company employs human genetic information to discover, develop, manufacture and commercialize medicines.

Presenter Kathleen Houck, Associate Director, Technology Validation, introduced the class to Genentech's advanced production techniques for cancer treatment drugs including Avastin and Rituxan for certain cancers and Actemra for rheumatoid arthritis.

A Visit to Market Creek Village:
Leading the Way to Community Innovation

The class arrived at Market Creek Village during a downpour.

In spite of the rain, the class met Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation staff and learned about  Market Creek's shopping center, community meeting center, amphitheater, river corridor, and array of public artworks.

Barbara Day, left, with Sandra Candler-Wafer and Renee Novo meet the class.

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.

Public artworks such as this mask adorn building interiors, community facilities and commercial areas of the development.

Market Creek's collective vision for successful development has reduced crime and poverty and has diminished animosity among ethnic groups.

Carrie Calkins, Pam Hemann, Yvette Dominguez


Graduation Evening    
Congratulations to the Class of 2011!    


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