"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.


2012 CIT Session I

"California's Dynamic Government Today"

Session I gave the Class of 2012 a series of unique experiences to remember, with a fast-paced introduction to how the peoples' business gets done in California. Public sector leaders from the Capitol and multiple Sacramento institutions addressed the state's big issues and introduced the class to their passion for public service.

AT THE LELAND STANFORD MANSION: A special luncheon with Cassie Doyle, Consul General of Canada, drew the class to the beautifully restored home of Leland Stanford, governor of California from 1862 to 1863, U.S. Senator, railroad tycoon and founder of Stanford University. "Move out of your comfort zone"  and "change brings clarity" were two pieces of advice from Doyle to women leaders.


A VIP VISIT TO E. & J. GALLO WINERY in Modesto, right, gave the class an inside look at the Central Valley's, and the world's, largest wine producer. After a reception at the wine cellar bar, the class met Gallo women leaders at a dinner in the company wine-cellar.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES AT THE CAPITOL - A Capitol visit included tours of both legislative chambers and a panel discussion in the Governor's Council Room.

Welcome and Orientation    

Alumnae Myesha Jackson and Judith Kjelstrom, Ph.D., welcomed the Class of 2011.

Classmembers Rochna Kaul, Edith Winterhalter and Eileen Reynolds got acquainted.

Deanna Dudley, Rita Chen Fujisawa, Monica Vazquez and Megan Jordan

Ann Ayres and Lisa Swenerton

Denise Coyne, Amanda Salter-Yuh

Beth Foley and Kim Conti

Rita Chen Fujisawa, Kathy Huibonhoa, Lara Villareal Hutner

Class in session



Leadership Connections with
Lisa Marie Platske

Getting acquainted was the first order of the afternoon, with Lisa Marie Platske of Upside Thinking leading the group in fast-paced exercises.


State of the State
with Ginger Rutland

Ginger Rutland, left, associate editor at The Sacramento Bee, with Pam Hemann, Executive Director of Leadership California.

Rutland was interoduced by Beth Foley, Senior Director, External Communications, Pacific Gas & Electric

Rutland's presentation on the "State of the State" weighed the costs and benefits of policy decisions on public pensions, legislative term limits, and the initiative process.

Deanna Dudley takes the microphone


Kitty Hart asks a question

Rutland engages an inquisitive group after her presentation.





Legislative Issues Overview
with Senator Jean Fuller and Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell

California State Senator Jean Fuller (R), left, and State Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D), described how Republicans and Democrats see the same issues through different lenses.




Luncheon at the Stanford Mansion with Consul General Cassie Doyle    

Class members on the front steps of the Leland Stanford Mansion.

The class toured antique-filled rooms in the historic mansion.


Luncheon was served in the mansion dining room.

Cassie Doyle, Consul General of Canada, San Francisco/Silicon Valley, addressed the class.

Doyle said that women are the masters of organizational culture at work, and are good at managing change. "Move out of your comfort zone" was a choice bit of advice she offered.

A Visit to the Central Valley
and E. & J. Gallo Winery

On a trip to the Central Valley's E. & J. Gallo Winery, the class arrived to a show of peacock rituals on the front steps of Gallo headquarters.



Colorful birds and vast gardens surround the winery's production facilities.

The Gallo headquarters lobby features tropical plants and koi pools.

Portraits of founders Ernest and Julio Gallo are featured prominently in the lobby of the family-owned company, the largest winery in the world.




The Gallo campus features landscaped grounds that are home to wild geese and a collection of flowering trees and shrubs.

A garden walk brought the group to the wine cellar.

The class was treated to a reception and dinner with Gallo women leaders.

Class member Eileen Reynolds celebrated a birthday to remember.

From right, Immediate Past President of Leadership California, Debbie Manning, with Pam Hemann and class member Kitty Hart.

Susan Hensley, VP of Talent Management and Corporate Communications at Gallo, addressed the class.

Breakfast with Capital Leaders    

The class got up early for a daylong Capitol visit. California's Capitol serves as both a history museum and the state’s working seat of government.

Class members pose in the Capitol Rotunda

Megan Jordan, Jenna Olsen and Pam Hemann.

Breakfast Guests -The class visited with members of the State Senate and Assembly, invited to enjoy breakfast with Leadership California's leaders. Above, Danielle Brazell and Senator Curren Price Jr.



Diana Baughman, Myesha Jackson, Tiffany Hunter Green



Assemblywoman Fiona Ma was breakfast host and introduced legislators

Diana Reyes Baughman ('09) introduced Assemblywoman Ma

The Legislative Process - Governor's Council Room    

The class arrives at the Office of the Governor.

Presenters and panelists on the legislative process were, from left, Karen Zamarripa ('94), Assistant Vice Chancellor Advocacy & State Relations, Cal State University; Sara Ramirez Giroux, (’99) Chief Consultant, Speaker of the Assembly John Pèrez; and Kathryn R. Dressler (‘03), Chief of Staff, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg.

In the Governor's private conference room, the class studied the legislative process with a presentation on "Making Law and Getting the Work Done" with Fredericka McGee, ('05) General Counsel, Office of the Speaker, California State Assembly.



Kathryn R. Dressler, Sara Ramirez Giroux, Fredericka McGee, Karen Zamarripa



Tour of the State Capitol and Convene on the Senate Floor    

The Capitol Rotunda is a favorite place to snap photos.

Kim Armstrong, Lisa Swenerton, Nasreen Chopra, Kaye Foster-Cheek.

The class toured an exhibit commemorating Women's History Month at the Capitol

The class visited both houses of the legislature. Above, the Assembly chamber.

The governors' portrait gallery

At the California State Senate

Classmembers were seated at senators' desks

Tony Beard, Jr., Chief Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, convened the class on the Senate Floor.

Megan Jordan and Kimberly Garcia

Policy Issues Wrap-Up: "How We Got Where We Are"    

A final wrap-up and overview of policy issues was moderated by James H. Gomez, CEO/President, California Association of Health Facilities.

Panelists included, from left, Greg Lucas, California's Capitol Blog and Former Sacramento Bureau Chief, San Francisco Chronicle; Cynthia Bryant, Senior VP, Government Affairs, California Charter Schools Association; and Carolyn Veal-Hunter, Esq., Governmental Advocate Sloat, Higgins, Jensen & Associates.




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