"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.


2013 CIT Session I

March 3-5, 2013

"California's Dynamic Government Today"

STUDYING THE ISSUES: From the heart of state government in Sacramento, the Class of 2013 studied the complex issues that make governing our diverse state so challenging. Above, class members pause to pet the California Bear after visiting the Governor's Council Room.

STATE OF THE STATE: In a "State of the State" presentation, Raphael Sonenshein, CEO of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at California State University, Los Angeles, shared insights in a candid issue-by-issue analysis.

ONE-ON-ONE CONVERSATIONS: Class members enjoyed conversations with Capital leaders at a breakfast in the Capitol dining room.

AT THE LELAND STANFORD MANSION: A special luncheon with The Honorable Priya Guha, British Consul General in San Francisco, drew the class to the beautifully restored home of Leland Stanford, governor of California from 1862 to 1863.


EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT THE MIC: Pamela Hemann, CAE has served as Executive Director of Leadership California since 1999, and has guided each year's class through the California Issues and Trends program, "the journey of a lifetime."


AN INSIDER'S TOUR OF THE CAPITOL - Breakfast with legislators, a visit to the Governor's Office, a tour of historic offices, and a presentation on the lawmaking process were a few of the highlights of a Capitol tour.

IN SENATOR'S SEATS: The class convened on the floor of the Senate to experience where laws are made. The historic Capitol building serves as both a museum and the state’s working seat of government.

AT THE WORLD'S LARGEST WINE PRODUCER, E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto, Gallo women leaders hosted the Class of 2013. The visit capped a day-long trip to the Central Valley, and featured a facilities tour, reception and gourmet dinner in the company wine cellar. A portrait of company founders Ernest and Julio Gallo (above) presides over the reception area. The brothers learned winemaking from a 2-page pamphlet borrowed from a library.

LEADERSHIP CONNECTIONS: With Lisa Marie Platske facilitating, the class connected with one another in a series of fast-paced exercises on the first evening of the session.


Welcome & Overview of Session I    

Leadership California Administrative Director Yvette Dominguez and Development Director Carrie Calkins wait to greet the class.

Pamela Hemann, Executive Director, Leadership California; Carol Caley, Communications Director, Leadership California; and Judith Kjelstrom, Ph.D. (’08), Director, Biotechnology Program, University of California at Davis

Debbie Manning ('02), left, former president of Leadership California, and DeNelle Ellison, Leadership California secretary and board member, wait to welcome the class.

Carol Caley and Carrie Calkins

Class of 2013 members arrive to collect their materials

Paula March, CFRE, Principal, MarchPartners, and President, Leadership California Board of Directors welcomed the Class.

Judith Kjelstrom, Ph.D. (’08), Director, Biotechnology Program, University of California at Davis and Myesha Jackson, (’10), Chief Consultant , Assembly Human Services Committee, California State Assembly gave an overview of Session I.

Judith Kjelstrom, Ph.D. gave a brief orientation

Leadership Connections
with Lisa Marie Platske

Hosted by facilitator Lisa Marie Platske (’07), President/CEO, Upside Thinking, Inc., the class was guided in exercises designed to get everyone involved in conversations.

Upside Thinking, Inc. is an international leadership development company committed to transforming the personal and professional lives of leaders.

Getting acquainted was the first order of the afternoon.

The State of the State
with Raphael J. Sonenshein

Presenter Raphael J. Sonenshein, Ph.D., Executive Director, Pat Brown Institute, California State University Los Angeles, gave an overview of the big issues facing the state.

Sonenshein peeled "three layers of the onion" on change in California: a seismic shift in political power, a demographic transformation, and the changing role of government in California.

Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing voting demographic group in the United States. In the presidential election, 70% of Californian Asian-Americans voted for Obama.

Women, Asian-Americans and Latinos vote in greater numbers than previously, and they largely vote Democratic. "The Dems have swept California," said Sonenshein.

One million more women than men voted in California's last election.

The class participated in a Q&A after Sonenshein's presentation.

Sonenshein sees positives in the seismic changes wrought in the last election. Proposition 30 turned California government "from a joke to a functioning government," he said. "Now California can get back to work."

The Republican Party is on the rocks, but that's not all bad, said Sonenshein. Individual Republicans will do better, freed of their main role of blocking taxes. More of them will become Independents empowered to work with business-friendly moderate Dems.

"Top Two" style elections will lessen the power of political parties and free up candidates to work in bipartisan ways.

2013 Legislative Issue Overview
with Kristin Olsen

Kristin Olsen, at left, with Class members Heidi Sanborn and Quita Highsmith, presented her views on the issues as a Republican member of the California State Legislature representing District 12.

"We have upside-down priorities," said Olsen. "We will be as strong in California as we are able to invest in education."

Olsen's legislative priorities include making government more transparent and accountable, ADA reform to limit frivolous lawsuits, and educational reforms including a predictable tuition rate for college students and school safety measures.

Luncheon at The Stanford Mansion
with Priya Guha,
British Consul General, San Francisco

A bus trip brought the Class to the Leland Stanford Mansion, a few blocks from the Capitol.

Three governors have called the Stanford Mansion their home. The mansion now serves as the State’s official address for diplomatic and business receptions.

As the state’s official reception center for leaders from around the world, the class was invited to attend a luncheon in the dining room.

Class members pose on the front steps of the 19,000 square-foot Mansion. After a 14-year, $22 million restoration and rehabilitation, the Mansion is now open to the public as a museum.

Leland Stanford was a governor of California from 1862 to 1863, a U.S. Senator, a railroad tycoon and a founder of Stanford University.

The Mansion is a stunning example of the splendor and elegance of the Victorian era in California.

Ezilda W. Samoville, (’08), Director, Office of International Relations, California State Senate, introduced the speaker.

Priya Guha, HM Consul General, British Consulate General in San Francisco, spoke on women's workplace issues and the trade relationship between the U.S. and Great Britain.

The Consul General chatted with class member Sohelia Khosravani.

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

Binh Do paused on the front steps of the E&J Gallo Winery, a favorite hangout of a flock of peacocks.

The E.& J. Gallo Winery campus includes 40 acres of gardens, ponds, flowering trees and shrubs and the largest winery operation in the world.

The Gallo tour started at the corporate headquarters building, featuring an indoor courtyard with tropical plants and koi ponds.

The tour included a visit to the Gallo bottling facility and a bus ride through massive warehouses.

A walk down into the wine cellar preceded a reception and dinner.

Company founders Ernest and Julio Gallo preside over the wine reception area.

Red and white wine coolers from one of many Gallo brand lines were a treat after a long day.

Class members Brooke Antonioni and Alice Wertz with Lynn DeDios of E.& J. Gallo Winery

Huge oak casks dominate the aisles of the wine cellar.

Pam Hemann greets speaker Kristi Marsella, Vice President, Human Resources Strategy, G3 Enterprises, Inc., a subsidiary of E. & J. Gallo Winery.

Tables for an elegant dinner were placed between the rows of casks in the wine cellar.

Featured speaker was Judith Lanning ('12), Director of Talent Acquisition, E. & J. Gallo Winery.

Visit to the Capitol and Breakfast
with Capital Leaders

The Class of 2013 made an early-morning visit to the Capitol to receive an insider's view and to attend a breakfast with legislators in the Eureka Room.

Class members pose with their Leadership California logo notebooks.

A first look inside the Capitol gave an impressive view of the Rotunda.

The breakfast program was presided over by Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, right, and introduced by Leadership California former president Debbie Manning.

The event provides an opportunity for Class members to meet elected leaders in state government.

Capital leaders were seated at small tables for casual but meaningful conversations.



After opening comments, Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell introduced the elected leaders.

Each elected leader introduced themselves and presented their legislative priorities for 2013. A Q&A followed.

The Legislative Process:
Making Law and Getting the Work Done

In the Governor's private council 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. Seated is Diane Boyer-Vine, Legislative Counsel for California.


Panelists on the legislative process were, from left, Nancy McFadden, Executive Secretary, Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.; Kathryn R. Dresslar (’03), Chief of Staff, Office of Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, State of California; Deborah Gonzalez (’07), Policy & Fiscal Director, Assembly Republican Leader ConnieConway, State of California; Maureen Higgins, Managing Partner, Sloat Higgins Jensen & Associates.

This program segment provides the Class with an overview of the technical process for legislation, as well as a sense of the negotiation, compromise and consensus-building that is involved in getting the work done.

A panel of women leaders involved in moving legislation through the system includes women working in legislative offices in the Capitol, the Governor’s Office, and covers the role of non-government advocates in the process.

Outside the Office of the Governor, class members paused to pet the California Bear.


State Capitol Tour and
Convene on the Senate Floor

The Capitol Rotunda rises nearly 100 feet from a circular walk on the second floor to the oculus, a large window located at the apex of the dome.

View from the Rotunda's second-floor walkway

Kathryn Dresslar showed the class through the offices of the Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, where she is chief of staff. The offices feature antique furnishings and historic paintings, but also serve as legislative workspaces. 

Class members visited the Senate Chamber. The Senate is made up of 40 Senators, each representing approximately 850,000 people.

Once elected, a Senator can serve a lifetime maximum of two four-year terms. In the Assembly, an electronic voting system is used, but in the Senate a roll-call vote is taken by the traditional voice vote—each Senator calling out "Aye" or "No."

The class took Senators' seats, a rare privilege. The color red dominates the chamber, a tradition borrowed from England's House of Lords.

On the Senate Floor, Pam Hemann introduced Tony Beard, Jr., Chief Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, who convened the class. At right is Gregory Schmidt, Secretary of the Senate & CEO of Senate Rules Committee.

Debbie Manning and Pam Hemann

California's State Capitol rises above Capitol Park in downtown Sacramento.

Panel: How We Got Here
and What Comes Next

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

Class member Celina Zacarias makes a point about education. She is Director of Community & Government Relations, CSU Channel Islands.

Panelists were, from left, Greg Lucas, California's Capitol Blog, Former Sacramento Bureau Chief for the SF Chronicle; Sara Ramirez Giroux (’99), Consultant for Speaker John A. Pérez, California Assembly International Relations Foundation & Capitol Institute; Nolice Edwards (’08), Deputy Assistant Secretary, External Communications, California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation; and Kathryn C. Rees ('13) Legislative Advocate/Consultant, Public Policy Advocates.





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