"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.


2014 CIT Session I

March 9-11, 2014

The Political Landscape: California's Dynamic Government Today

SUNRISE AT THE CAPITOL: The class joined early birds at the Capitol for a breakfast meeting with legislators in the Eureka Room, the legislative dining room.

BACON, EGGS AND CONVERSATION: Class members sipped coffee and enjoyed one-on-one conversations with senators and assembly members. All members of both legislative bodies were invited guests of Leadership California.

AT THE STANFORD MANSION: At the state’s official reception center for leaders from around the world, the class attended a luncheon with Priya Guha, British Consul General in San Francisco.


MEETING THE CLASS OF 2014: On the first day of the session, Carrie Calkins, left, welcomed Michelle Youngquist to the Session I orientation.

SENATE CHAMBER: A visit to the Capitol included opportunities to sit at Senators' desks and hear personal stories from Debbie Manning, CIT Alumna and former Senate Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms.

BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE: Convening in the Governor's private Council Room, the class met with high-ranking women staff members. Above, the class and Capitol visitors patted a brass bear outside the Governor's Office.

RECEPTION AT WORLD'S LARGEST WINERY: The class enjoyed a facilities tour and tasting at the wine cellar at E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto. The company is the world's largest family-owned winery and the largest exporter of California wine.

IN THE GALLO WINE CELLAR: Gallo women leaders hosted the class at a gourmet dinner.


Welcome & Overview    

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

Pam Hemann greets Judith Kjelstrom, Ph.D. (’08), Director, Biotechnology Program, University of California at Davis and Debbie Manning ('02), former president of Leadership California. Judith and Debbie gave the Class of 2014 an overview of the session and what to expect from the CIT program.

Leadership California President Yvette Herrera, left, was on hand to greet the class. At right is Debbie Manning.

Leadership Connections with
Lisa Marie Platske

With Lisa Marie Platske facilitating, the class met and shared connections in a series of exercises on the first evening of the session.

The fast-paced exercises were designed to allow a quick exchange of information to speed up the process of getting acquainted.

Vivian Reznik met Felecia Etheridge

Lisa Alexander met Shannon Shellenberg


Johanna Pyles met Michelle Hahn

Legislative Overview and State of the State with Rafe Sonenshein    

Anthony Williams, Policy Director to the President Pro Tem of the Senate Senator Darrell Steinberg and Deborah Gonzalez ('07), Chief of Staff, Assembly Republican Leader Assemblywoman Connie Conway discussed the different lenses through which Republicans and Democrats view the State of California's fiscal policies on reserves and spending.

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 and the nation.

Sonenshein's analysis covered "why California matters and the weirdness of our Constitutionthat creaky but lovable document." The constitution set up a system unlike any other democracy in the world, he said, leading to the rise of a unique set of political forces that cause political gridlock.

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

Andrea Horwatt

Michelle Hahn and Debbie Manning

Luncheon at the Leland Stanford Mansion with British Consul General Priya Guha    

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.

CIT Alumnae joined the class for a luncheon in the mansion's elegant dining room and an opportunity to hear the British Consul General from San Francisco.

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

Priya Guha, HM Consul General, San Francisco, spoke on the UK's trade relationship with California and the issue of gender in international policy.

Guha, above with Pam Hemann, left, and Leadership California President Yvette Herrera, right. Guha is the first woman in her current role, after 150 years of male Consuls General in San Francisco.

Fashionable ladies pose with a child and pet birds on a sun porch in this historic photo. After a 14-year, $22 million restoration, the mansion is now open to the public as a museum.

Interiors have been re-created based on photographs from the 1870s to match the original interior design. Many original period furnishings remain that belonged to the Stanfords.

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

On a trip to the Central Valley, buses brought the class to the E.& J. Gallo Winery campus, which 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.

Tour coordinator Lucas Redfern led the class through the Gallo bottling facility, glass works, and on a bus ride through massive warehouses.

Workers in hair nets punch in for their shifts at the bottling facility. Hundreds of product lines are bottled there, including still wines and sparkling wines.

At the Gallo Glass Works, a display of vintage bottle designs.

Massive oak doors and the Gallo roosters logo mark the entrance to the company's wine cellar. A walk down into the cellar preceded a reception and dinner.

The wine reception area features maps of the regions where Gallo grapes originate.

Hosted by women leaders from Gallo, the class tasted a white and a red wine and were served an array of hors d' oeuvres.

Karen Yost, Terri Van Hare and Sheryl Bilbrey enjoy the reception.

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



Kristi Marsella, Vice President, Gallo Human Resources, welcomed the class.

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

Class of 2014 members pose with Gallo women leaders.

A Visit to the Capitol and Breakfast with Capital Leaders    

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

Elected leaders introduced themselves and their legislative districts.

Capital leaders were seated at tables for casual but meaningful conversations. The event provides an opportunity for class members to meet elected leaders in state government.

The Legislative Process
and Capitol Tour

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

The class studied the legislative process with a presentation on "Making Law and Getting the Work Done" with Diane Boyer-Vine, left, Legislative Counsel of California, and Fredericka McGee, ('05) Deputy Chief of Staff & General Counsel, Office of the Speaker, California State Assembly.

The class convened in the Governor's Council Room, which is in the Governor's private offices and is reserved for state business meetings.


The class received 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.

Panelists were all from the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. From left, Diane Cummins, Special Advisor to the Governor, Department of Finance; Mona Pasquil, Appointments Secretary; Camille Wagner (’13), Chief Deputy Legislative Affairs Secretary; and Nancy McFadden, Executive Secretary. Pam Hemann is at right.

Mona Pasquil, center, outlined the process of getting appointed to positions on state boards and commissions.

A view of the Capitol Rotunda.

Class members visited the Assembly Chamber for a portrait.


The desks of legendary Assemblymen Jesse Unruh and Willie Brown remain unused in a corner of the chamber floor, in honor of their former occupants.

On a visit to the Senate Chamber, the class took Senators' seats, a rare privilege. The color red dominates, a tradition borrowed from England's House of Lords.

Debbie Manning shared stories with the class about her years serving as the Senate Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms.

The class walks onto the Capitol mall.

From the heart of state government at the Capitol, the class studied the complex issues that make governing our diverse state so challenging.

Issues of the Day: Covered California and the California Water Bond    

Drew Kyler, Associate Governmental Program Analyst, External Affairs, Covered California; and John Kabateck, Executive Director, National federation of Independent Business, gave an overview of the Affordable Care Act in California.

Individuals and business owners have many questions about costs, options, and participation rates, and how employers and labor will fare under the new law. "We want insurance market reform, not healthcare reform," said Kabateck. "We have no new system of health care providers."

Pam Hemann introduced former State Senator David Cogdill, President & CEO, California Building Industry Association. He was the author of the $11.14 billion Water Bond of 2009, which dealt with water conservation, delta governance and water re-use. Now the bond needs re-writing due to the state's drought.

To rewrite the 2009 law, "pork" will need to be removed in order to get the necessary 2/3 vote  ensuring its passage. What constitutes pork? That's up for debate, but generally, it's water projects that benefit one legislator's district rather than the state as a whole.

Joe Caves, Partner, Conservation Strategy Group, also worked on the pivotal Water Bond of 2009, representing environmental interests. His group does polling to measure the likelihood of the new bond's passage. Differing priorities of water-using groups in California's diverse regions make for difficult policymaking decisions.



2014 Class Photo


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