"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 III

JULY 27-29, 2014

"California's Global Business and Economy: Opportunities & Challenges"

THE CLASS OF 2014 met in Los Angeles for Session III. A highlight was a tour of the LA Harbor and Port.

LEARNING FROM PEERS: Leadership California Sessions are not only an opportunity to absorb exceptional class content, but to enhance the learning curve by tapping into the knowledge of peer business leaders with diverse talents.

STRAIGHT TALK ON THE ECONOMY: Perry Wong of the Milken Institute, gave a presentation on California's economy. Califonia's in good shape because the state is diverse and diversified, with exports and tech in the north, entertainment and tourism in the south, and agricultural output in between.

READY TO RECYCLE: At El Segundo's Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility, the class took a tour, drank the water, and learned about California's drought.

WOMEN LEADERS IN ENTERTAINMENT: A visit and dinner at the Hollywood Museum featured table conversations with women leaders from the entertainment industry. Download recipes for Avocado Cucumber Soup or Quinoa & Tangerine Salad from Someone's in the Kitchen.

WOMENS' VISION IN THE WORKPLACE: With consultant and author of “The Female Vision” Sally Helgesen presenting, the class discussed work issues and leadership behaviors particular to women.

The Female Vision
Sally Helgesen


Sally Helgesen shared insights from her book, The Female Vision. Helgesen found in her research that men and women notice and value different things.

In a business context, women scan the environment with a broad-spectrum, radar-like view, whereas men have single-minded "laser vision," focused generally on the bottom line. Men's focus is seen by organizations as a leadership behavior.

Women leaders should be able to capitalize on their value in the workforce by framing their unique ability to "see around corners" as an asset to organizations, said Helgesen.

Decades ago, women were thought to lack "vision" that would be useful to companies. Now, what women notice and value, along with skills they bring to the work environment, such as relationship-building, are mainstream.

Trisha Muse

Fiona Ma and Margaret Mette

Lessons Learned on the Journey
with Women Leaders Panel

A distinguished panel of women leaders included, from left, Jan Perry, General Manager, Economic & Workforce Development Department, City of Los Angeles; Sharon L. Tomkins, Acting General Counsel, Southern California Gas Company; and Ann McElaney-Johnson, Ph.D., President, Mount St. Mary’s College.

Introduced by Pam Hemann and hosted by facilitator Barbara Kaufman, Ph.D., the panelists discussed their career trajectories, the role of mentors in their success, and the issues in their sectors that they are most passionate about.


Each participant said she feels a special calling to serve. For Perry, it is working on behalf of the at-risk to generate jobs, housing and educational opportunities. As a company attorney, Tomkins finds satisfaction in being a trusted advisor to company leaders. McElaney-Johnson is creating pathways for those who have not had access to higher education. At right, facilitator Barbara Kaufman, Ph.D.. 

California's Global Economy
with Perry Wong

Perry Wong, Director of Research, Milken Institute, spoke on "Moving Forward: Growth Prospect on the World, U.S. and California Economies." He is a specialist in regional economics and is actively involved in projects to increase access to technology and regional economic development in California.

Wong devoted most of his presentation to the national and global economy, where California is a major player. Though household debt is lower since the recession, jobs have still not recovered to pre-recession levels, and more extended families have consolidated their living arrangements.

Wong pointed out that we are now in the longest period in history of negative interest rates. Older people, who are generally averse to investing in a volatile stock market, are currently losing money on their savings accounts. Above, class member Keesha-Lu Mitra spoke with Wong after the presentation.

Education to Workforce
with Leaders Panel

Pam Hemann introduced a panel of leaders on workforce readiness, who are all invested in improving educational opportunities as well as attracting and growing jobs in the Southern California region.

Panelists were, from left, Christine Cooper, Ph.D., Vice President, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.; Greg Gonzalez, Staffing & Operations Manager – Human Resources, Southern California Gas Company; and Priscilla Lizárraga, Senior Vice President, TELACU Communications Group.

Class members Natalie Cardenas, right, and Linda Brown, center, met with panelists Priscilla Lizárraga, left, provides opportunities for a college education to the underserved in LA through the TELACU Foundation.

California Water Issues with Margie Wheeler and Tour of Edward C. Little Recycling Facility    

At the Edward C. Little Recycling Facility with class members Mary King, Johanna Pyles, Sheryl Bilbrey, and Julie Johnson.

The El Segundo plant is unique in providing recycled "designer" water for client industries, such as oil refineries.

The class readies for a facility tour.

Investigating new ways to manage and supply water is now a major concern of California companies and the women leaders of the Class of 2014.


The facility supplies recycled water to replenish ground water in coastal areas, creating a barrier against saltwater incursion into the aquifer. They also supply water for the golf course lawn next door.

Ultra-pure water for reverse-osmosis filters in industrial applications and special waters designed for cooling towers and boilers are produced at the facility.

Though it's still not legally available as drinking water, recycled water is perfectly safe to drink.

The class lifts their glasses in a toast.

Margie Wheeler (’11), Executive Strategist, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and member of Leadership California's Board of Directors, covered the California drought and its devastating cost to the state's economy.

Hollywood Museum with Women Leaders in Entertainment    

A visit to the Hollywood Museum provided opportunities to experience Hollywood’s most well-known industry, spotlight its rich history, iconic legends and stars, and to meet industry women leaders.

Class members Terri Van Hare and Andrea Horwatt flanked a bronze statue of a Hollywood icon at the museum's front door.

The class was received with wine in the museum foyer. The evening included remarks by Donelle Dadigan, the museum's founder and president. A philanthropist and lover of history, Dadigan battled to acquire, restore and preserve the Historic Max Factor Building to house the collections.

The museum boasts the largest authentic collection of Hollywood history in the world, including many costumes worn by the stars.

The building was painstakingly restored to maintain the integrity and history of the Max Factor legacy, where Hollywood stars got their famous looks.

Fixtures and decor remain as they were when Hollywood icons such as Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe came in for hair and makeup consultations.

Memorabilia from film and television hits are included in the vast collections.

Fiona Ma, Pam Hemann, and producer, co-writer and director Sascha Rice.

A life-size model from The Beverly Hillbillies TV series

Industry women leaders including writers, producers, directors and and officials from the Directors Guild of America and the California Film Commission joined the class as table guests for one-on-one conversations. The elegant dinner was catered by Someone's in the Kitchen. Download recipes here for Avocado Cucumber Soup or Quinoa & Tangerine Salad.

Class members got ready for their closeup.

In the heart of Hollywood's tourist mecca, the museum is steps away from the famous "Walk of Fame."

Port of Los Angeles Visit

Cynthia M. Ruiz, Deputy Executive Director of External Relations, Port of Los Angeles, welcomed the class.

A boat tour of the port's waterways, with their huge cranes and ships, brought into clear focus the port's status as an economic driver for the region.

The Port of Los Angeles is the busiest container port in North America.

In addition to container ships, fishing boats and pleasure cruise ships also dock there.

The port is known for its environmental initiatives which promote a sustainable "grow green" philosophy, and for leadership in environmental stewardship and clean technologies.

The Port of Los Angeles generates employment for more than 3 million Americans nationwide, and nearly one million Californians work at jobs related to trade there.

Nine berths at the port feature special dockside electrical connectors that allow ships to avoid idling on diesel power, an environmental plus.

Container ships have grown in size, necessitating installation of ever larger cranes and retrofits to make them taller.

Fiona Ma, Laura Davick, Pam Hemann, Gerri Higgs, DaVina Flemings.

Small Business:
California's Economic Driver

Debbie Cabreira-Johnson, Program Director, Los Angeles County Office of Small Business, gave a presentation on small businesses as a driver of the local economy. She helps members of the small business community connect to government contracts.

How to get into contractor databases, how to bid on contracts and how to get certified are all part of the learning curve for small business owners.

Networking and marketing a small business takes knowhow. LA County alone has 39 purchasing units to get to know.





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