"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
"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
"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. Consultant
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
“SUCCESS TO SIGNIFICANCE.” It’s not just a slogan. To these dedicated alumnae and supporters of the Leadership California mission, it’s a calling. The 19-member Leadership California Board of Directors is composed of people who work behind the scenes to oversee the CIT program and a number of vital initiatives designed to change the face of women’s leadership in the state.
THE BOARD IS A DIVERSE TEAM from business, community and government organizations across California, which supports the organization by promoting outreach and recruitment, developing financial resources and sponsorships, planning the annual legacy of Leadership Awards, promoting regional activities, guiding marketing efforts and charting the future course of the CIT program.
Board of Directors Members:
Are responsible for defining and promoting the mission, vision and goals of Leadership California
Participate in strategic planning for the future of the organization
Actively seek financial supporters and opportunities to promote Leadership California
Actively promote Leadership California’s programs: the yearlong California Issues & Trends (CIT) program, Central Valley Women’s Forum and Washington DC program (LC to DC), and assist in recruitment of program candidates
Contribute their time and financial resources to the organization
Reflect the diversity Leadership California seeks to achieve in all of its activities, representing a range of sectors, geographic regions, professional backgrounds and ethnicities
Dr. Margie Wheeler is an executive strategist for The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She currently works within Metropolitan’s Bay-Delta Initiatives program focused on long-term strategic planning. She serves as an adjunct professor in the MBA program at the University of La Verne.
An employee of Metropolitan for nearly 20 years, she has held various positions in water planning, public affairs and the executive office. She also owned a resource management consulting company responsible for the development and implementation of award-winning resource conservation education programs. Margie served as an adjunct professor at Mt. San Antonio Community College for more than 12 years.
Margie earned a Doctor of Policy, Planning and Development at USC. She earned a masters degree in advanced management from the Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management at the Claremont Graduate University and a MBA from the University of La Verne. She is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma.
Margie currently serves on the board of the Southern California Leadership Network and as a member of the University of La Verne School of Business and Public Administration Advisory Board. She is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy.
Nancy Shore DiLella is a legal leader and business attorney who has been working in the pharmaceutical industry for 25 years. Nancy currently serves as Vice President, Corporate Law at Genentech, Inc., where she leads a group of 80+ attorneys and staff members who provide legal support to Genentech and Roche in the areas of healthcare law, employment law, corporate and transactional law, real estate, land use, environmental law, and corporate records. Nancy is also a champion and sponsor of the Legal Department’s diversity and inclusion efforts, and a standing member of Genentech’s US Leadership Team.
Nancy has extensive leadership experience in developing and implementing organizational and people-focused strategies, and combining legal expertise with business knowledge to identify and solve complex legal issues and advance corporate objectives. Nancy is the recipient of the Healthcare Business Women’s Rising Star Award (2016), YWCA’s Tribute to Women in Industry Award (2009) and numerous organizational awards. Nancy is also the Vice President of the Board for Leadership California and a 2016 alumna of the Leadership California Issues and Trends program.
Nancy, a New Jersey native and former oncology nurse, is a graduate of Seton Hall University School of Law and Fairfield University. She currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three children.
As an executive at IBM, Kathleen Grave spends her time making a meaningful impact, increasing client success in partnership with IBM, transforming industries and delivering cognitive solutions to global clients. Kathleen’s leadership roles have been in IBM’s most strategic growth businesses including Cognitive Computing, Cloud, and Analytics, where her focus has been to define global strategies and mobilize new channels and ecosystems to market.
Kathleen recently moved to join the leadership team as Global Director, Channels at The Weather Company, an IBM company. In an earlier role, she established the first IBM Watson Strategic Alliances as the first IBM Worldwide Sales Leader for Watson. Kathleen identifies new business opportunities and forges strategic alliances under IBM’s smarter planet initiatives.
Kathleen has served as a board advisor to several start-ups. She is a passionate supporter of California innovations, emerging technology initiatives and sustainability best practices and dedicates her time developing business opportunities for California commerce in Europe and Asia as co-founder and president of EI Consulting Group.
She is professor of strategy at Pepperdine University, Graziadio School of Business and Management and is a 2016 doctoral candidate at University of Liverpool, UK. Her dissertation research focus is integrated Smart Cities.
Sue Parker has been a staff member of the State of California’s Office of the Chief Clerk for more than 20 years. In that time, she has held several positions within the office, including Minute Clerk, the person responsible for publishing the Journal, the Assembly’s official record; and being the first female Reading Clerk. Currently, as the assistant chief clerk, she oversees the operations of the Assembly Desk, which includes managing the staff responsible for publishing the Assembly’s three key publications: Daily File, Daily Journal, and History; processing committee reports and amendments; and the reprinting of bills as necessary.
Sue is responsible for coordinating activities and actions between the Governor’s Office, State Senate, Legislative Counsel, the Legislative Data Center, and the Office of State Publishing that impact the Assembly. Sue has had a key role in implementing changes at the Assembly Desk that have improved the efficiency of Assembly Floor sessions. During her tenure, she has influenced development of information technology to streamline the process of managing bills and update the official Chief Clerk website to allow greater public access to the legislative process. Prior to joining the Office of the Chief Clerk, Sue was a Senate Fellow. She earned a BA in psychology from UC Davis.
Carol Hunter is currently a senior director for Symantec Corporation, overseeing the Consumer Business Unit legal matters.
Carol manages the team that provides legal coverage for all consumer sales deals, the consumer support and services group, the consumer product development group, and the consumer business development group. She identifies and addresses issues for the consumer business unit as a whole, and provides advisory support and is involved in the business planning process with the business unit’s senior management. Carol previously was general counsel at Magellan Corporation. Prior to that she obtained valuable legal experience as a corporate attorney with Fenwick & West, primarily handling startup entity corporate matters. Previous to that position, Carol was an attorney in the corporate legal department of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown and Enersen.
Diana Reyes is an award winning communications and public affairs professional. She is Manager, Change Management & Communications for Chevron Corporation, one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. Prior to this role, she was manager, public affairs; manager, California corporate affairs; and before that, general manager of global communications for Chevron’s Downstream operations. She also directed global brand and marketing communications for the company’s global lubricants business unit.
Before joining Chevron in 1997, she worked at two start-up companies: as marketing communications manager for PacTel Teletrac (later Vodaphone), and as marketing manager for Nextel Communications.
Diana started her communications and marketing career as an account executive with the global advertising agency Young & Rubicam, where she managed AT&T, United Postal and General Foods accounts and then moved to Saatchi & Saatchi where she managed the Toyota account.
Diana is past President of Leadership California, serving during 2016 and 2017, and the active lead for Chevron’s Executive Women’s Network supporting diversity and inclusion efforts. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from New York University.
Ann Ayres is director of customer strategy and engagement for Southern California Gas Company. She directs the development and execution of communications strategy including digital, print, TV, radio, web, social media, bill inserts and customer newsletters for the 5 million residential and small to medium commercial customers SCG serves.
Ann sets guidelines and oversees the consistent application of the company’s brand and identity. Her organization manages all primary and secondary market research in support of company strategic planning, providing-first hand data to what influences and drives consumer behavior, needs and attitudes. Ann sets strategy and is responsible for the execution and maintenance of the company’s website, secured My Account portal and intranet site.
A graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, Ann joined Southern California Gas Company in 1986 and has primarily worked in the market research and communications area. Ann is a certified trained focus group moderator and group facilitator. Ann serves on the Board of Regents and Marketing Committee at La Salle High School in Pasadena. Previously, she was a board member and Registrar for the California Stars Youth Hockey Association. Ann lives in Monrovia.
David Boyd DNP, RN, CNS, RN-BC is the regional director for nursing informatics for patient care services at Northern California Kaiser Permanente. David’s areas of interest include use of electronic health records and information technologies to enhance professional nursing practice, develop decision support tools, advance nursing leadership, support regulatory compliance, and align health care quality and information system governance.
For the past twenty years, he has held a Clinical Nurse Specialist certificate in California. His staff nurse practice focus was emergency/trauma nursing. Areas of practice interest included intimate partner violence, disaster preparedness and clinical documentation improvement.
Previously, David was vice-president/chief nursing informatics officer for Community Medical Centers in Central California, where he held nursing leadership positions, and a director-level position for clinical effectiveness in information services. After an organizational golive in 2011 with a large EHR vendor, David was recruited to be the system’s first CNIO. In 2016 he accepted an opportunity with Kaiser Permanente over their 21 hospital facilities in Northern California.
David received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the CSU Fresno and a master’s degree in critical care/trauma with CNS emphasis at UC San Francisco. He completed the medical informatics certificate course of the National Library of Medicine. He earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree in 2013. He also attained national certification as an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Informatics Nurse.
Catherine A. Brown is Vice President, West Coast for Vetted Solutions, an executive search and leadership consulting firm specializing in the association, nonprofit and hospitality industries.
Catherine has more than 35 years’ experience in the non-profit sector, having served as Executive Director for philanthropic organizations and professional associations. She is a Certified Association Executive and a Fellow in the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
Prior to joining Vetted Solutions, Catherine was President of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation (JWCF) headquartered in Newport Beach, CA. Created in the legacy of John Wayne, the foundation is a public charity whose mission is to bring courage, strength and grit to the fight against cancer.
Prior to joining JWCF, Catherine most recently served as the Vice President, Pacific West Region of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). As Region VP, she was accountable for the revenue generation, operations and strategic positioning of the region, which encompasses 7 states and generated more than $40 million for the LLS mission.
She received her Bachelor of Science Degree (Nursing) from Hunter College of The City University of New York and her Masters of Science Degree (Nursing) from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also minored in Health Care Management at the Wharton School of Business. She also has held numerous committee chair positions and board positions in organizations such as the American Society of Association Executives and the ASAE Foundation.
Donna Duhe has been an active participant in Bay Area issues for her whole life. Her firm commitment to community is evidenced by her many volunteer efforts including current board leadership at Holy Names High School, in Oakland, Westside Community Services, in San Francisco, and the San Francisco Urban Community Housing Corporation. She also serves as a commissioner on the Oakland citizens police review board. Donna’s career includes 20 years in the private sector working for RR Donnelley & Sons, a Fortune 250 company, where she held leadership positions in sales and marketing. As vice president of sales, she managed domestic and global teams and developed skills in sales, strategic planning, team building, marketing and program development. She left the private sector in 2004 to move into non-profit service in an effort to use her business skills and experience to make a greater impact in the local community.
Donna is vice president of fundraising, Pacific division, for the American Red Cross. Prior to that, she was vice president of development at United Way of the Bay Area, where she was responsible for leading a development team that managed over 400 corporate fundraising campaigns across seven Bay Area counties. She left the United Way to become the chief development officer for Cal Alumni Association at UC Berkeley, where she worked closely with marketing, finance, and community investment, as well as with volunteers, donors and corporate partners, to maximize communication and opportunity. She was recruited for her current position for the American Red Cross in August of 2011.
Donna holds an MBA from University of San Francisco, a masters degree in sociology from U.C. Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Santa Clara University. Donna is one of six children and a lifelong resident of the East Bay.
Tassi Espos CLU, ChFC is agency sales leader, San Jose South, for State Farm Insurance Companies. She is responsible for providing sales and business consulting for fifty agents and 100+ agent team members representing over $110 million in annual premium sales. She began her career with State Farm Insurance in 1988, holding various roles including life underwriting, claims, human resources and agency. She has been in her current position in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2005. Tassi has an undergraduate degree in business administration from CSU Sacramento and earned her Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant designations from the American College in Bryn Mawr, PA.
Tassi lives in Oakland with her husband and two children where she is active in such organizations as the National Charity League and Oakland Catholic Diocese CYO.
Michelle Hahn is district sales manager for Fortune 500 industrial supply company W.W. Grainger Inc. (WWG), managing a team of 13 account managers and producing annual revenue of $35M.
Prior to joining WWG, Michelle worked 15 years for the City of Los Angeles. She worked 10 years at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where she held various roles in the Public Affairs Division. She spent five years at City Hall both in the Mayor’s office and in Council District 4. While in the Mayor’s office, she served in the role as central area director, leading all community relations efforts on behalf of the Mayor of Los Angeles. She was also the lead project manager for the Fallen Firefighter’s Memorial located in Hollywood. During her time in the Mayor and Council Office, she planned and organized several highly visible community events and meetings, and worked with all City departments to improve the quality of life for residents.
Believing in giving back and helping others, Michelle was also an executive director at two nonprofits focused on helping at-risk youth. At both organizations, she was instrumental in developing the board of directors, including board recruitment, establishment of committees, rewriting bylaws, implementing fundraising goals, and planning both organizations’ first fundraising galas. Michelle is a graduate of Pepperdine University, where she received a BS in management. A native of Los Angeles, she lives in Santa Monica with her husband James K. Hahn, a superior court judge.
Christi Haley-Stover is the president of Platinum Resource Group Inc., a project-based and interim professional staffing firm to Fortune 1000 companies with offices in Orange County and San Francisco. After a professional career in information technology, accounting, finance, and business operations with companies such as Disney, Toshiba, Nestle, and FedEx, she is now doing more of what she loves in a company that she created from scratch.
Her passion is initiating and developing relationships. Helping others succeed is her core business strategy. Throughout her career, developing and creating deeper relationships has led to a few cool discoveries, all of which were based on research on how to initiate a strong bond with someone and to create a "power cord" that connects two people together. It’s a powerful practice for business relationships, networking connections, and in creating a bond with a hiring manager during job interviews.
Christi received her MBA and a BS in computer information systems at Chapman University. She serves as the president for Advancing Women in Technology, a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of women in technology fields. She also serves on the Board of Trustees for Chapman University’s member business associates mentor program, Olive Crest, Taller San Jose, and on the technology advisory board for Working Wardrobes. In addition to her board service she also volunteers her time for WISEPlace.
Dr. Mary Ellen Kassotakis has responsibility for the Leadership & Professional Development Center within Oracle’s Global Organization and Talent Development (Human Resources) group. She has more than twenty-five years of experience in large, global companies. Her areas of expertise include performance improvement, organization development, leadership development, women’s leadership development, strategic planning, diversity and inclusion, coaching and change management. Mary Ellen is the Immediate Past President of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI). She is also active with the International Leadership Association as well as the International Coach Federation. Mary Ellen also serves as an adjunct professor for graduate students in Drexel University’s Human Resources Development curriculum.
She has volunteered with Shriners Hospitals for Children Northern California, the Sacramento Professional Business Women of California, Roseville Joint Unified High School District, Girl Scouts of Tierra del Oro, Families First, the Junior League of Sacramento, and the National Charity League. She is the mother of two California graduate school students, and when time permits Mary Ellen is a recreational golfer.
Mary Ellen’s academic background includes a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from the University of Southern California, a Masters of Business Administration degree from San Francisco State University with a focus in international business, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Certified Performance Technologist with the International Society for Performance and Instruction. Additionally, she earned the Co-Active Professional Coach Certification from the Coaches Training Institute and maintains the Associate Coach Credential from the International Coach Federation in addition to holding a Lifetime Credential in Business Management with the California Community Colleges.
Mary King is vice president of human resources at Pacific Gas & Electric Company. She graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and joined the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant in the Signal Corps. She served as a platoon leader and executive officer while stationed with the 123rd Signal Battalion in Germany, was promoted to captain, and served as the signal officer for the MI Battalion supporting the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, NY.
After six years with the Army, Mary transitioned to civilian life and began working for Indianapolis Power & Light. She learned the utility business as a front line supervisor for maintenance & construction teams, the call center, the emergency response center, and then meter operations. After five years, she transferred to a labor relations role and began her pursuit of a law degree. Mary graduated from Indiana University School of Law at Indianapolis and became the chief negotiator for Indianapolis Power & Light. She is a member of the Indiana State Bar Association.
In California, Mary worked for Calpine, then Pacific Gas & Electric Company, where she has worked in roles in labor relations, human resources, and as chief of staff to the president. Currently at PG&E, she oversees labor relations, diversity & inclusion, talent acquisition, workforce development, and HR Business Partner.
Danell Scarborough, Ed.D. was most recently the executive director of the San Diego Human Relations Commission and executive director for the city’s Citizens’ Review Board on Police Practices, where she advised the mayor and city council on social justice issues to foster mutual understanding and inclusion and to protect basic human and civil rights. Projects included forums for the Regional Hate Crimes Coalition and Disabilities Awareness, the Harvey Milk Diversity and MLK All People’s Breakfasts, and the Safe Schools Coalition (anti-bullying policy) for San Diego city schools. The Citizens’ Review Board seeks to increase public confidence in, and effectiveness of, the San Diego Police Department through review of complaints of misconduct brought by members of the public against officers.
Danell has led public sector agencies through organization development initiatives in leadership, management and board development, change management, diversity, strategic planning and community involvement. She has served as director of administration for a city attorney; project leader for The Diversity Commitment, San Diego’s nationally recognized culture change effort, and was associate director during the creation of THE CENTRE for Organization Effectiveness.
She serves as president of the board for the California Association of Human Relations Organizations and serves on the board of Public Conversations West. Danell is a trained and experienced mediator. She is a graduate of Leadership California’s CIT program and LEAD San Diego Impact Program. In 2012, LEAD San Diego awarded her the Herbert G. Klein Visionary Leadership Award. She earned her doctorate from UC San Diego in leadership studies. Her dissertation focused on leadership in local government organizations.
Kimberly Shiner has spent nearly two decades as a fundraising, public relations, and community outreach professional. Inspired by her late great uncle, Los Angeles Councilman Gilbert Lindsay and grandmother, Ozie B. Gonzaque, Commissioner and former chair of HACLA, Kim remains passionate about community, volunteerism and mentoring.
Kim currently serves as the Associate Vice President for University Development at California State University San Bernardino. She was part of securing the university's recent single largest cash gift in its history to name the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration. Previously, she served in a dual role as senior director for corporate and foundation relations for CSUSB, and chief fundraiser for its College of Business and Public Administration. Kim is passionate about advancing her leadership skills, and is an alum of the African American Board Leadership Institute (AABLI), and the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP) Regional Leadership Academy.
Kim spent 13 years at the University of Southern California (USC) in various leadership positions during two historic fundraising campaigns for $2.2 billion and its current one for $6 billion. She managed fundraising programs for the Keck School of Medicine, Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and Civic Engagement. She also provided leadership for the University's employee giving campaign, which enjoyed three-record breaking years raising more than $1 million annually for community university initiatives. Prior to her fundraising career, Kim worked for top public relations firms including Lages & Associates, Ruder Finn and Carl Byoir and Associates. She also worked on the first museum of news, the Newseum (part of the Freedom Forum) in the DC area while living there and attending Howard University.
Kim received her Bachelor's degree in journalism and Masters in Public Administration from California State University Northridge.
Janice Doucet Thompson Ed.D. is founder and principal of JD Thompson & Associates, a Sacramento-based leadership and management consulting firm. As an organization development practitioner, she has passion and knowledge to optimize leadership effectiveness and resiliency within her client organizations. A highly experienced and skilled consultant, Janice understands what it takes to deliver results in challenging and complex environments. Her areas of expertise include succession planning and talent management, leadership and management development, change leadership and executive coaching.
Janice has achieved results for people working in a variety of industries. Her recent client work includes projects with Cathay Bank, Farmers’ Rice Cooperative, Teichert, Inc., Fat Family Restaurant Group, Ramos Oil, Tri Counties Bank, Raley’s, Blue Shield of California, The State Compensation Insurance Fund, and MBK Engineers. She is a Consulting Associate with The Ken Blanchard Companies and a certified coach with Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching.
Janice is passionate about teaching and serves on the faculty at the University of San Diego, where she teaches succession planning and talent management for the school of business administration. A lifelong learner, Janice holds a doctorate in education in organizational leadership from Brandman University, part of the Chapman University system, a master’s degree in human resources and organization development from the University of San Francisco, and a bachelor’s degree in public relations from CSU San Jose.
Linda White is a Government Affairs Manager for BMW of North America. In her capacity she is responsible for tracking legislation in California, Oregon, and Washington State. She also keeps a pulse on global issues relevant to the industry to monitor trends. Linda is responsible for a wide array of topics such as vehicle safety, autonomous vehicles, electric mobility, and more. She is also responsible for managing the daily operations of the satellite office and working closely with various departments in New Jersey and Germany. Linda attended the COP21 Conference in Paris, France in 2015 and represented BMW in various sessions. Prior to joining BMW NA, she worked at the Auto Alliance where she was responsible for public relations, tracking legislation, and managing contract lobbyists and support staff.
As a member of She Shares Mentorship Program, Linda shares her work experience with her designated mentee. She is an active member in the community and she enjoys mentoring to youth. Linda also spearheads community events recognizing local community leaders and teens in the Sacramento region.
Celina L. Zacarias is the director of community and government relations for California State University Channel Islands. She is responsible for advancing the university’s positive presence and goodwill by planning, directing, and implementing a comprehensive proactive program of community and government relations. Celina is also responsible for establishing and maintaining strong relationships with local, state, and national officials to communicate positions on issues and obtain support for resources on behalf of the campus.
The daughter of migrant farmworkers, Celina was born in Michoacán, Mexico and came to the United States when she was three years old. Both her father and grandfather were a part of the Bracero Program from 1942-1964.
Celina graduated from UCSB with bachelor of arts degrees in Spanish literature and Hispanic civilization. She has studied abroad in Cuba, China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and England.
Celina has 25 years of business experience from her careers at GMAC Mortgage, Wells Fargo and Cabrillo Economic Development Corporation.
In 2011 Celina was one of the 40 participants selected by the U.S. Secretary of Defense to participate in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference which allowed her to engage with top senior leadership at the Pentagon and at military commands throughout the country.
Celina holds leadership positions in many professional, economic and charitable organizations. Her contributions to the community have resulted in numerous awards and acknowledgements, including 2012 Top Latina in Higher Education Award; 2006 Top Woman in Business, Pacific Coast Business Times; 2011 Chairman’s Award of Excellence and 2007 Woman of the Year, Oxnard Chamber of Commerce; 2007 Diversity Ambassador, American Red Cross.