"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.



Leadership California International Visitor Leadership Program Meetings

Leadership California Alumnae and supporters lead the way in talks with international women's delegations visiting the state of California.

Now the "go-to" organization at the state capital and cities across the state, alumnae gather to welcome women's groups from across the globe.

A luncheon and open forum discussion highlight each meeting. The visitors are connected to Leadership California through trade and diplomacy organizations, listed below.

International Participants

Visiting women leaders work in their home countries in roles related to human rights, violence against women and children, terrorism, religious extremism, drug trafficking, cybercrime, drug use, social mobilization, women’s empowerment, law enforcement and justice, conflict resolution and human trafficking. The work of many of the leaders also concerns policies and programs in a variety of professional sectors that promote leadership development for women, mentoring programs and networking opportunities for women.


Meetings Across the State


Women leaders from Canada met Leadership California alumnae and friends at the home of the Canadian Consul in Los Angeles on July 18 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the CIT program. A panel of Canadian women entrepreneurs presented a special report.


Seventeen countries including Egypt, Sri Lanka, Netherlands - Roundtable discussion on “Women & Justice” - May 28, San Diego

Pakistan - Film screening of Miss Representation, San Diego


Palestinian Territories – March 13, Sacramento

Southwest & Central Asia – Sept. 18, Sacramento

Algeria, The Bahamas, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, Ireland, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nepal, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom (Scotland), Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zambia - Nov. 3, Sacramento


Georgia – June 13, Sacramento
Israel – April 19, Sacramento


Europe – March 20, Sacramento
Afghanistan – Oct. 2, Sacramento


East Asia – March 21, Sacramento
Haiti – March 23, Los Angeles

Africa – Sept. 27, Sacramento



Northern California World Trade Center

San Diego
San Diego Diplomacy Council

Los Angeles
International Visitors Council of Los Angeles

San Francisco
Northern California World Trade Center

“Women and Justice” Roundtable with
International Women Leaders

May 28, 2015, SAN DIEGO - Six alumnae and friends representing Leadership California met with an international delegation of women from 17 countries including Egypt, Sri Lanka, and the Netherlands. Participants discussed “Women & Justice” followed by a Q&A with the delegates. The event was hosted by The San Diego Diplomacy Council. The group visited the U.S. under the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program.

Alumnae Host International Leaders
on Sacramento Stopover

GLOBAL DELEGATION - On November 2, 2014, Leadership California Alumnae and supporters met a delegation of visiting leaders in Sacramento.

by Kate Killeen, CIT Class of 2008 and LC to DC 2013

November 3, 2014SACRAMENTO - Leadership California Alumnae met with 16 leaders from across the globe—Algeria, The Bahamas, Egypt, Georgia, Guatemala, Ireland, Kuwait, Lebanon, Nepal, Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Kingdom (Scotland), Vanuatu, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zambia. The visitors came under the State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program.


PARTICIPANTS FROM Ireland, Scotland, and Zambia shared stories about their journey across the United States and expressed interest in American elections and voting, and issues of social justice. Rana Al-Sadoun of Kuwait, an entrepreneur and active member of the Kuwait and global human rights community, said she visited the town of Ferguson, Missouri, the site of mass protests following the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager by a police officer. The visitors engaged in wide-ranging conversations about the election process, work-life balance, women in politics, and talked about their home country working roles. The speakers ended by quoting Martin Luther King: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

LEADERSHIP CALIFORNIA ALUMNAE attending the event were Debbie Manning, Judith Kjelstrom, Kate Killeen, Eileen Reynolds, Kathryn Dresslar and Ezilda Samoville.
Tessa Carter, Manager, International Visitor Leadership Program, Northern California World Trade Center and others helped to organize the event.


Kate Killeen (’08) (center) lunched with Elsa Avalos Lepe, Vice Minister of Labor for Administration, Ministry of Labor, Guatemala; and Rana Al-Sadoun, a Kuwaiti entrepreneur.

International Women Leaders Delegation Visits Sacramento, Meets with Alumnae

DELEGATION OF LEADERS - On September 18, 2014, Leadership California Alumnae and supporters met in the capital for talks with women of note in a delegation from Central and South Asia. Leadership California is now the "go-to" organization at the state capital to welcome women's delegations from across the globe. A luncheon and open forum discussion highlight each meeting.

DISCUSSION OF CRITICAL ISSUES - From left, Kate Killeen ('08), Senior Staff Counsel, California Department of Water Resources; Naheeda Thohir, Inspector of Police, Head of Leadership and Training Management Unit, Institute for Security and Law Enforcement Studies, Maldives; Basundara Khadka, Police Inspector and Deputy Director of Human Rights Unit, Nepal Police.

LEADER TO LEADER - Judy Kjelstrom, Ph.D., in yellow, and Eileen Reynolds, right, in a small-group talk with visiting women leaders. Participants agreed that support and mentoring from women can help each woman find her voice.


Leadership California Reaches Around the Globe with Women Leader Roundtables

In June, a Women's Delegation from the Republic of Georgia visited the Capitol in Sacramento and met with Leadership California Alumnae.

by Carol Caley - June 27, 2013 - CALIFORNIA, HOME OF BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY GIANTS, nucleus of media and entertainment, birthplace of innovative products and social trends—is also one of the most forward-looking places in the world for the advancement of women. So it’s no surprise that women leaders from across the globe aspire to visit—and that Leadership California alumnae are there to meet them.

LEADERSHIP CALIFORNIA HAS NOW MADE A NAME FOR ITSELF by rolling out a warm welcome at roundtables for international women’s delegations. Last week, a group of delegates from the Republic of Georgia met with alumnae Kate Killeen (’08), Dr. Judy Kjelstrom (’08), Debbie Manning (’02), and Ezilda Samoville (’08) in Sacramento. The four delegates were invited to the United States through the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, representing a Georgian project called “LGBT NGO Management and Social Diversity.”

Alumnae Meet with Israeli Women–Leadership CA is “Go-To” Group for Women's Delegations


June, 2013- In April, the California Senate Office of International Relations (SOIR) invited Leadership California to organize a group of CIT Alumnae to meet with a delegation of Israeli women who were visiting Sacramento.

The five women were curious about women’s political leadership in the U.S. and constitutional safeguards here that recognize and protect women’s rights. The women’s visit is part of a three-week U.S. Department of State-sponsored project.

Leadership California Alumnae participants were Amy Alley (’11),Kathryn Dresslar (’03), Tiffany Hunter Green (’12), Kate Killeen(’08), Debbie Manning (’02), and Ezilda Samoville (’08).


Leadership California Pres Meets Women Scholars
from Countries in Crisis 

January 2013- Leadership California Board President Paula March, second from left, met with international scholarship students from Open A Door, an organization that provides mentoring and financial support to women from countries in conflict who are studying at U.S. universities. Six young women from Rwanda and Afghanistan are currently attending top-rated U.S. colleges through the organization's scholarship program. Open A Door focuses on countries where women are most likely to be marginalized after a conflict. For more information: www.openadoorfoundation.org


A Haitian delegation visited Pasadena in December 2011.
Southland alumnae hosted the meeting.


Opening Doors
by Kate Killeen

June 22, 2011- A DELEGATION OF 13 WOMEN LEADERS from North Africa and the Middle East met with women from Leadership California and the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) on June 20 at the California State Library in Sacramento. Women from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Gaza, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates were selected to spend 21 days in the United States through the U.S. Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program.

Delegates were here to network, acquire an overview of the involvement of women in the social, political, and economic systems in the U.S., and to identify ways to enhance the role of women as economic leaders.

Leadership California attendees included Debbie Manning, Ezilda Samoville, Myesha Jackson, Amy Alley, Joan Coleman and Kate Killeen.


Alumnae meet African Entrepreneurs in Roundtable
Women’s Delegation Welcomed to State Capital

Women from across Africa visited the State Capital and met with Leadership California alumnae.

October 20, 2011- Six women entrepreneurs from Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Sudan and Swaziland visited the State Capital on September 27, hosted by members of the California Senate Office of International Relations. After a VIP tour of the Capitol, the women met Leadership California alumnae and board members for a roundtable discussion.

Leadership California president Debbie Manning and Executive Director Pam Hemann were on hand, along with alumnae Dr. Judy Kjelstrom (’08), Maria Madril (’10) and Sandra Perez (’07). Ezilda Samoville (’08), Executive Director, California International Relations Foundation, hosted a buffet luncheon for the group.


The State Capitol event featured a meeting with women leaders from
East Asia and the Pacific region.

LC Alumnae meet East Asian, Haitian Women Leaders at U.S. State Department Forums

March, 2011 - This week, Leadership California alumnae met with women leaders from East Asia at the Capitol in Sacramento, and with a delegation from Haiti at a Pasadena community center. The two events were part of the U.S. State Department's 100 Women Initiative: Empowering Women and Girls through International Exchanges.

Escorting the Sacramento delegation was Shannon Shellenberg, California State Senate International Relations.



Alumnae Login | REGISTER for Events | About Us | People | Activities | Calendar | Women Leaders: First Person Profiles | Watch our Videos | Contact Us | Subscribe to our e-News | Support Us
Privacy Policy