"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.


PAM JOHNSON at Angels Landing at Zion National Park in Utah, June 2015. Pam is director of educational partnerships at Emerald Cove Outdoor Science (ECOS) Institute, a private, California-based outdoor education program for fifth and sixth-graders serving Orange County.


Be Part of the STEM Solution

By Pam Johnson
July 2, 2015

AS THE FIRST WOMAN GEOLOGIST to become a university president in North America, Dr. Lisa Rossbacher is a role model for women in STEM fields (science, engineering, technology and math) and also for young women and girls who will be making decisions about their career options. After receiving her Ph.D. in geological and geophysical sciences at Princeton, Lisa worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, a geothermal exploration company, and National Public Radio, in addition to her academic roles as a faculty member and administrator. She now serves as president of Humboldt State University. A leader in a male-dominated field, she has become part of the STEM solution so necessary to our communities.

U.S. women working in science, engineering and tech fields are 45% more likely than their male peers to leave the industry within a year.”


ARE YOU ALREADY PART OF THE STEM SOLUTION, without realizing it? Consider that your current job might be counted as a STEM profession: According to a new study from the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, 20% of all jobs in the U.S require a “high level of knowledge” in at least one STEM field. Many nonprofessional jobs in manufacturing, health care, construction and mining industries could be considered STEM jobs. STEM-related jobs are a major economic driver across the U.S. Yet, research from the Center for Talent Innovation shows U.S. women working in science, engineering and tech fields are 45% more likely than their male peers to leave the industry within a year. Some of the factors that prevent women from leading in these jobs include a sense of isolation, lack of sponsors and women mentors.

Lisa A. Rossbacher has been president of Humboldt State University since July 2014. She was previously the president of Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, GA. She has also worked for the U.S. Geological Survey, NASA, a geothermal exploration company, and National Public Radio, in addition to serving as a faculty member and administrator at Cal Poly Pomona, Whittier College, and Dickinson College. She was the first woman geologist to become a university president in North America.

A Princeton  Ph.D., she writes a column for Earth magazine and has authored books on geology, science, and the media. Her research has focused on the role of water and water ice on the planet Mars. In 1984, she was a finalist in NASA’s astronaut selection process.

She was honored with a Trailblazer Award from Leadership California in April 2015.

HOW CAN WE BE PART OF THE STEM SOLUTION, as demonstrated by women like Lisa Rossbacher? I propose that we look for opportunities to work in STEM fields and become leaders in these professions. Looking back at your own education, if you were like the majority of middle and high school girls, science classes took a back burner to your other academic classes. The pipeline for women leaders in STEM fields begins with young women. Many schools across the country are making a push to improve STEM curricula, asking the question, “How can STEM help improve the environment in our community?” Franklin High School in Los Angeles, for example, won an award for a students’ solution to a real-world problem. The students collected data to measure contamination of the LA River. Then they created catch basin screens to cut down on pollution and developed a public education campaign about their project.

The outcome of [STEM educational] experiences is to spark a love of science and learning that will sustain students through the rigors of science curricula.”


THE CURRENT GENERATION NEEDS TO BE MUCH MORE STEM-savvy, as STEM jobs will increase by 17% in the next decade. NGSS (Next Generation of Science Standards) is a nationwide effort to provide students with a deep understanding of the natural world and humans’ impact upon it. I work with ECOS (Emerald Cove Outdoor Science) Institute, a hands-on science program that uses outdoor education as a natural laboratory. The outcome of such experiences is to spark a love of science and learning that will sustain students through the rigors of science curricula and ensure that they enter the workforce with STEM competence.

SO I CIRCLE BACK TO THE ORIGINAL THOUGHT, “How can you be part of the STEM solution for our country?” Perhaps you would like to consider a position in a STEM-related field, encourage young women to pursue STEM experiences and STEM classes, take a leadership role and then become a mentor to other women in the field. The opportunities are expanding. Be part of the STEM solution.


Pam Johnson is director of educational partnerships at Emerald Cove Outdoor Science (ECOS) Institute. She has over 30 years of experience working in the area of environmental education. She was previously with Inside the Outdoors, a program reaching over 150,000 students, teachers, parents, and community members each year through four programs: Outdoor Science School, Field Trips, Traveling Scientist, and Community Programs. She is currently working with ECOS Institutes’ experiential programs, which enhance lessons from the classroom and provide community programs offering the chance for families to explore and learn together.

Pam leads ECOS in program development, public-private partnerships, project financing, staff management/development and relationships with hundreds of K-12 schools and school districts. She has led development of innovative STEM programs which serve as a model that can be replicated nationwide.

She holds an MS in administrative services from Pepperdine University, a BA in liberal studies from Westmont College, and administrative and multiple subject teaching credentials. She is an alumna of Leadership California, Class of 2014.



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