"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.


A CENTRAL VALLEY FARMER’S MARKET, The Vineyard, offers local produce. Its farmers are mostly from the Valley’s east side, where small farms are the norm. Water woes are making it increasingly difficult to make a living for small farmers. Photo: Cary Edmondson


Water a Precious Resource in Nation’s Food Basket
Gil Harootunian Edits Fresno State Drought Impact Study

September, 2015


The drought impact study recommends providing a way for every citizen to know his or her individual water budget and to provide guidance on using that allotment appropriately.


A FRESNO STATE STUDY, Impact of the Drought in the San Joaquin Valley of California, sheds new light on how the California drought has affected the Central Valley, including impacts on agricultural revenue, public health, and farm labor, especially in disadvantaged San Joaquin Valley communities.

Water Facts and Fiction
The comprehensive report provides not only reliable data on water issues and water use in the state’s farming heartland, it also reports residential water use facts and fiction. An executive summary and a full version of the study are available online.

Study Contributors
The study was written by contributors including Fresno State faculty from economics, civil engineering, public health, urban/regional planning, journalism and mass communication, photography, and digital library resources backgrounds. The Wells Fargo Foundation provided funding for the study.

Harootunian, Ph.D.

Untold Story
Regarding water and its dearth in California, and how that relates to the fertile valley that is the state’s agricultural core, “The story of the San Joaquin Valley has largely gone untold,” said Dr. Gil Harootunian (’15), director of University Initiatives and editor of the report. “The San Joaquin Valley has perhaps been included as one chapter within the history of the State of California. This report makes our region a focus of the national conversation on the drought.” Gil was also a contributing writer of the study.

Study Recommendations
The study recommends deep changes, including food for thought for every Californian, as well as a tough agenda for policy experts, legislators and water activists:

  • Change how Californians fundamentally think about water and water use
  • Spark deep political discussions about the future availability of water
  • Rethink current laws and policies on water
  • Establish a comprehensive California water budget as both a smart growth strategy for population increases and a sustainable management strategy
  • Create a broad-based consensus on California’s water future, through good leadership in resolving competing ideas for water use
  • Provide a way for every citizen to know his or her individual water budget and provide guidance on using it appropriately
  • Promote understanding of water sources and watersheds as a system that must be managed properly to provide for future needs
  • Encourage deep understanding of groundwater as a finite resource and the consequences of its overuse  
  • Increase funding in water education and technology to raise awareness and inspire the next generation of water leaders
  • Avoid single uses of water by promoting reclamation, recycling and reuse of gray water and rainwater
  • Explore non-conventional sources of water, including saline and brackish aquifers and water from oil fields that may be reclaimed
  • Recognize the true value of water and price it accordingly

READ MORE about the study HERE


IMPACT OF THE DROUGHT IN THE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY study editor Gillisann Harootunian, Ph.D., is director of University Initiatives at California State University Fresno. She is responsible for seeing through to completion initiatives identified as high priority by the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. In three years, she has brought in more than $6 million in external funding, landing multiple external awards, editing major reports and studies intended for public consumption, and marketing the reports and studies through newspaper, radio, and television interviews.

Gil earned a Ph.D. in English literature (The Novel: Defoe to Joyce) from The Graduate Center of The City University of New York. With the study of writing as her academic passion, she secured Fulbright Sr. Lecturer status to study the role of English language writing at a university in Armenia. The Fulbright work led to three years as the U.S. project director of a Department of State exchange grant between Syracuse University and the Armenian university. That extended international work resulted in her publications that had the most influence in the field of professional and intercultural writing.




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