"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.

2019 Issues & Trends Program Packet - pdf
2019 Initial CIT Candidate Recruitment Form - pdf

Online Application


President's Message
- Dr. Margie Wheeler

2018 was quite a year as we celebrated accomplished leaders at our annual Legacy of Leadership Awards event in April, hosted two alumnae events with speaker Betsy Berkhemer-Credaire, and graduated one of the most diverse classes in the history of Leadership California through our California Issues & Trends program...Continue Reading

2018 California Issues & Trends is a Wrap!

The Innovation & Science Panel was moderated by Katherine Kantardjieff, Ph.D., Dean, College of Science and Mathematics, CSU San Marcos (left). The Panelists included from left: Monique Rodriguez (’16) Senior Director, Government Affairs, Qualcomm; Ida Khodami, Associate Director, Global Business Operations, Illumina and Cody Hooven, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of San Diego


(CIT) program wrapped in San Diego on November 9. The session was punctuated by the official graduation of the Class of 2018. 

From beginning to end, Session IV embodied its theme, “A Thriving California Through Inspiration & Innovation.” The program kicked-off with an all inspiring panel of women military veterans, moderated by Leadership California Board Member Mary King, vice president of human resources for Pacific Gas & Electric. Panelists shared the unique challenges facing women in the military and the lessons they learned for success. Cassandra Pye, president 3.14 Communications presented on “Conscious Leadership & Innovation” during an evening keynote. Pye said, “Unconscious bias can thwart an organization’s success, including stalling innovation.”

Cassandra Pye, president, 3.14 Communications

Day Two was all about innovation. Erik Caldwell with the City of San Diego talked about San Diego’s emergence over the past 20 years as a major innovation hub. A panel discussion focusing on innovative companies in San Diego was facilitated by Professor Katherine Kantardjieff, Dean, College of Science and Mathematics with CSU, San Marcos. The group heard from Monique Rodriquez, Qualcomm and alumna of Leadership California, Ida Khodami with Illumina and Cody Hooven, City of San Diego. Chevron Corporation sponsored the innovation panel.

The Class completed its CIT Leadership Journey map and action plan to integrate all they had learned through the CIT experience into future action.
Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp shared her inspiring journey from a sharecropper’s daughter in the South to San Diego Superior Court Judge at the final luncheon with the Class of 2018. Judge Trapp also detailed important lessons learned, including know your own value and shore up your network.

Panel from right: Moderator: Mary King (’14) Vice President, Human Resources, Pacific Gas & Electric Company and panelists: Amanda Lettman COO & Founder, Kardia Ventures; Darnisha Hunter, Senior Community Representative, Active Duty/Veterans Advocate, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer City of San Diego and Billekai Boughton, Founder, San Diego Women
Veteran’s Network

Class Visits World Renown Salk Institute and San Diego Gas & Electric

Class of 2018 Touring Salk Institute for Biology

The Class had the unique opportunity to tour the world renown Salk Institute for Biology. The Institute, founded by Jonas Salk in 1955, is considered one of the top five research centers in the world. Dr. Joanne Chory, one of four Nobel Laurates at the groundbreaking research facility, discussed the work being done through its Harnessing Plants Initiative to deal with the impacts of climate change.

Caroline Winn, COO with San Diego Gas & Electric welcomed the Class of 2018 on its final day to the utility’s Emergency Operations Center, which had been activated due to the Santa Ana winds and “red flag,” conditions. The Class was briefed on all aspects of SDG&E’s top priorities including climate change and its effects, clean energy implementation, and emergency response around fires. SEMPRA / SDG&E sponsored CIT Session IV.

Caroline Winn, COO with San Diego Gas & Electric, welcomed the Class of 2018 to its Emergency Operations Center

2018 CIT Class Officially Graduates

Class of 2018 with Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp

The Class of 2018 officially graduated from the California Issues & Trends Program. At the special dinner to mark the occasion, class members shared their key takeaways from the program.  Many graduates called the 2018 CIT program, “a truly amazing experience!”

As part of the send-off to the Class of 2018 during the final luncheon, Superior Court Judge Randa Trapp shared her inspiring journey at the from a sharecropper’s daughter in the South to San Diego Superior Court Judge.




City of San Diego
Salk Institute for Biological Studies


Christina Bibler (‘17)
Eric Caldwell
Molly Cartmill (’02)
Jennifer Landress
Monique Rodriguez (’16)



Leadership California Goes to Washington DC - September 22-25, 2019

President Wheeler Named Alumna of the Year by So Ca Leadership Network

Leadership California President Dr. Margie Wheeler on Nov. 29 was named the Alumna of the Year by the Southern California Leadership Network. The honor was part of the annual  “Visionaries Award Event,” which celebrates the region’s most influential leaders whose work has made, and continues to make,  a lasting impact on the well-being of the region, state and nation. The event was held in Los Angeles. Dr. Wheeler also serves the Executive Strategist for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

2018 Class of CIT Support Operation Dress Code - Call to Courage

Members of the 2018 CIT Class descended upon San Diego for its final Session IV of the program armed with donations for “Operation Dress Code.” The non-profit organization based in San Diego, collects lightly used professional wear to assist military women are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Services or are transitioning back into the workforce. www.operationdresscode.com

Class of 2018 with Proving Donations for "Operation Dress Code"

Amazon Smile - Leadership California

Please add Leadership California to your AmazonSmile account. AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as www.amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice (in this case LEADERSHIP CALIFORNIA).
So…please sign-up and start shopping!

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