"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.

February 2017

Sneak preview: Meet 10 of our California Issues & Trends Class of 2017! More to come...

INTRODUCING a few of our accomplished, diverse, and knowledgeable women leaders from across the state! You'll meet them all—watch your email to meet each member of our Class of 2017.



Anecita Agustinez
Tribal Policy Advisor
Department of Water Resources (DWR) 

Anecita, a tribal citizen of the Diné (Navajo) Nation, consults and develops tribal engagement strategy on behalf of DWR. She provides policy direction in regional water, groundwater, flood and drought issues; climate change, energy, and ecosystem restoration issues; water bond grant funding; environmental justice and disadvantaged community engagement. She is chair of the State Tribal Liaisons and oversees a State Capitol Native American Day celebration and dinner. She is also a co-executive producer, publicist and media strategist for On Native Ground, a nationally recognized and award-winning media, film and public relations company.

Anecita advances environmental and social justice by mentoring youth, serving as a media strategist for community groups, and assisting tribal governments and communities.



Kameka Brown, Ph.D.
Executive Officer
California Board of Licensed Vocational Nurses and Psychiatric Technicians

With over a decade in healthcare, Kameka is a passionate clinician and community advocate for California’s nearly 200,000 vocational nurses and psychiatric technicians practicing in clinical settings. With enforcement oversight of over 200 academic institutions, Dr. Brown partners with local universities and community colleges on pedagogy and clinical standards. 

She holds a B.S. in exercise physiology with a minor in chemistry, an M.B.A. and a M.S. in nursing, a Ph.D. in research and a post-master's certificate as a family nurse practitioner. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________


Patricia Canessa
Public Affairs Manager, Richmond Refinery

Patricia oversees policy, government and public affairs, manages Chevron’s reputation and directs a team that fosters collaborative relationships with regulatory agencies, the media and local communities. Prior to joining Chevron, Patricia worked with Miami public relations agencies on Hispanic marketing outreach, and as a native of El Salvador, served as a consultant to the Salvadoran Ministry of Economy. She was recruited by Chevron as the public affairs manager for Central America.

Patricia holds a B.S. from the University of Mobile, Alabama and earned a master's in international relations from Troy State University.


Patricia Elliott
Consul & Senior Trade Commissioner
Consulate General of Canada

Patricia is responsible for international business development for Southern California, Arizona and Nevada. Former roles have included: regional director and senior trade commissioner, Canadian Prairies and Northwest Territories regions; deputy director for the Vancouver Regional Office; Global Affairs Canada’s Global Business Leaders Initiative leader during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, BC. 

Patricia studied communications at Université Laval, and served in Canadian federal government departments including Industry Canada, Canadian Heritage, National Defence and Elections Canada/International Affairs. She is fluent in English and French.



Dr. Lori Sickels Friedman
Senior Director, Translational Oncology

Lori joined Genentech due to its commitment to helping patients by drawing on scientific insights, and to continue her focus on targeting key cancer pathways. Her research includes validation of new oncology targets, understanding mechanism of action and mechanism of resistance of compounds, in vitro and in vivo pharmacology, and using preclinical cancer models to predict which patients will benefit from new agents.

Lori earned a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and completed postdoctoral research at Cambridge University UK. She is a member of the AACR Women in Cancer Research, Genentech Women in Science and Engineering core team, was honored with a Healthcare Business Women "Rising Star Award" and is a science editor of Cancer Discovery. She has published 83 peer-reviewed manuscripts and is an inventor on 23 issued patents.



Jillena Hernandez
Chief of Staff, Assemblymember Ken Cooley, Rules Committee Chair
California State Assembly

Jillena has worked on many policy issues for four Assembly speakers and three members over her 17 years of service. Her primary area of expertise is designing constituent outreach programs that foster accessibility to government programs and elected officials and community demographical studies.   

She oversees a policy driven capitol office and a district office performing outreach and constituent services. She is passionate about professionalism and productivity of Assembly staff. She supports maternal health and mental health issues and is a founding board member of the Food Literacy Center.



Linda Milagros Hoos
Chief Diversity Officer/Assistant Vice President, Office of Equity, Inclusion & Compliance
Cal Poly Pomona

Linda is an attorney who oversees investigations, training and programming on discrimination based on a protected category, harassment, retaliation, sexual misconduct, dating and domestic violence, and stalking. She also serves as Title IX coordinator and administrates discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims. Early in her career, Linda trained school administrators, faculty and students on hate crime and harassment issues. She has worked in private practice, at a nonprofit on domestic violence and family law, for the California State Attorney General’s office, and in the Office of Civil Rights for the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Agency.

Linda received a B.A. from Brown University and a J.D. from the Gould School of Law, USC.



Rachel Magnoni
Underwriting Section Manager
State Farm Insurance

Rachel joined State Farm in 2006 as a personal lines fire underwriter in Dupont, WA. She was promoted to team manager in 2010, and relocated to Rohnert Park, CA. In 2013, she assumed her current position of underwriting section manager for the western market area underwriting services function, and moved back to Washington state. 

Rachel received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Washington, earned her Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation in 2010 and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation in 2015.



Lisa Massarweh
Director, Financial Performance & Staffing Operations, Patient Care Services
Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Northern California
Kaiser Permanente

Lisa interfaces with the 21 northern California hospitals in the Kaiser Permanente system, leading and managing financial and staffing projects. She has served in leadership roles at Kaiser facilities across the Bay Area, including chief nursing officer and interim chief nursing officer, and regional director of clinical adult services. She has served as chief nursing officer and as a manager of critical care at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center & Health Centers. She also formerly served as interim director of nursing, Kent State University.

Lisa holds a master’s in nursing from Gannon University. She is currently enrolled in USF’s executive leadership doctor of nursing program. Her passion is to improve care and care delivery with inquiry, critical thinking and life-long learning.



Jan Nishikawa
Contracts Manager
CPS HR Consulting (Cooperative Personnel Services) 

Jan works closely with staff to evaluate clients’ contract requirements and to ensure that policies, procedures, reports and tracking systems are in place for compliance with contract terms. She negotiates contracts with public sector clients and subcontractors and provides audit support for internal and external audit activities.

Previously, Jan worked in contracts and procurement management in aerospace programs at Boeing and Aerojet Rocketdyne, for tech firms HP and Oracle, and in environmental consulting at Foster Wheeler and Shaw Environmental. Jan is a member of the National Contracts Management Association and Bruin Varsity Club. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from UCLA and her M.B.A. from USC.



Kristi Rogers
Vice President, Finance, West Region

Kristi manages finance and accounting for UPS in 25 Western states, including the profit and business plan. She also oversees West Region risk management, real estate and tax compliance, and financial audits. Kristi began her UPS career as a finance specialist, was promoted to finance manager, then worked in U.S. domestic finance and corporate transportation roles. She was promoted to district director of finance for Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico before she was promoted to her current role in 2016.

Kristi holds a M.B.A. and B.B.A. in finance from Western Michigan University. She has served as a trustee on the Utah-Idaho Teamsters Security Fund and Retirees’ Trust. Kristi is currently chair for the West Region Economic Committee.



Alisha Smith
Fruit Ridge Community Collaborative (FRCC)

Alisha manages operations of FRCC, a one-stop center for community members and families. FRCC is a non-profit management organization that supports 22 community non-profit partner tenants that work to address environmental and social determinants of health, youth development and juvenile justice, arts and culture, access to health services, education and employment training. Alisha establishes partnerships with agencies and corporations to develop funding and community support, promotes communication and growth among the tenant organizations, and cultivates FRCC as a community hub. Previously, Alisha was a top recruiter with Select Staffing Agency and also served with Urban Counties of California.

Alisha serves on the advisory board of Oak Park Promise Neighborhood and is a member of Sierra Health Foundation’s Healthy Sacramento Coalition.



Christina Vincent
Program Manager
City of San Diego

Christina is an economic development professional who leads initiatives supporting economic prosperity for local government and business districts. She manages business expansion, attraction and retention, successfully launching an online business portal within the first four months of her tenure with City of San Diego. Previously, Christina served as economic development manager for the city of Carlsbad CA. Before that, she was redevelopment program manager for the city of Fort Collins, CO and was economic development administrator for the city of Thornton CO.

Christina earned her master’s degree in city planning, certificate in community and economic development, and bachelor’s degree in applied arts and sciences from CSU San Diego. She has been honored by California Women’s Leadership Association, ColoradoBiz Magazine and LEAD San Diego.



Jennifer Walker
Director, Pipeline Safety & Compliance
SoCalGas, a Sempra Energy regulated California utility

Initially a student intern at the company, Jennifer now manages 40 employees and oversees pipeline compliance-related investigations, analytics, tracking and risk reduction for SoCalGas and San Diego Gas & Electric. She has directed the SoCalGas Customer Contact Center, where she led a team of 600 employees responsible for customer contact including production, work force balancing, training, data analytics and reporting. She has served SoCalGas as a labor relations advisor, district operations manager and new business project manager.

Jennifer is a conference speaker at professional events that encourage women to pursue careers in STEM. She holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from USC.



Beiyao Zheng
Senior Director of Biometrics

Beiyao oversees statistical programmers and biostatisticians at CytomX, a biotech company dedicated to transforming lives with safe, effective therapies. Her team conducts statistical analyses of clinical trial data to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of experimental therapies, and assists with study design and clinical development planning. Analyses are used to support objectives for decision making, publication, and regulatory filings, such as with the FDA, before a therapy can be approved and marketed. Previously, Beiyao worked at Genentech. She was also formerly an assistant professor of biostatistics at Wake Forest University Medical School.

Beiyao pursued electrical engineering at TsingHua University in China, then a B.A. degree in English and a graduate program in linguistics. She studied philosophy, education and psychometrics at the University of Florida, where she earned a Ph.D. in statistics.






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