"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.

May 2017

Meet these amazing leaders from our California Issues & Trends Class of 2017! More to come...

INTRODUCING a few more 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.



Theresa Barrera
Chief Financial Officer
Los Angeles County Fire Department

Theresa has over 28 years of budget, fiscal and internal control experience with the county of Los Angeles, holding positions of increasing responsibility with the Auditor-Controller, the Department of Public Social Services and the Fire Department. She is currently responsible for managing the Fire Department’s over $1 billion operating budget and the budget for seven special funds, and oversees 68 professional and technical staff members.

Theresa holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from USC.




Amber Blakeslee
Budget Director
Humboldt State University 

Amber is passionate about higher education and has worked at Humboldt’s beautiful campus, nestled in the redwoods, for eight and a half years. She is responsible for planning, developing, and managing the University’s $130 million annual operating budget and oversees an additional $70 million in annual budgets for the University’s self-support entities and auxiliary organizations. Amber provided leadership and support in building out the University's strategic budgeting framework and is currently leading campus reserve planning and policy development efforts.

Prior to her work in higher education, Amber worked for Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, where she provided budget and reporting support for the California Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women, led by then First Lady of California Maria Shriver.



Shauna Buckner
Director, Employee Experience
Symantec Corporation 

Shauna has played a key leadership role in transforming communications and building a high-performing culture at Symantec, guiding employees through highly visible and complex mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, C-level executive transitions, and downsizing and transformation initiatives. She speaks at industry conferences on topics of the employee journey and experience to address times of major transition and transformation.

Shauna holds an M.B.A. and a B.S. in marketing from Portland State University. She has received a number of awards from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.


Sabina Clorfeine
Assistant General Counsel – Regulatory

Southern California Gas Company

Sabina manages a team of seven regulatory attorneys and several staff. She joined Sempra Energy in 2007 as Senior Counsel, where she engaged in complex business litigation and served as the subject matter expert on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), then served as the Managing Attorney for FCPA compliance and litigation. In 2015, she was promoted to Assistant General Counsel of the regulatory law group for Southern California Gas Company, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy.

Sabina has a long history of participating in diversity bar organizations as both a board member and an officer. She is a frequent speaker at diversity bar organization events.


Jessica Darin
Associate Vice President & Chief of Staff
California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo

Jessica oversees daily operations of the President’s Office, which includes University Communications, the office of Student Ombuds Services, and the Office of University Legal Counsel. She serves as President Jeffrey Armstrong’s point of contact with Cal Poly’s Academic Senate, Associated Students, Inc., and other internal and external stakeholders.

Jessica previously served for three years as Deputy Chief of Staff for CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. Prior to that, she worked for seven years in the Chancellor’s Office at UC Riverside. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from UC Riverside and a master’s degree in management from the University of Redlands.



Jill Fukunaga
Head of Legal Operations
Veritas Technologies LLC 

Jill oversees day-to-day operations of a 70+ member legal team, leading efforts to increase efficiencies, reduce spend, and improve effectiveness of the department. Prior to her current position, she worked in legal operations at Symantec Corporation. Prior to her corporate roles, Jill served as a Court of Appeals clerk and worked as an employment law and KM attorney at several different firms. She then became an academic law librarian and instructor at UCLA and the University of San Francisco.

Born and raised in Hawaii, Jill received a B.A. in journalism and a law degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She holds a master’s in library and information science from the University of South Florida.



Amy Gryshuk, Ph.D.
Program Development

Physical Life Sciences
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL)

Amy develops and implements action plans and partnering strategies for multidisciplinary research collaborations and agreements between LLNL investigators and external partners, including government, academia, industry, and entrepreneurial organizations. She fosters collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Cancer Institute and is serving as a co-manager for three research pilots that are focused on extreme-scale computing in cancer applications.   

Prior to joining LLNL, Amy served as the director of new ventures at the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Biophotonics Science & Technology at UC Davis.

Amy holds a Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology from the State University of New York at Buffalo – Roswell Park Cancer Institute. She conducted her postdoctoral research at UC Davis and LLNL.



Laura Hollender
Attorney/Executive Policy Advisor
California Department of Water Resources

Laura advises department managers and executives on regulatory issues, regional planning for public infrastructure, and flood management planning in the Central Valley. Prior to coming to the Department, Laura was an associate attorney with Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson PLC, and served as city attorney to the City of Plymouth and assistant city attorney to the City of Winters. She also served as counsel to several local planning commissions, and advised numerous local agencies on public law topics. Before joining Meyers Nave, Laura served as a law clerk at East Bay Municipal Utility District.

Laura received her law degree and a master’s in environmental law from Vermont Law School, also a bachelor’s in environmental studies from Bates College.



Amreen Husain, M.D.
Group Medical Director
Genentech, Inc. 

Amreen is a global development team leader in late-stage oncology drug development. She is committed to advancing improvements in cancer care for women in her work in drug development and global health, and has worked on numerous international health outreach projects.

Amreen received a B.A. in philosophy at Bryn Mawr and her M.D. at New York Medical College. She trained in obstetrics and gynecology at New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center, and completed a gynecologic oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She was an assistant/associate professor at Stanford’s department of obstetrics and gynecology, gynecologic oncology division, and served as associate division chief. She is currently a clinical adjunct faculty member at Stanford University Hospital.



Amanda Lewis
Finance Manager, Richmond Refinery
Chevron Corporation 

Amanda oversees a team responsible for the Refinery’s financial reporting, business planning, performance analysis and compliance. In prior roles, she was strategy and planning manager for Chevron’s business and real estate services organization, and was a senior treasury analyst in Chevron’s corporate finance group. Amanda joined Chevron eight years ago on the finance M.B.A. development program, and has held positions including corporate comptroller, upstream strategy and corporate M&A. Prior to Chevron, Amanda worked for the International Finance Corporation and Goldman Sachs.

Amanda graduated summa cum laude from Rice University with a bachelor’s degree in economics and managerial studies. She also holds an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School with a focus on finance and management.



Winnie Lieu
Biofuels Commercialization Project Manager
Chevron Corporation

Winnie’s key strengths are building strong relationships and being a change agent in her industry. She is responsible for directing biofuels commercialization projects and leads teams on renewable feedstock strategy and new technology scale-up. Prior to this role, her diverse career has included business planning, organization capability development, environmental advocacy, refinery operations optimization, supply chain, competitive intelligence, and venture capital investment analysis.

Winnie is passionate about STEM and actively volunteers with organizations to inspire and encourage girls to pursue STEM careers.

Winnie earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering at the University of Alberta, Canada, and her M.B.A. from Cornell University.



Heidi Marshall
Executive Director, Workforce Development Board; Executive Director, Housing Authority; Assistant Director, EDA; Commissioner of Foreign Trade
County of Riverside/Economic Development Agency

Heidi is a seasoned public administrator who has over twenty years of experience in non-profit and public sector management. In addition to her designated roles leading and managing economic development, housing, and workforce development for the County of Riverside, Heidi is responsible for communications and marketing, the office of film and television, the office of foreign trade, and energy divisions.

She spearheaded efforts to produce over 5,000 units of affordable housing, reduce veterans’ homelessness by over 60% in one year, and achieved high performance marks for a period of thirteen years in a large scale Section 8 program. Heidi holds a B.A. in political science and a M.S. in public administration.



Sheila Mohan
Principal Deputy Legislative Counsel
Office of Legislative Counsel
State of California

Sheila supervises a branch of the Office of Legislative Counsel that handles laws relating to courts, criminal law, estates and trusts, family law, gaming, health and care facilities, health care service plans, health insurance, insurance, juveniles, Medi-Cal, military and veterans, prevailing wage, public health, public social services, vehicles, and workers’ compensation. Previously, Sheila served as deputy legal affairs secretary in the office of Governor Gray Davis. She also worked in the office of administrative law, initially as special counsel to the Governor and then as acting director and chief counsel.

Sheila received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. She earned her undergraduate degree in anthropology and art from UC Riverside, where she graduated magna cum laude. She is a member of the California State Bar.



Elaine Pacheco
Senior Manager, Strategic Projects, Global Corporate Affairs

Herbalife Nutrition

Elaine is responsible for defining and executing a broad scope of strategic projects as part of the global corporate affairs team. She works closely with senior executives, external stakeholders and manages cross-functional teams in support of corporate positioning, policy and thought leadership.

Prior to joining Herbalife Nutrition, Elaine oversaw strategic communications planning, materials and implementation for various campaigns for more than 8,000 employees as part of The Walt Disney Company’s television division. She has worked in various communication roles within the entertainment and hospitality industries, on communications and public relations plans supporting film, music, product launches, and multi-million dollar partnerships. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from CSU Northridge.



Shehry Rahman
Director, Finance
Genentech, Inc. 

Shehry is a finance professional who has spent more than ten years at Genentech, Inc. focusing on various areas of finance including commercial, business development, and medical affairs. She has mostly been based out of the San Francisco Bay Area but recently returned from a yearlong global assignment in Switzerland.

Prior to Genentech, Shehry was a vice president at Goldman, Sachs, and spent close to 10 years in investment banking in New York. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from MIT and is a native of New York City.



Kate Rowbotham
National Sales Director – Rheumatology
Genentech, Inc.

Kate leads a team of 270 individuals across the U.S., who generate over $1.5 billion in revenue for the organization. She has served in various roles in sales and marketing across rheumatology, immunology and oncology. Kate began her career at Genentech as an M.B.A. intern, then joined Genentech full-time in 2005 as a clinical specialist in Washington, D.C. She moved into various marketing roles in the rheumatology franchise, before joining in the biooncology business unit. There she served as the director of marketing for the melanoma franchise before returning to rheumatology in her current capacity. Prior to Genentech, Kate worked at Biogen and at Navigant Consulting.

Kate holds a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering from Tufts University and a M.B.A. from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business.



Kimberly Shiner
Associate Vice President, University Development
California State University, San Bernardino

Kimberly has served as a fundraising, public relations, and community outreach professional for nearly two decades. Inspired by her late great uncle, Los Angeles Councilman Gilbert Lindsay, and grandmother, Ozie B. Gonzaque, Commissioner and former chair of HACLA, Kim remains passionate about community, volunteerism and mentoring.

Kim took part in securing the university's single largest cash gift in its history, to name the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration. Previously, she served as senior director for corporate and foundation relations and chief fundraiser for its college of business and public administration. Prior to CSU San Bernardino, Kim served at USC in various leadership positions, including managing fundraising programs for the Keck School of Medicine and Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. Prior to her fundraising career, Kim worked for public relations firms. She also worked on the first museum of news, the Newseum, in Washington D.C.

Kim received her bachelor's degree in journalism and a master’s in public administration from CSU Northridge.



Lisa Whitaker
Sales Leader

State Farm Insurance

Born and raised in Illinois, Lisa attended Illinois State University, earning a criminal justice degree. She also attended cosmetology school, a decision that helped pave the way for her at State Farm. In her beautician career, she met a client who had a common bond—she had lost her mother to illness. At the age of 18, Lisa had learned the importance of life insurance when she lost her own mother. The client advised her to look into an insurance career at State Farm, and convinced her she was a born agent.

She was able to secure a position with a local agent and worked with him for a year and half. Selected for an agency opportunity in Las Vegas in 2009, she served as a State Farm agent for three years before being asked to move to California to join a leadership team. She’s been in field leadership since then, loves her job and loves working for State Farm.



Beiyao Zheng
Senior Director of Biometrics


Beiyao oversees a team of statistical programmers and biostatisticians who assist with study design and clinical development plans, and conduct statistical analyses of clinical trial data to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of experimental therapies. Analyses are used to support objectives including decision making, publication, and regulatory filings before a therapy can be approved and marketed.

Prior to CytomX, Beiyao worked for more than 15 years in biotech, primarily for Genentech. She also was an assistant professor of biostatistics at Wake Forest University Medical School.

Beiyao has a diverse educational background. She first pursued electrical engineering, then a B.A. degree in English and a graduate program in linguistics at TsingHua University in China. She came to the U.S. to study philosophy and education at the University of Florida, switched to psychometrics, and finally obtained a Ph.D. in statistics.






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