"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.


  • Jennifer Persike
    Jennifer Persike
    Executive Director
  • Jennifer Persike is a respected association management professional, communications strategist and visionary leader who has managed numerous non-profit and community organizations. She has more than 30 years of experience in public policy, organizational and association management, board governance, and communications strategy.

    Persike most recently served as deputy executive director for the Association of California Water Agencies, which represents the largest coalition of public water agencies in the country. She oversaw all aspects of the association's policy development, operations, membership, governance and external affairs. In addition to water, Persike has experience in the energy, agriculture and local government sectors.

    Ms. Persike has worked with legislators and top policy makers at the federal, state and local levels. She also has collaborated with numerous corporations and other non-governmental organizations throughout the state. She has administered a number of statewide non-profit organizations and serves on the board of several non-profit charitable organizations, including the American Red Cross.

    Ms. Persike is a frequent speaker at conferences around the country and is recognized as expert in external affairs and communications strategy. She remains active in many statewide and national professional and water organizations.

    Ms. Persike holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and Political Science from Chico State University. She lives with her husband and daughter in Sacramento.

  • Carmen Berry
    Carmen Berry
    Administrative Director
  • Carmen Berry is an account manager for Leadership California. Carmen has provided years of high-level service to a multitude of nonprofit organizations. Her extensive background in association management brings organization, direction, and strategy to her clients. Carmen previously served as the Director of Membership for a Sacramento AMC and worked to increase clients’ educational offerings, focused on increasing the clients’ returns and profit margins. Thoughtful and thorough, Carmen has become the go-to expert by association leaders and is renowned for her attention to detail and professional work product. Forward-thinking, Carmen keeps a creative eye on future opportunities for growth and rewarding challenges for both clients and herself. Prior to her work in association management, Carmen learned the ins and outs of the California State Legislature as a staff member while earning her Associate degree from American River College. In her spare time, you can find Carmen dancing the polka at the local Sacramento Turn Verein and exploring other countries around the world!

  • Vanessa Henderson
    Vanessa Henderson
    Administrative Assistant
  • Vanessa Henderson is an Account Assistant for Leadership California, she brings a great deal of enthusiasm and passion to her position. She hit the ground running immediately helping handle client member inquiries, event support and communications. She is responsible for maintain membership databases, event registration, event marketing and onsite support. Her past work for Lexus of Sacramento has prepared her to support any team at the highest level of excellence as well as delivery of exceptional customer service skills. Vanessa graduated from California State University, Sacramento where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies with an emphasis in Mass Communications and a minor in Journalism.


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