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News & Press: Spotlight

CIT 2020 Kicks Off With Session I in Sacramento

Thursday, March 19, 2020   (0 Comments)

By Carol Hunter, President, Leadership California

Leadership California, a non-profit foundation, proudly delivered an outstanding Session I of its California Issues and Trends (CIT) program in Sacramento on March 8, 9 and 10th. With a total of four sessions for 2020 CIT class members, the program is designed to move women "from success to significance."

The Leadership California program provides an exciting agenda of experiences designed to build awareness of California’s issues and trends, opportunities to observe and interact with accomplished women leaders of California and inspiration to act as women leaders on the knowledge gained.

After preparing attendees for the CIT journey of exciting experiences, the women set out to learn more in Sacramento. 

Part of the preparation included a compelling conversation about “the State of the State” with John Wildermuth (reporter/editor of the San Francisco Chronicle) where we gained knowledge of the wide range of issues and the varied points of view of California’s diverse citizens.  A common theme in the discussion was a need to be sensitive to the downstream consequences to other citizens when creating solutions to issues facing Californians.  Better collaboration on solutions is needed to avoid adversely impacting those residents with a lesser voice in the matter.

Another part of our preparation was learning about the Judicial Branch by Judge Bunmi Awoniyi, Sacramento Superior Court.  It was fascinating to hear her leadership journey, along with her personal challenges and victories along the way. We learned the wisdom of trusting the strength of your convictions and remember that failures can provide valuable insights into your path to success. We also learned about going backwards in order to go forwards. Don’t be afraid to try something completely new, even if it means going back and getting new education.

Of the many in-person experiences we engaged in, here are only a few highlights of the 3-day session. The women attending this CIT session enjoyed lunch at the Leland Stanford Mansion where we met with Liliana Ferrar – Consul General Mexico. Coincidentally, that same day, Monday March 9, the women of Mexico were on strike, using symbolic colors of purple and black, to protest violence against women. Liliana spoke on the issues facing women in Mexico.

From there, Leadership California participants headed to UC Davis. We learned from women students in Agriculture at UC Davis about the work they were doing as part of the agriculture related degrees, and we toured the farm, dairy and research facilities. Did you know that coffee research is a big thing? Beer and wine… move over! UC Davis is an amazing place for those that teach and learn.

An impressive panel of UC Davis women leaders explained their roles in higher education: Anita Oberbauer (Associate Dean for Ag Sciences, UC Davis), Beth Broome (Senior Advisor, STEM Strategies, UC Davis), Jennifer Curtis (Dean, College of Engineering, UC Davis), Joanne Regulska (Vice Provost and Associate Chancellor of Global Affairs, UC Davis) and Lauren Lindstrom (Professor and Dean, UC Davis School of Education). Each shared their personal leadership journey and passion for higher education.

At the California State Capitol, while meeting with the following Capitol leaders, we heard not only inspiring journey stories, but also gained insights into current compelling issues facing California citizens.

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (Ca State Senate, 19th District) and Senator Maria Elena Durazo (Cal. State Senate 24th District) hosted a private breakfast with the Leadership California CIT attendees. Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson is the author of Senate Bill 358, the California Fair Pay Act. This landmark legislation establishes the strongest equal pay law in the country. Approximately 43 other states used the California Legislation as a template for their own. As a strong advocate for women and children, there are many other advances Senator Jackson championed for women and children, as well as all residents of California. Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson shared the wise observation that while women often play the chef and waitress at the banquet of life, women deserve a place at the table.

Senator Maria Elena Durazo discussed her time as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee and National Co-Chair of the Barack Obama Presidential Campaign. Her words of wisdom relating to a woman becoming President of the United States focused on the need for women to demand to be taken seriously and be given due time by the media. Several other key Senators and Assembly persons joined the breakfast and spoke to the group. It was a remarkable turn out. We were fortunate to meet with and hear from so many Capitol professionals.

Sue Parker (Chief Clerk of the Assembly- the first woman to be appointed) and Diane Boyer-Vine (Legislative Counsel for The California Legislature) provided a private session on “making the law.” It was very intriguing to hear the inner workings at the Capitol. How it all gets done is just as amazing to learn and we were fortunate to hear this from  Anthony Williams (Legislative Secretary, Office of Gavin Newsom), Myesha Jackson (Policy Director, Office of Speaker Rendon), and Karen Zamarripa (President, Karen Zamarripa Consulting – political, policy strategy, comms, etc.), as well as others.

Homelessness is the 2020 CIT common theme through all four sessions. We had an interactive panel discussion with the following Sacramento experts and action-oriented women leaders: Cindy Cavanaugh (Director of Homeless Initiatives- Sacramento County), Emily Halcon (Homeless Services Manager for the City of Sacramento) and Lisa Culp (Founder and Executive Director of Women’s Empowerment). We discussed the causes and challenges to helping the homeless population. We learned the exciting success stories of Women’s Empowerment, a non-profit which focuses on helping homeless women and their children. 

We look forward to CIT Session II, provided by Leadership California.

Session I sponsors