CA Women Lead Announces New Board Members
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Posted by: Megan Sapigao
California Women Lead Welcomes Four New Board Members
Sacramento – At this challenging time, California Women Lead is building an even stronger support network for professional women by expanding our bench of leadership and online resources. To that end, California Women Lead is proud to announce the addition of four brilliant women to the organization’s board of directors: Dr. Diandra “Dee” Bremond, Malia Cohen, Nora Vargas, and Sheng Thao.
The California Women Lead Board works collaboratively to achieve gender parity in government, and support women seeking appointed positions in local and state government and on corporate boards.
“I’m honored and grateful to welcome these esteemed women to the board,” said California Women Lead Board Chair Mona Pasquil, “Women are facing unprecedented economic and familial challenges as a result of COVID-19, and our new board members will be pivotal in our work to help women survive and thrive professionally in this new reality.”
Dr. Diandra Bremond, Ed.D
Dr. Diandra “Dee” Bremond was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown and reappointed by Governor Gavin Newsom to the Cannabis Control Appeals Panel, where she was elected as the Panel Chair. Additionally, Bremond is an adjunct lecturer in the MSW and DSW programs in the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work at the University of Southern California. Bremond served as the founding Board President for Crete Academy, a public charter school in South Los Angeles. Moreover, Bremond served as the Director of Trauma-Informed Youth Development for the Brotherhood Crusade for nearly seven years. Bremond serves on many non-profit director and advisory boards, including the following: Why Can’t We Make A Difference and Equality California Advisory Board.
Bremond is a graduate from Pepperdine University where she earned a Master’s of Public Policy and a Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership. Her dissertation and substantive interests are rooted in public policy, innovation and social work. Bremond is married to her wife, Otesha Mosley-Bremond, and resides in Los Angeles with their two dogs, Princess and Polo.
Malia M. Cohen, a native San Franciscan and a product of the San Francisco Unified public school system, is a rising star and nationally recognized policy maker. She serves as a Member of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE), California’s elected tax commission. Elected to the Board of Equalization in November 2018, she was the first African American woman to serve on the Board and as Chair of the Board in its 141-year history. As the BOE Board Member for District 2, Cohen represents 10 million constituents from as far north as Del Norte County to as far south as Santa Barbara County. Her district is home to the ancient redwoods, the wine industry in Napa County, the innovation capital of the world in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley, and the beautiful and breathtaking Pacific Coast. Prior to being elected to the Board of Equalization, Cohen served as President of the City and County of San Francisco Board of Supervisors. She was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Fisk University, a historically Black university in Nashville, Tennessee, and a Masters in Science in Public Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She and her husband, attorney Warren A. Pulley, reside in San Francisco.
Nora Vargas was raised in the South Bay of San Diego County, and has been active in her community for almost 30 years in capacities at the local level as well as in the California State Legislature. As the vice president of community and government relations at Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, Vargas passionately championed expanded healthcare for women and families. She has also advocated on important issues such as civic engagement, consumer protection, and equity in education. Vargas served as an appointee to the California State Teachers' Retirement (CalSTRS) board – the first Latina to do so. She currently proudly serves as board president of the Southwestern Community College District Board, advisory board member for Hispañas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE), and emeritus director for Run Women Run. She is passionate about equitable representation and mentoring young women leaders. Ms. Vargas is a resident of San Diego County, and current candidate running for San Diego County Supervisor District 1.
Sheng Thao was elected in November 2018 to the Oakland City Council, representing District 4. She is the first Hmong American woman to be elected to City Council in the State of California. Thao is the daughter of Hmong refugee parents from Laos. She was born and raised in Stockton, and is the 7th of 10 children. As a domestic violence survivor and as a single mother, Thao put herself through college while working and raising her son. Thao graduated as Valedictorian from Merritt College and transferred to U.C. Berkeley, where she earned her degree in Legal Studies. During her time at U.C. Berkeley, she helped establish the Bear Pantry, a food access program for students with families who could not afford to buy healthy food. In her first year in office Thao fought for more resources for Oakland’s unhoused community, won funding for marginalized and underrepresented youth, helped add transparency to the budget process, fought for wildfire prevention policies, including undergrounding utilities in high fire severity risk zones, and ensuring the city prioritizes wildfire prevention. She also helped pass policies to incentivize immediate increase in housing options in Oakland, created equity programs and incentives for the changing cannabis industry, and much more. Thao lives in Oakland’s Laurel District and enjoys spending time with her 13-year-old son, Benedict, who is an avid cellist. They enjoy biking through Joaquin Miller Park, a world-famous park in her district, and camping in the Stanislaus and El Dorado forests with her family.
As California’s largest nonpartisan association of women leaders, California Women Lead provides a positive environment for women involved in public policy to discuss issues and develop relationships across party lines. Learn more at www.cawomenlead.org