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Finding Common Ground


A Message From The Executive Director 

September 2017



Rachel Michelin

Executive Director/CEO
California Women Lead 


Last month, a few California Women Lead Board members and I traveled to Washington D.C.  We met with members of the California Congressional Delegation and shared the work California Women Lead is doing to inspire women in civic engagement.  It was a great trip!  We met with both Republican and Democrat members. 


What struck me the most was that, despite what we may read in the news or on social media, members of the California Delegation are working together on issues that help all Californians.  In fact, while we were there, one of our Democrat friends mentioned how they had just hosted a breakfast in the office of a Republican friend to raise awareness on an issue they are both passionate about.  Why do they do this?  Because they developed a relationship with each other while they served in the State Legislature and realized that real leadership is about finding ways to collaborate on issues where there is common ground.  Our California Congressional friends also shared with us the frustration on the perceived notion that everything is so partisan in D.C. – while conflict may sell newspapers or up social media posts, it is not always the case.  It was refreshing to see that despite issues where there is not agreement, our California leaders are finding others ways to work collaboratively. 


That is what we do at California Women Lead – we foster relationships from varying viewpoints in a nonpartisan atmosphere.  It is not about who is right or wrong, but about finding common ground and ways we can work together for the betterment of all.


Recently, we hosted a lunch in San Diego to talk about issues that might seem rather controversial.  When the lunch ended, the feedback was unanimous – the women who attended appreciated the opportunity to have meaningful dialogue on important, and somewhat uncomfortable, issues where we did not confront each other, but instead shared perspectives, even if they were different.  Women felt the discussions were meaningful, and civil, and left with a better understanding of different perspectives of various issues.


I am proud of the nonpartisan work California Women Lead does.  I am proud of a board of directors, who have different perspectives politically, but put those differences aside to support and promote the mission of California Women Lead. I was proud, when we were in D.C., to be sharing the great work we are doing – we are leading the nation in providing a venue for women to share ideas, develop relationships and use their leadership skills to have conversations, that at times may be uncomfortable, but are necessary if we are to move forward as a state and nation.


I am humbled thinking back to our founders – women from diverse backgrounds, diverse political views from all parts of the state.  These women were passionate that there be an organization to share ideas and develop relationships in an environment that would support them.  I am proud that over forty years later we are still focused on the vision the founders had for this organization.


Thank you for being part of it and I hope to see you at a future California Women Lead event soon!

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