One Step At A Time - May 2017


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Rachel Michelin
Executive Director/CEO
California Women Lead


I am sometimes asked why the work of California Women Lead is important and, honestly, I sometimes find myself asking the same question. California Women Lead has been around for over forty years, yes FORTY years (previously as CEWAER) and we are still focused on the fundamental reason we were founded – to increase the number of women in elected and appointed office.


You would have thought, by now – 2017, we would have reached that goal, but here we are, still working to inspire, to recruit, to train women to either run for political office or apply for political appointment. Sometimes it makes me wonder – are we making a difference? Is our work that important? Are we having any impact at all? Should we just admit that we will never really reach parity? And then it happens:


  • A woman gets confirmed by the California State Senate for her appointment to serve in the Brown Administration and she thanks California Women Lead for helping her along the way.
  • A woman who happened to attend a lunch a few years ago to learn about the appointments process from California Women Lead is elected as the first public member to chair the consumer protection board she has been appointed to and thanks California Women Lead.
  • A call comes in from another state wanting to know how they can “be like California” and how to start an organization like California Women Lead for their women leaders.
  • An email comes in from a woman who attended a California Women Lead training and is thrilled to share the news that she was recently appointed to a commission by her city council. She credits California Women Lead.

These are just a few of the reasons why the California Women Lead network and mission is as important today as it was forty years ago. While at times it can become discouraging and it seems like we are taking two steps back instead of three steps forward, I know the work we are doing, together, IS making a difference, even if we do not see immediate results.


Thank you for your interest and support of California Women Lead, and if you are a member, thank you for your support – we would not be successful without you and YOU are making a difference.  If you are not a member, I hope you will consider joining.  It is because of our members – who support us financially, and inspire us mentally – that we continue our good work.  I know one day we will meet our goal – taking one step forward at a time and celebrating all of our success along the way.