Women In Politics Symposium

Recently, California Women Lead teamed up with the North Orange County Community College District to host our first “Women in Politics Symposium.” It was a great success! We hosted a day-long event filled with powerful women leaders serving in elected and appointed office. 


The day opened on a high note as Mona Pasquil, Appointments Secretary for Governor Brown, challenged young women to take risks and get involved. She shared her personal leadership journey, how she got to the position she is in today and the importance of mentors and developing a network. She challenged young women to consider public service and to start down their own leadership path.


Following the inspirational opening, we moved to our first panel discussion - Girlfriends’ Guide to California Politics with the dynamic Board of Equalization Member (and 2018 Candidate for State Treasurer) Fiona Ma, Lisa Bartlett, Orange County Supervisor and Jeanette Vazquez, Member, Fullerton School Board. They discussed their path to elected office, obstacles they overcame, the risks they took and why it is important for young women to also take risks. 


Following that discussion we transitioned into talking about the important role women play in appointed office. Alicia Berhow, Chairwoman, State Board of Accountancy; Cyd Brandvein, Chairwoman-elect, State Board of Optometry and April Lopez, Chairwoman, State Council on Developmental Disabilities, shared how they ended up in their current leadership positions, some of the challenges they face in their leadership roles and why it is important for more women to step up and lead in appointed office. They also shared the difference they are making in terms of policy in the public roles they are serving in.


Following our dynamic panel discussions, we were joined by California State Controller Betty Yee. Controller Yee inspired those in the room with her leadership path and the impact women make in the public policy agenda.


Our afternoon focused on women serving in elected office. Jacqueline Rodarte, Trustee, North Orange County Community College District, Sharon Quirk-Silva, Assemblywoman, District 65 and Letitia Clark, Councilwoman, City of Tustin were our inspirational panelists. These woman shared challenges they faced running for office, obstacles they have overcome while serving and why it is important for more women to run for office. The panel was moderated by Barbara Bagneris, Vice Chairwoman, Orange County Fair Board.


Our closing speaker put the entire day into focus and inspired everyone attending to take what they learned and put it into action. Former Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez inspired the audience to reach for their goals and become engaged – whatever the path might be. She challenged everyone to aim higher and put themselves out there – you may never know where you will end up.


A huge thank you to the North Orange County Community College District, Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Marshall and especially Kai Stearns Moore – Kai conceptualized and executed a great event that will inspire the next generation of women leaders!  A special thank you to Kai and her team!