Leadership Dialogues: Women of Significance

This program is part of the university’s efforts to engage and support executive-level women on campus and in the San Francisco Bay Area. The office connects female leaders from both the public and private sectors with leaders in our campus community, facilitating opportunities for career development and mentoring, as well as internship and employment opportunities for USF students and alumni.

Spring 2014 Special Guests

mirikitani_janiceJanice Mirikitani Founding President, Glide Foundation
Visionary, Community Activist, Leader, Poet, and Editor

Mirikitani is the Founding President of the Glide Foundation where she in partnership with her husband, Reverend Cecil Williams, have achieved worldwide recognition for their groundbreaking organization which empowers San Francisco’s poor and marginalized communities to make meaningful changes in their lives to break the cycle of poverty and dependence. For over 45 years, they built over 87 comprehensive programs that provide education, recovery support, primary and mental health care, job training, housing and human services. Mirikitani's passion has been to create programs for women and families as they struggle with issues of substance abuse, rape, incest, domestic violence, the AIDS crisis, single parenting, childcare, health/wellness, education, and jobs development. 

Mirikitani is San Francisco’s second Poet Laureate, appointed in 2000. She has authored four books of poetry and is the editor of nine landmark anthologies which provide platforms for writers of color, women, youth and children. Mirikitani has also worked in civil rights causes for various multi ethnic communities, including the struggle for redress for Japanese Americans incarcerated during WWII.

Mirikitani had served as a commissioner on the San Francisco Arts Commission since 1996 and was reappointed by Mayor Newsom in 2004. She is the recipient of over 40 awards and honors, including the Governor and First Lady’s Conference on Women and Families’ “Minerva Award”, San Francisco State University’s “Distinguished Alumnae Award” and recently inducted into their “Alumni Hall of Fame”, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s "Lifetime Achievement Ebbie Award,” the prestigious American Book “Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature,” and the University of California at San Francisco Chancellor’s “Medal of Honor Award".

Mirikitani has received two honorary doctorate degrees, graduated from UCLA, and received a teaching credential from UC Berkeley. She and her family were incarcerated in a Rohwer, Arkansas concentration camp with the mass internment of Japanese Americans during WWII.

Janice Mirikitani is San Francisco’s second Poet Laureate, appointed in 2000.

Fall 2012 Special Guests

Shefali DuggalShefali Razdan Duggal, President Barak Obama's Presidential Partners 
Political Activist

Shefali is a member of President Barack Obama's Presidential Partners, a member of the National Finance Committee (NFC) for President Obama's 2012 reelection campaign, a Co-Chair for Obama Victory Trustees (OVT) and a member of the Northern California Finance Committee for President Barack Obama. Shefali is a member of the Credentials Standing Committee for the 2012 Democratic National Convention and is an At-Large Delegate to the Convention from the State of California. She is also a member of the Democratic National Committee Asian American Leadership Council and the DNC National Steering Committee. Shefali is a member of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman's Council and a member of the Majority Council of Emily's List, an organization dedicated to electing Democratic women to all levels of government. Shefali is a member of Human Rights Watch, California Committee North.

Previously, Shefali was active in Senator Barack Obama's Presidential campaign where she was a Trustee for the DNC South Asian American Leadership Council. There she focused on South Asian and Young Professional outreach, co-hosting a number of fundraising events for both the Senator and his surrogates. She previously worked with Senator Hillary Clinton's Presidential campaign where she was a member of the campaign's Northern California Steering Committee and the Women for Hillary Committee. Shefali was also on the Finance Committee for the Kamala Harris for California Attorney General Campaign and was a member of her Transition Team. In addition, she was Executive Director of Indus Women Leaders, a national South Asian women's organization, and is a graduate of Emerge, a political leadership training program for Democratic women. Shefali was also a Board Member of the Indian American Leadership Initiative, an organization focused on promoting South Asian political participation.

Earlier in her career, Shefali worked as a Political Analyst at Staton Hughes, a political strategy firm, and also worked for the MA Democratic Party, NH Democratic party, and Senators Ted Kennedy and Dianne Feinstein. Shefali was born in India and has lived in Cincinnati, Chicago, New York and Boston. She received an M.A. in Political Communication from New York University and a B.S. in Mass Communication from Miami University of Ohio.

Barbara MarkBarbara Mark, Full Circle Institute 
CEO and Founder

Barbara Mark, Ph.D. is a consulting psychologist, consultant and executive coach. She works with ambitious and high-achieving female executives, and women business owners on career trajectory, professional and personal development and work/life integration. She has been working with women in business for over 25 years across all industries from micro-business to Fortune 100 companies and has supported their success in the constantly changing landscape for female executives. Dr. Mark is a recognized expert on adult development and is a sought-after coach by women who are looking to make appropriate and actionable personal and professional decisions at any stage of their lives and careers. 

Dr. Mark is the immediate past president of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (2007-2011 president). She is the past-president of the International Association of Coaching, one of the two certifying organizations for the coaching profession. During her tenure, Barbara spearheaded the IAC's development of their globally based certification criteria. She also served as president of SFCoaches, the local chapter of the International Coach Federation; the president of Imagery International. Barbara is a current board member of The Friends of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women. She is also the recipient of the "2010 History Maker - Most Power Women of the Bay" Award, the 2011 NAWBO-SFBA Business Woman of the Year Award, and is a frequent keynote speaker.

Hydra Mendoza

Hydra Mendoza, San Francisco Board of Education
Vice President of San Francisco Board of Education, Education Advisor to the Mayor of San Francisco

Hydra Mendoza currently serves as the elected Vice President of the San Francisco Board of Education and the first Filipina elected to office in San Francisco. She is also the Education Adviser to the Mayor's Office and a strong advocate and supporter of public education. In 2006, Hydra successfully won a city-wide bid for a seat on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. She is the chair of the Buildings and Grounds Committee, and a member of the Rules, Policy and Legislation Committee, Select Committee and Ad Hoc Committee on Student Assignment. Prior to that, in 2005, Hydra was appointed by Mayor Gavin Newsom to his Policy Council on Children, Youth and Families; and later as his Education Adviser and Liaison to the San Francisco Unified School District, which is a new senior staff level position in the Newsom administration. 

Hydra has been invited to speak on key educational policies ranging from parent engagement to school governance on panels for State and National organizations and school institutions such as the California Council of Parent Participatory Nursery Schools, Teach for America, San Francisco State University, UC Berkeley - Boalt Hall of Law and Goldman School of Business, Senator John Burton's staff and Hawaii Unified School District. In 2005, she was honored with the Parent of the Year Award from the California Association for Bilingual Education, received the 2008 Public Service Award by the Public Administration Graduate Program at San Francisco State University and was recently added to the list of 100 Most Influential Filipina Women for 2009. 
Adrienne PonAdrienne Pon, Office of Civic Engagement & Immigrant Affairs
Executive Director

Ms. Pon is a native San Franciscan and has spent nearly her entire adult life working to bringing tools, resources and decision-making power to the underserved. She brings seasoned tri-sector experience in public policy, corporate social responsibility, grantmaking, digital equity, nonprofit management, community engagement, and local government. First appointed by former Mayor Gavin Newsom in January 2008 to head the Mayor's Office of Community Investment, she currently serves as Executive Director of the San Francisco Immigrant Rights Commission and the Office of Civic Engagement and Immigrant Affairs (OCEIA), where she oversaw the citywide 2010 Census outreach campaign and has developed several innovative programs. Prior to joining the City, she served as CEO of Zeum, a next generation arts and tech museum; Interim Executive Director of the Asian Law Caucus; and Founding Executive Director of the Community Technology Policy Council. She previously worked in the private sector, mostly as External Affairs director at telecommunications giant Pacific Bell/SBC (now AT&T) developing public policy and funding digital equity initiatives such as Voice Mail for the Homeless, Asian Pacific American Future Communities, and Women & Girls Tech Up! She also served as the Statewide Local Government Liaison to California cities and counties. 

Pon has extensive civic and community service experience, including ten years as President/Commissioner on the SF Civil Service Commission; and as board president of The Women's Foundation, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and the API Women's Leadership Institute. She previously served as Co-Chair of the San Francisco 49ers Community Advisory Panel and as board member on numerous organizations such as the National Broadband Resource Center (formerly Alliance for Public Technology), Leadership California, and Global Education for Women Executive Leaders Advisory Board. Pon has received several local and national awards and recognitions. She is a graduate of Lowell High School, and holds a master's degree in Public Affairs/Public Relations and a bachelor's in community health education. She is a former United Way Loaned Executive and a graduate of the Coro City Focus, Gallup Leadership Institute, Leadership California and Leadership America public affairs programs. 

Monetta White, 1300 on Fillmore

Spring/Summer 2012 Special Guests


Kaye Foster CheekKaye Foster-Cheek, Onyx Pharmaceuticals
Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources

Kaye Foster-Cheek joined Onyx Pharmaceuticals in September 2010 as Senior Vice President, Global Human Resources. Ms. Foster-Cheek is responsible for all aspects of the human resource function at Onyx Pharmaceuticals, including staffing, recruiting, compensation and benefits, performance management, organizational learning and development, organizational structure and design, and employee relations. 

Prior to joining Onyx, Ms. Foster-Cheek was Vice President of Human Resources and Executive Committee Member at Johnson & Johnson where she was responsible for the human resources and talent management functions. Ms. Foster-Cheek began her career at Johnson & Johnson in May, 2003, as Vice President, Human Resources, for the Johnson & Johnson North American Consumer Products Companies. In March, 2004, she was promoted to Vice President, Human Resources, for the Consumer & Personal Care Group, the position she held until assuming her role as Vice President of Human Resources in 2005. Prior to joining Johnson & Johnson, Ms. Foster-Cheek held several senior Human Resources executive positions with Pfizer Inc, and led the integration of both the Warner-Lambert and Pharmacia mergers for multiple countries. Ms. Foster-Cheek earned her undergraduate degree at Baruch College of the City University of New York and received an M.B.A. from Columbia University, Graduate School of Business.  

Lora Lee MartinLora Lee Martin, California Council on Science and Technology
Director of the Sacramento Office & Science Technology Fellows Program

Lora Lee Martin was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2010 for her extensive work at the interface of science and policy. As Director of the Sacramento office of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), Ms. Martin has led the development of the first state level science and technology policy fellowship in the nation; a program that places Ph.D. scientists and engineers in the California state Legislature. Throughout her career she has been involved with projects ranging from smart meter health impacts, signal interruption of contraband cell phones in prisons, climate change, biodiversity, and oceans, to land use, groundwater remediation, and military base conversion. All have involved working at the interface of science and policy. 

At the junction of federal, state and local governments she has numerous successes in impacting legislation and program directions to support important science and technology research agendas. Her efforts have lead to the launching multiyear, multi-institutional research collaborations in areas such as marine technologies and groundwater remediation. She led the conveyance negotiations for transfer of Fort Ord properties from the Department of Defense to CSU, for the creation of CSUMB, and to UC, for the creation of the University of California's Monterey Bay Education, Science, and Technology (MBEST) Center, an inter-disciplinary and multi-institutional center on the shores of the Monterey Bay Research Crescent. Ms. Martin was a funding Board Member (’98) and past Chair 2006-2009) of the Monterey Bay Crescent Ocean Research Consortium (MBCORC) bringing together over 20 institutions of higher education and ocean systems research around Monterey Bay, California. Ms. Martin holds a B.S. in zoology from UC Davis and an M.B.A. from UC Berkeley.  

Christie Smith

Christie Smith, Deloitte Consulting
Principal, West Region Life Sciences Leader

Christie Smith has a track record of breaking boundaries – including her past career as a professional golfer, her leadership in fostering growth of the San Francisco biotech sector, and her experience as one of Deloitte’s most senior diversity partners. Christie has spent the last 24 years consulting, focusing on aligning business strategy with the requirements of organizational structure, talent, leadership development and global workforce planning. She is Deloitte’s West Region Industry and Life Sciences leader, and is responsible for growth of Deloitte’s industry practice. She recently drove the formation of Deloitte’s collaboration with the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) to spur bioscience innovation and convert that innovation into a catalyst for jobs, companies, and better health in California.

In addition to her client work, Christie is Deloitte’s West region Women’s Initiative (WIN) leader and West region Diversity and Inclusion leader.  She is responsible for helping to ensure Deloitte supports and advances its diverse talent and making Deloitte an employer of choice for the best and brightest talent. In this capacity, she is spearheading Deloitte’s relationship and activities with MissRepresentation.org, a call-to-action campaign that seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting media labels in order to realize their potential. Christie has a master of social work from Rutgers, and a Ph.D. in industrial organizational psychology from New York University. She is a former national board member of Out & Equal.

Loretta WalkerLoretta Walker, AT&T California
Vice President, External Affairs-Bay Area

Mrs. Walker has held senior positions in Public Affairs, Human Resources, Competitive Analysis, Quality, Marketing, Regulatory, Cost Studies and Wholesale Sales. As Vice President of External Affairs for AT&T in the Bay Area, Mrs. Walker heads the company’s local government and community affairs initiatives. Managing a team of senior professionals, she is responsible for AT&T policy and philanthropic initiatives in the Bay Area.

Mrs. Walker has a deep commitment to the community. She has served as a board member and/or in a leadership capacity including board chair, for over eleven charitable, civic and cultural organizations. Since relocating to the Bay Area, she has been elected to the Boards of Directors of the United Way of the Bay Area and the Northern California Golf Association. She is also an Honorary Member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women’s Oakland/Bay Area Chapter. Among many community awards, Mrs. Walker was named one of the San Francisco Business Times Most Influential Women in Business in 2011, 2010 and 2009.

Mrs. Walker is a graduate of Boston University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration – Marketing and received her Master of Business Administration in Marketing from Webster University. She also successfully completed Darden’s Executive Program at the University of Virginia