California Women Lead kicks of 40th Anniversary with Fiona Ma as the new Board of Directors President

California Women Lead announces five new Board Members

  ·  Press Release: California Women Lead   ·  Link to Article

Sacramento, CA (Jan. 21, 2014) – Building on 40 years of history empowering women to be leaders in California, California Women Lead announced that Fiona Ma, former Assembly Speaker Pro Tem and 2014 Candidate for State Board of Equalization will lead its State Board of Directors in 2014.

Joining Fiona are five new board members: Appointments Secretary Mona Pasquil, Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown, State Senator Holly Mitchell, State Senator Mimi Walters, Honorable Jan Perry, former Los Angeles City Council Member and Kimberly Quinones . These new members join a diverse group which represents women from all political parties and levels of government throughout California.

“I’m beyond excited to lead California Women Lead and deeply honored to be doing so at such an important time in the organization’s history.  I am focused on expanding our successful training programs and look forward to helping empower California women on their path to leadership,” Ma said. 

“We are pleased that the number of women holding elected office – and that the social and political landscape in which they serve – has dramatically improved since California Women Lead (formerly CEWAER) was initially founded in 1974,” said Rachel Michelin, Executive Director of California Women Lead, “but we are seeing a trend that is discouraging.  Over the past few elections cycles the number of women running for and getting elected to office has either remained stagnant or decreased. The mission of California Women Lead is to change that trend and empower more women to become politically engaged, regardless of political party,” Michelin said. 

The first female elected to the California State Senate was Rose Ann Vuich in 1977, prior to that only two women served in the State Assembly. While we have seen an increase in female-held offices since the organization’s inception, there is still much work to be done to continue to retain our female leaders and inspire and encourage a new generation of women seeking public office.

"I want California women to ask "Why not me?" when it comes to positions of leadership, especially in public office. In general, women are well represented in local government. But that representation suddenly stops at the state levels. And why has California yet to elect a woman Governor?" asks Ma. 

The new State Board members will be recognized along with women candidates running for state and legislative offices at the California Women Lead Legislative Reception in Sacramento on January 29, 2014 at the Park Ultra Lounge.  For more information or to purchase tickets visit


 About California Women Lead – California Women Lead is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing leadership training, policy discussion forums, and networking opportunities for women holding – or interested in holding – elected or appointed office.  For more information about the California Women Lead, its programs to encourage and train women to be leaders in their community and state or to support California Women Lead financially, please visit