CEDAW Award for Philanthropy
Foundation President &
Vice Chair of the Commission
Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
Born in Costa Rica and raised by Japanese parents who believed strongly in the value of education, Akiko Yamazaki graduated from Stanford University and is fluent in Japanese, Spanish and English. Akiko comfortably fits in diverse cultures that have comprised her life, crediting her mother for shaping her outlook on life and way of living: follow your passions, set no limits, be compassionate and live responsibly.
Akiko and her husband, Jerry Yang, have been active supporters of their alma mater, serving as co-chairs of the $1B Campaign for Undergraduate Education. For the $4B Stanford Challenge, Akiko and Jerry provided the naming gift for the Yang Yamazaki Energy and Environment Building, which set the standard for interdisciplinary problem solving and building resource use (Platinum LEED) at Stanford.
Akiko is the Vice Chair of the Commission of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum and President of its Foundation. The museum’s collection, owned by the City of San Francisco, is one of its most valuable assets, comprised of more than 18,000 objects spanning 6000 years of history. As a trustee of the Foundation since 1997, Akiko has played a major role in the museum’s growth, serving leadership roles in the development of its Strategic Directions Plan, Strategic Long-range Plan, Branding Study, and the museum’s first Business Plan. Ending its last fiscal year with the second highest attendance figure since moving to the Civic Center with nearly 500,000 visitors, the museum’s Education Programs also served more than 6000 school children in the SF Bay Area.
In 2001, Akiko co-founded the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) to support field conservationists around the world working with local communities on innovative solutions to co-exist with endangered species. In the last decade, the organization has grown to support 30 conservationists working in 20 countries. Held for the last several years in San Francisco, the annual WCN Expo weekend is now an event that draws over 1000 people in attendance.
As an avid horsewoman and competitive dressage rider, Akiko inherited her passion for horses from her mother. This equestrian sport is one of the few Olympic disciplines in which men and women compete on equal footing. An active supporter of the US Equestrian Team as a sponsor for Steffen Peters, since 2004 Akiko has been one of the top US riders on multiple horses.
Most recently, Akiko’s horse “Ravel” and Steffen represented the United States in both the Beijing and London Olympics and were the top US horse and rider combination in dressage through Ravel’s 5-year competitive career with Steffen. Akiko serves on the US Equestrian Team Foundation and is also a member of the US Equestrian Federations’ Owner’s Task Force and High Performance Dressage Committee.
Akiko and Jerry have two daughters who have followed their equestrian passions and love of art.
CEDAW Award for Economic Empowerment
Senior Vice President & Manager Community Relations West
Wells Fargo Bank
Brenda oversees the development and implementation of community development and philanthropy strategies and programs supporting economic development for housing, workforce development and small business for Wells Fargo. Wright is an active leader and founding member of many community- based organizations and committees through the San Francisco Bay Area, and she has been active with organizations that champion the rights of women and girls.
Working with the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Oakland Bay Area Chapter, she participated in the Positive Steps mentoring program for teenage girls; was instrumental in supporting the Working Woman’s Scholarship, which is given to a working woman who is continuing her education; and championed the “Sistah’s getting Real About HIV/AIDS” billboard campaign to raise awareness among Afircan American females about the importance of being tested and knowing their status.
Wright was also an early supporter of La Cocina (“the Kitchen,”in Spanish), which is an nonprofit business incubator that helps entreprenuers – most of them, women –make the transition from selling food from their homes or on the streets to formalizing and growing their business and contributing to a vibrant, local economy.
Through Wright’s leadership, Wells Fargo provided a below-market rate load of $500,000 to renovate La Cocina’s facility from a house to a commercial kitchen. As the organization grew, Wells Fargo arranged another $500,000 loan to expand capacity and purchase commercial equipment. The company also has provided $300,000 in financial assistance.
Other organizations that Wright has supported include Gum Moom Women’s Residence and the Asian Women’s Resource Center and the National Association of Women Business Owners, San Francisco Chapter.
Wright serves on the Board of the Women’s Foundation of California, is an Emeritus Board Member and Advisor for the Museum of the African Diaspora, and Governor-appointed member of the California for the Humanities Council.
CEDAW for International Comity
Consulate General of Canada
San Francisco and Silicon Valley
Cassie Doyle has served as Canada’s first woman Consul General in San Francisco since 2011. Having been inspired by the APEC Women and the Economy Summit, Cassie developed the TechWomen Canada program to connect Canadian women entrepreneurs with the Silicon Valley.
A native of Vancouver, Canada, Cassie was raised in a large family with 7 sisters who, at an early age, helped her develop a passion for advancing women’s rights. Cassie began her professional career with the City of Ottawa where she spearheaded numerous community housing projects for women and their families.
Cassie has a distinguished public service career, having served at the executive level of all three orders of government including as Deputy Minister with both the government of Canada and the government of British Columbia. Throughout her career, Cassie has been an advocate of women’s leadership and has developed numerous programs to advance women’s opportunities in the public service.
In 2009 she received the Leadership and Partnership Award from the National Council on Visible Minorities for her efforts in expanding opportunities for visible minority women in public service.
From 2006 to 2010 Cassie served as Canada’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources, after three years as the Associate Deputy Minister of Environment Canada and a member of the Board of Directors for the Atomic Energy Corporation of Canada.
Prior to joining the federal government in 2002, Cassie held senior positions with the British Columbia government including CEO of the BC Assets and Land Corporation, Deputy Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks, and Deputy Minister of Housing, Recreation and Consumer Services.
Cassie served as the Chair of Oxfam Canada, the Chair of the 2010 Community Campaign and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Ottawa United Way. Currently serving on the Board of the United Way Bay Area (UWBA), Cassie is a member of the UWBA Women’s Leadership Council.
Cassie holds a Master’s degree from Carleton University in Ottawa and wrote her thesis on women and housing based on primary research that revealed the dire situation facing women in the housing market.
CEDAW Award for Law
LOUISE RENNE, ESQUIRE
Renne, Sloan, Holtzman & Sakai
Louise Renne is a founding partner of Renne, Sloan, Holtzman & Sakai, representing public agencies and non-profits. She previously served as the first woman San Francisco City Attorney where she pioneered an affirmative litigation program that won significant victories for consumers and taxpayers in San Francisco and California.
Prior to that she served on the Board of Supervisors. Louise has also served as General Counsel for the San Francisco Unified School District and the City of Richmond.
Throughout her career, Louise has been a champion for women. Among other accomplishments, she helped found California Women Lawyers of which she became President; established a child-care program for City employees; and sued the Olympic Club to open its doors to women and persons of color. She also helped to re-build Laguna Honda Hospital.
Today, Louise continues to work with “at-risk” youth as Board Chair of Allies United for Children.
CEDAW for Community Building
Women’s Intercultural Network
Marilyn is the Founder/President/CEO of Women’s Intercultural Network (WIN), a non-governmental organization consultative to the United Nations. Her community organizing is local and global, convening California Women’s Agenda (CAWA), the largest state women’s action network; US Women Connect (USWC) national action network; and WIN’s Calling the Circle initiative in Afghanistan, Japan, Uganda, and beyond. Wherever marginalized women ask for a voice, Marilyn convenes women’s alliances to link them as ‘nodes’ into a ‘web’ of women’s voices for action.
Community organizing is Marilyn’s life work. In Kansas City, MO as a single mom, she raised 3 sons and earned an MPA in Organizational Development while working at the KC Urban League with the first Teen Pregnancy program. She organized a Community Advisory Committee for Planned Parenthood (PPKC) and the first Public Affairs Committee for Planned Parenthood Federation of America, representing PPFA at the First UN Conference on Women in Mexico City in 1975. Today she accompanies delegations to the United Nations Commission on Women and organizes forums at the annual UN CSW.
Marilyn’s social justice work began in the 1960s, linking PPKC to the Urban League, insuring all women had equal access to birth control. As Executive Director of the San Diego World Affairs Council in the 1980s, Marilyn formed the International Women’s Advisory Council to involve women and ethnic communities in foreign policy. That Council became the base for WIN’s incorporation in San Francisco in 1994. The policy mechanisms created out of that body of work have impacted California and the US on other progressive issues: green economics, gay marriage, elimination of poverty and racism, healthy families and CEDAW implementation.
As an architect for implementing the Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) through CAWA and USWC, Marilyn designed the infrastructure for the 12 critical concerns. She created the concept of organizing ‘on the ground and on the internet’ forming WIN, CAWA, and USWC as progressive “networks that organize, not organizations that network.”
As an advocate for women’s voices in public forums, Marilyn created “Calling the Circle,” leading delegations to and from Africa, Asia and the Americas, and took delegations of CAWA social justice activists into rural and tribal regions of California. She continues to invent new organizing paradigms and reaffirms the bold mission to assure all women have a voice in their government and economy every 5 years in concert with the UN CSW’s review and reassessment of the BPFA.
Marilyn is best described as “a persistent and progressive advocate who overcomes obstacles, marching forward with enduring commitment and a passion for social justice.” In 2008, Marilyn worked straight through treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma because it was the election year to “take back America.”
Marilyn has served on the Board of Directors and consulted with the Association of Women in Development (AWID), Japan External Trade Organization, Japan America Society, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, The Africa Summit, Survival Skills, Education and Development, and Global Forum for Women.
CEDAW Award for
TWITTER / ADAM MESSINGER
Chief Technology Officer
One of Twitter’s core values to grow our
business in a way that makes us proud. Twitter supports this value by trying to make our company the mode of a great workplace for women engineers.
Twitter’s Women in Engineering group was created in the summer of 2011 and receives direct support and involvement at the executive level. WomEng works to improve diversity by partnering with organizations who bring more women into the technology industry, while also executing initiatives to maintain an inclusive and respecful culture at Twitter.
In 2012, Twitter partnered with Girls Who Code to help bring technical opportunities and resources to young women. This past summer, Twitter hosted GWC at its San Francisco offfice, including a mentorship program with women employees at Twitter and talks from the executive level.
Twitter has also worked with other organizations such as Hackbright, Technovation and TechWomen to host event and mentor women interested in computer science. This effort extends to working with women in all levels of engineering education, as well from CS4SF, a Computer Science camp for middle school girls, to working with Berkeley’s CS Kickstart and Stanford’s WiCS Mentorship progarm.
To ensure the company has a diverse and respectful working environment, WomEng works with Twitter’s executive level to bring a variety of programs to the company. Some of the initiatives WomEng has done include putting together leadership workshops, focus groups on company culture, and offsites. The group also often hosts both internal and external social events to help foster a welcoming community. Every engineering new hire receives an invitation to a monthly WomEng lunch to help create an inclusive, friendly working environment. Twitter has also brought in numerous inspirational women to talk about their career paths, including Carol Bartz and Roya Mahboob.
Adam is accepting the Corporate Program award on Twitter’s behalf. Adam oversees Twitter’s technical architecture & sets technology strategy. He previously served as Vice President of Application Development, where he led design, mobile and web applications, growth, relevance & advertising teams. Adam serves on the board of Girls Who Code and champions their vision to reach gender parity in computing fields. Twitter is being honored for their participation in the Gender Equality Principals.