BOARD OF DIRECTORS
AMELIA WIEDERAENDERS, Co-chair
Amelia Wiederaenders came to the San Francisco in August 2013 and has been involved in many campaigns in the Bay Area. Originally from Kansas City she graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelors of art in political science and international studies. Currently she is pursuing a masters in Public Administration at the University of San Francisco. She enjoys reading and spending time with her friends when she's not involved with something political.
MOLLIE READ, Co-chair
Mollie moved to San Francisco from her home in the Washington, D.C. area in 2017 to take a position as a Policy Fellow with the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women. After working in investment banking in London, she completed her MBA in Bangkok with a research project comparing workplace gender issues across sectors. She now draws upon these experiences to promote gender-responsive workplace policies and programs in her work with the Department. In addition to working to advance women in the workplace, she seeks to promote women’s interests in the political arena as a board member of San Francisco Democratic Women in Action. Mollie received her MBA in International Business Practice from St. Mary’s University, Twickenham and her BA in Religious Studies from Grinnell College.
LU AXTELL, Events Chair
Lucretia Axtell comes to the SFDWIA Board from a career in public school teaching in the Central Valley of California and the Bay Area. Her background includes 20 years of teaching Language Arts in Secondary Schools (high school and middle school) and 18 years in Upper Elementary grades. As a teacher and in her retirement since 2007, she has advocated for teachers’ rights and has served in various leadership positions.
As a classroom teacher, Lucretia was a tireless fighter in battles on behalf of public education. She lobbied legislators in Sacramento for equalization of public school funding and served as School Site Representative for the Pacifica Education Association. During her teaching career, Lucretia served on various district curriculum committees, including the Mathematics Committee, which included developing and conducting teacher in-service educational experiences based on the new standards, the Report Card Committee, which designed a district-wide standards based assessment report, and the Language Arts Committee, which was charged with assisting teachers implement new curriculum standards.
Her leadership positions in community organizations have prepared her for her current role on the SFDWIA Board. She served as the Vice-President for the San Francisco branch of the American Association of University Women; she is the President of an honorary organization for women educators, (Alpha Delta Kappa-Beta Rho Chapter). She is also a member of the California Retired Teachers Association. Most recently, she was active in the Hillary Clinton for President Campaign.
Lucretia has been married to her husband Larry for 40 years. They have two grown sons, Matthew and Michael, and, in June 2011, they became first-time grandparents to Samuel Axtell.
JANE BERNARD-POWERS, Treasurer
Dr. Jane Bernard-Powers is a founding member of SFDWIA, and was instrumental in the origin and development of the organization where she served first as Vice-President and then as President. And in September after successfully building the Democratic Women in Action and establishing the club in the community, Jane turned the reigns over.
Jane has now assumed the role of Treasurer and continues to her work on the board.
Her long career of community organizing and activism started in 1964 with her first political campaign in Michigan’s 16th Congressional District, a seat held by John Dingell for decades. In San Francisco, Dr. Bernard-Powers was appointed to the Restoration Advisory Board for the Presidio to provide public input in the cleanup of the former military base and served on the board of the Democratic Women's Forum. She has campaigned for local, state, and national candidates--most recently Hillary Clinton and then Barack Obama in the 2008 election.
As Professor Emerita in Education at San Francisco State University, Dr. Bernard-Powers served on the faculty of Elementary Education for 20 years, including as Department Chair. During her tenure, she provided leadership in variety of fora related to gender, teacher education, and curricula. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University in Curriculum and Teacher Education, with a minor in Women's Studies and a specialization in Social Studies Education. Also published as a book, her dissertation The Girl Question in Education, Vocational Education for Young Women in the Progressive Era explored gender norms and structures in the history of vocational education.
She has held various leadership positions in the National Council for the Social Studies. In 1985, she was appointed to represent the National Council at the NGO Forum of the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Women convened in Nairobi, Kenya where she participated in a diverse array of panels and programs on women in global contexts. Inspired by the historic gathering of global women leaders, she became a Founding Member of the Special Interest Group on Gender and the Chair of the Standing Committee on Gender and Social Justice at the National Council for the Social Studies, lobbying for change and equity in programs and practices related to women's history. She has served as President of the Social Science Education Consortium and just recently stepped down from the board of directors after four years of leadership.
Based on her participation in the 3rd UN World Conference on Women, held in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr. Bernard-Powers serves on the Steering Committee for the 5th World Conference on Women (5WCW) proposed for San Francisco in July 2015.
VICE CHAIRS AND DIRECTORS
AMY HITTNER, Director
Amy Hittner, Ph.D. is an Emerita faculty member at San Francisco State University, former chair in the Department of Counseling, and Associate Dean in the College of Health and Human Services.
During her 40+ years in public education, Dr. Hittner has been a teacher and high school counselor to inner city children and youth, and a professor, educating hundreds of pre-professional counselors at San Francisco State University. She was Principal Investigator and Director of two multi-million dollar federally funded grants. As part of the Safe Start federal grant, Dr. Hittner developed a consortium of 8 local community colleges to train pre-school teachers in violence prevention and intervention techniques. For the HealthPath grant, Dr. Hittner partnered with staff at the San Francisco Unified School District, the City College of San Francisco and the University of California at San Francisco Schools of Dentistry and Medicine to create programs to encourage disadvantaged high school and college students to pursue careers in the health professions.
Presently she is also a member of two other boards of directors including the Older Women’s League, a public non-profit organization with focus on critical issues facing midlife and older women, and Legacy Film Festival on Aging, an organization with a focus on independent and entertaining films that portray the variety of later life experiences. Dr. Hittner is also a Emerita Marriage and Family Therapist.
KATHRYN JOHNSON, Vice Chair, Policy and Political Action Committee
Along with Renee Golanty-Koel and Jane Bernard-Powers, Kathryn Johnson is one of the founding members of the SF Democratic Women in Action. Kathryn is Special Assistant to the Dean of the College of Liberal and Creative Arts at San Francisco State University and responsible for designing and implementing “The Praxis Project,” an internship program and curriculum for students in the Departments of International Relations, Political Science, and Philosophy. Ms. Johnson previously served as the Coordinator for Special Projects at the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Senior Policy Analyst at the Marian Wright Edelman Institute, and Director of the Office of Community Service Learning at the San Francisco Urban Institute where she initiated the Stay in School Family Resource Center for CalWorks single parents enrolled at San Francisco State University.
Ms. Johnson has more than 25 years of experience in educational reform at such institutions as the University of California Berkeley, the University of California, Davis, the UC Office of the President, and the Wright Institute for Research and Social Action in Berkeley. Her career has centered around creating interdisciplinary university-based programs to make undergraduate education relevant to the lives of students, to promoting gender and multi-cultural equity in higher education, and to making the university responsible to the community of which it is a part. Her contributions have been recognized by State Senator Leland Yee (2010 Certificate of Recognition) and the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women (2011 Resolution). Ms. Johnson serves on the Steering Committee of the 5th World Conference on Women (5WCW) proposed for San Francisco in July 2015.
She holds a bachelors degree, cum laude with special honors in Sociology from Barnard College, a master’s degree in Sociology from UC Berkeley, a master’s degree in Public Health from UC Berkeley, and advanced doctoral work in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ms. Johnson is currently working on a book project, “Making Gender Trouble-Translating Theory into Practice: Telling the Stories of Former Activists in the SF/Bay Area Autonomous Women’s Movement: 1967-’75.” A biographic statement about Ms. Johnson appears in Barbara J. Howe’s 2006 book Feminists Who Changed America:1963-1975.
EMILY M. MURASE Phd, Secretary
Dr. Emily Murase has served as Executive Director of the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women since 2004, where she has pioneered internationally acclaimed strategies for implementing women’s human rights at the local level. In 2013, she received the Outstanding Advocate for Women’s Rights Award by the National Council of Jewish Women San Francisco Chapter. She is a member of the Leadership San Francisco Class of 2008 and the Leadership California Class of 2009.
Active in her children’s education and related parent communities, Dr. Murase was elected to the San Francisco Board of Education which oversees the education of 57,000 public school students in 2010. During her second term, she was elected President and the school district embarked on a comprehensive strategic planning initiative called Vision 2025 with the goal of graduating students with a 21st century education.
Dr. Murase holds an AB from Bryn Mawr College, a master's from the Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies at UC San Diego, and a PhD in communication from Stanford. Emily resides in San Francisco with her husband Neal Taniguchi and their two daughters, Chief Negotiator Junko Taniguchi, and Chief Curiosity Officer Izumi Murase, of the Murase/Taniguchi household.
ROBERTA GUISE, Communications
Roberta Guise MBA, an award-winning marketer and video producer, shepherds successful women through her exclusive process to accelerate and secure their thought leadership in their field of expertise.
Her thought-leading clients have included women authors in such diverse fields as blast engineering, medicine, chemical engineering, nutrition and psychology. She’s the founder and leader of the first Thought Leadership Symposium for Women, an event that walks women through the process of becoming an influential, in-demand authority.
Roberta also advises small business owners, independent professionals and non-profits on how to build a profitable stable of customers, create effective promotions, and get known through branding, precision marketing and public relations.
Roberta also founded FemResources, a tax-exempt nonprofit whose mission is to advance women's careers in technology and engineering and move the needle towards gender equality in the tech workforce. The organization’s primary goal is to tackle tech job readiness head-on through apprenticeships and real-world IT projects to cohorts of talented tech women from nontraditional backgrounds, and provide a broad range of soft skills to help accelerate women through their tech careers.
She’s a delegate representing San Francisco and speaker at the UN Commission on the Status of Women annual meeting.
Her thinking and opinions have been published in such publications as the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, La Prensa San Diego and San Francisco Examiner, and in a mix of professional and trade publications.
In her spare time you’ll find her swimming in the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay or out birding in nature.