BOARD OF DIRECTORS
EMILY M. MURASE Phd, Co-Chair
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.
NANCY ROCK, Co-chair
Nancy is a marketing executive specializing in healthcare, business, non-profit and campaign services. She has found her strategic marketing and operational skills to be a tremendous asset for social services where she has counseled clients to create unique and effective programs.
After many years in the marketing communications business, Nancy joined Project Homeless Connect (PHC) where she developed one of the only homeless dental services program offering same day care to thousands of homeless people in need.
She was part of effective boots-on-the ground team to support Ed Lee’s winning mayoral campaign in San Francisco and David Chiu’s California State assembly campaign. She is currently a member of David Chiu’s women’s group that hears from the Assemblyman and offers ideas of future legislation focused on women.
Nancy is a dedicated women’s advocate, domestic violence courtwatch member, and fights for justice for immigrants through Faith in Action.
She is a San Franciscan and lives in the Mission District of the city with her husband, Darin, VP Interactive Creative Direction with Wells Fargo. Nancy is also a painter and illustrator. Her family is completed by Italian Greyhounds Paulie and Tina.
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.
MOLLIE READ, Board Member
Mollie is currently program coordinator at the National Council of Jewish Women in San Francisco where she uses both her strong analytical and communication skills.
After working full time and studying in London, Mollie completed her MBA in Bangkok with a research project comparing workplace gender dynamics across sectors.
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 (DOSW). There she drew on her experiences to promote gender-responsive workplace policies and programs in her work with the Department. While at DOSW she published “Report on the Status of Girls”. She also was part of the team developing ”Gender Equity Challenge Forum”. “Lessons Learnt Quarterly Report” and the “Risk Climate Survey”.
Mollie also participated in the Department's work on legislation and women's human rights and gender-responsive workplace policies and programs.
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.
ABIGAIL ELLIS, Board Member
Abby is a Field Representative at Office of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein here in San Francisco
Her responsibility is to help Californians to work effectively with their government. Prior to this, in Senator Feinstein’s office, Abby assisted Californians in communicating with the Social Security Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Food and Drug Administration and United States Bureau of Prisons.
Abby also worked with “Energy First” as an energy efficiency policy/ industry association intern and as an energy policy intern with the Wilderness Society in Washington DC and as a communication intern with Friends of the River.
A graduate of the University of California, Davis, she received a Bachelor of Arts degree specializing in political science.
Abby, now a board member of the Democratic women in Action, is also a member of “Women Get it Done, the San Francisco Women's Political Committee and the Sierra Club.
She has also been a reading tutor with Reading Partners where she provided one-on-one tutoring to turn struggling readers into successful, confident readers.