March is Women’s History Month! Women’s History Month was enacted to celebrate the contributions women have provided and to recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields. At the San Diego Workforce Partnership, we’re celebrating by highlighting a few of the women who have contributed to the recent advancement of San Diegans specifically.
Baker is currently serving as Vice President and Provost at the University of San Diego (USD). This position places Baker as the university’s chief academic officer and allows her to help develop students’ futures. With a background in journalism and communications, Baker has earned recognition for her work as a teacher, scholar, communications practitioner and writer. She has authored books and articles and is the winner of four Emmy Awards for Excellence in Documentary Writing and Producing.
As the Chancellor of one of nation’s largest community college districts, Carroll is the driver of a regional economic engine that includes San Diego City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, and the San Diego Continuing Education. She has conferred more than 70,000 degrees and certificates during her nearly 17-year tenure. Carroll is the first woman and first African American to lead the region’s largest higher education system.
Clark spent time as a college professor, including teaching at University of Wisconsin and Vanderbilt University, before combining her experience and passion and founding Aci Specialty Benefits. As Chief Executive Officer, Clarks leads the organization in supporting workers and businesses by improving engagement, retention, productivity and performance. Clark is recognized not only as an industry pioneer, but also founding the first-ever female-owned employee assistance program in 1983. As CEO, Clark has overseen 35 years of continued growth as the company has evolved, expanded and adapted its services to meet the dynamic needs of today’s workforce.
DeBerry has been working for years to consult with organizations and implement diversity strategies. She’s worked with many different brands including several Fortune500 companies. Currently she serves as the Chief Executive Officer of the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce (CSDBCC). The CSDBCC’s goal is to support the business, career and financial success of chamber members, which results in the economic empowerment of our communities. DeBarry also spoke on our Race, Equity & Worker Power in San Diego County panel.
Guinn is an experienced litigator with a law practice that spans climate protection, consumer rights and product safety, workers’ rights and human rights, including wins against Big Tobacco. In addition to her law career, Guinn has a long history of philanthropic efforts. She served as the chair of the Environmental and Sustainability Committee for the San Diego Unified School District, as well as a board member for San Diego Zoo Global. Currently Guinn is the Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer with the San Diego Foundation who’s mission is to inspire enduring philanthropy and enable community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region.
Jones is the Director for the San Diego Public Library, overseeing the Central Library and 35 branches. She has a history of library related advocacy and policy, including serving as the president of the California Library Association in 2016. Jones believes libraries are the great equalizer, always inclusive and never exclusive. She is intent on changing perceptions and showing that libraries are a vital part of the educational and economic ecosystem and essential to the success of a community and it members. Jones is committed to making San Diego Public Library the place for opportunity, discovery and inspiration.
Lee has been a community leader, coalition builder and neighborhood advocate for many years. Previously, Lee was elected to the San Diego Unified School District’s Board of Education and also served on San Diego City Human Relations Commission. She cofounded several nonprofit organizations and has served in various leadership positions. Currently Lee is serving as the chair of the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC). The APAC’s mission is to cultivate civic engagement to forward the voices of San Diego’s Asian Pacific American community.
Lezama has a background in technology, turning underperforming companies into high-performance powerhouses. She served as Chief Executive Officer for AbacusNext in 2013, helping to transform it into a global leader. She’s currently a board & management council director at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, helping to provide a voice for San Diego businesses. She’s also the Chief Executive Officer of TOOTRIS, a platform that allows parents to access high-quality child care. TOOTRIS empowers more parents, and women, to return to the workforce with confidence.
McAlister, the Chief Executive Officer and founder of the McAlister Institute, has dedicated her work to helping San Diegans in crisis for almost four decades. The McAlister Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive range of substance abuse treatment, recovery and supportive services for individuals and families impacted by addiction, mental health and other behavioral health issues. They provide services for more than 9,000 men, women, children and youth each year.
Montgomery Steppe has worked to improve the lives of San Diegans in City Hall and through the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties as a criminal justice advocate. Currently representing District 4 on the City Council, Montgomery Steppe has worked to protect and support San Diegans through the COVID-19 pandemic. She’s the Chair of the Committee on Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods and a member of the Committee on Budget and Government Efficiency and the Committee on Active Transportation & Infrastructure. Montgomery Steppe also spoke on our Race, Equity & Worker Power in San Diego County panel and is a part of our Policy Board.