IWF Northern California is a vibrant community of accomplished and diverse women leaders and part of a global network of 7,000 members across 34 countries. We strive to be agents of change to advance women’s leadership and champion equality worldwide. Through our curated events, we bring together multi-generations of women to learn, share perspectives, and support one another in intimate settings. We are a true sisterhood of extraordinary women whose foundation is built on our core tenets of leadership, friendship, community and inspiration.

Who We Are


Who We Are

Mission & Value Proposition

Key Tenets

IWF Global




IWF Northern California is one of the first two chapters of the International Women's Forum, a global organization of preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement. Our members range from entrepreneurs and corporate executives to artists, humanitarians and political leaders.

Founded in 1982 in the United States, the International Women’s Forum has grown across 5 continents into 26 nations. There are more than 5,000 women leaders participating in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. Together, we are advancing women's leadership across careers, cultures and continents, coming together across provincial and national boundaries to share knowledge and ideas, to enrich each other's lives, to provide a network of support and to promote opportunities for women in leadership.

IWF members are the women who run many of the political, economic, arts and social structures that make the


Bay Area great. Our members serve on the boards of the SF Symphony, Opera and many local theaters; we serve as chairpersons of and donors to the events and activities that make our community one of the best places in the world to live and work. Our members are professors at the best universities, lawyers at the top firms, judges who handle major court cases and accountants who serve the biggest companies. Others are authors and artists, dancers and choreographers, photographers and non-profit leaders. We also have business owners, social entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 executives in our ranks. Our members write books, author critical reports, lead the most important organizations and create and fund innovative start-ups. Others are consultants, advisors and board members of some of the top institutions and organizations around.

When you join IWF Northern California, you not only have the chance to foster your own personal and professional growth, you also have the chance to meet and become friends with some remarkable women.

Membership is by invitation only and is based on an individual's leadership and accomplishment in her field. We seek diverse leaders who are known and who others want to know. Note that membership should not be sought for solicitation (e.g., of business, clients, funds for causes, etc.)


Mission & Value Proposition

Mission Statement:

The International Women's Forum Northern California advances leadership across careers, cultures and communities by connecting preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement for the purpose of idea exchange, inspiration and learning.

Membership Value Proposition:
  • Social interaction with peers on a regional, national and international level
  • Exposure to cross discipline accomplished women leaders
  • Recognition for career accomplishments
  • Education on current national and global economic, political and social issues
  • Ability to attend cultural, and fine art activities with members
How Do We Achieve This?
  • Access to conferences, inter-forum exchanges on a national and international basis
  • Local forum programs tapping members knowledge as well as interaction with local leaders and experts
  • Joint programs with other organizations on matters of common interest such as "Women on Public Corporate Boards"


Key Tenets

Leadership • Friendship • Community • Inspiration
  • We believe the potential for women is unlimited and opportunities should be as well

  • We believe leadership has no gender

  • We believe in equal pay for equal work

  • We believe women inspiring women never gets old

  • We believe women helping women never gets tired

  • We revere the women who blazed trails before us and revel in those who come after

  • We believe our diversity is our strength

  • We celebrate each other’s success

  • We believe successful women can be successful friends

  • We believe in serving our communities


International Women's Forum Global (IWF)

IWF Northern California is one of the founding member forums and the Northern California affiliate of the International Women's Forum (IWF).

The International Women's Forum is a global organization of preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement. Our members range from entrepreneurs and corporate executives to artists, humanitarians and political leaders. We come together across provincial and national boundaries to share knowledge and ideas, to enrich each other's lives, to provide a network of support and to promote opportunities for women in leadership.

IWF Northern California is one of 74 affiliated forums in 34 nations. Together, we are advancing women's leadership across careers, cultures and continents by connecting the world's most preeminent women of significant and diverse achievement.

We have no political agenda. No member need ever feel pressured to take a stand with which she does not agree. Our focus is promoting women in leadership and shaping a transferable legacy for future women leaders.

Promoting Leadership Together

Local chapters provide learning opportunities and camaraderie for women leaders in our own communities. We share ideas and stories informally over dinners in one another's homes. Thanks to the unparalleled connections of our members, we go behind the scenes at leading-edge organizations and cultural institutions.

International events create a global meeting place where we can refresh, resolve and make plans that open doors for women and girls throughout the world. At IWF's international conferences, we meet among our peers in a non-competitive environment where meaningful friendships and alliances can flourish. 

IWF is dedicated to learning-for future as well as present members. Our unique Leadership Foundation helps prepare emerging leaders to realize their potential and promotes a culture of mentorship among women.

Honoring Our Role Models

Each year, IWF recognizes two or three exceptional women by inducting them into our International Hall of Fame.

Past recipients include: Margaret Thatcher, Former Prime Minister of Great Britain; Roberta Bondar, Canadian Astronaut; Maya Angelou, American Writer and Performer; Mary Robinson, Former President of Ireland; Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and former Canadian Supreme Court Justice.

Future Conferences

IWF World Leadership Conference
Seattle, Washington — September 29–October 1, 2021

IWF Cornerstone Conference
Santiago, Chile — May 18-22, 2022

Learn more.

IWF Overview Video from IWF on Vimeo.



Historical Documents

Letter to the Editor, October 1977 Working Woman

Women's Forum West 25th Anniversary Booklet

IWF NorCal 40th Anniversary Report

In the 1970's, it was lonely—for women—on the way to the top. Men had old boy networks and mentors, opulent single-gender clubs and special golf hours, all venues for high-level deal making. Smart, ambitious women had nobody but themselves, and—as they were learning—other smart, ambitious women such as they.

The Women's Forum began in 1974, as the brainchild of Elinor Guggenheimer, a writer and later New York City Commissioner of Community affairs, who wanted to create an "unabashedly select organization" of women who would pool their collective clout. The farsighted, first-year Steering Committee specified that Forum membership should be limited, with special emphasis on pre-eminence and balance. Bring together women of diverse accomplishments in a comfortable, welcoming setting. Create a unique women's forum for the exchange of women's ideas and women's experiences, an environment where competition was checked at the door and friendships bloomed. By women getting to know their counterparts in different corporations and career fields, and by mining their mutual interests and attitudes, their voices could join in concert on issues confronting the total community.

News of the founding of this exciting organization spread across the Country—Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco. In fact, San Francisco had already birthed two groups: Women's Forum West and Professional Women's Alliance. Both organizations recognized that women increasingly wielded power in major segments of our society. Both hoped to pioneer ways in which to use that power not against—but in partnership with—men. Both believed this in turn could be the means of forging new alliances between the private and public realms. At the same time, the women understood that women's networks provided each of them opportunities to polish and enhance her own personal and professional strengths.

Membership was limited to women who had already achieved that level called 'success'. Yet there were so many incredibly supercharged, successful Bay Area women making things happen—in corporate community, in all professions, the arts, education, government and in the non profit sector—that it was stunning. Even more exciting were the stories of so many roads to the top or unusual career paths as women climbed aboard the power network.

San Francisco's two organizations joined forces to become "Women's Forum West, a professional women's alliance" in 1978 and in 1979 joined the New York Forum in what was to become the National Women's Forum, and now the International Women's Forum.

In 2012 Women's Forum West (WFW) became the International Women's Forum of Northern California (IWF-NorCal).



Barbara Adachi
Valerie Corradini
Vice President
Loretta Doon 
Leah Toeniskoetter
Kathy Anderson
Immediate Past President 
Wendy Beecham 
Cathy Benko Moira Dowell 
Candice Eggerss
Membership Committee Chair 

Cindy Eisenberg
Yvette Hollingsworth Clark 
Cynthia Kasabian
Programs Committee Chair 

Heather Pelant 

Mary Jo Potter

Valerie Red-Horse Mohl 


Barbara Adachi

Barbara Adachi is the current President of International Women’s Forum Northern California. Prior to this role, she served as the IWF NorCal Legacy Foundation President from 2016-2018. Barbara is a senior consulting executive who currently serves on corporate and non-profit boards, including VSP Global and the Clayman Institute at Stanford. She retired in 2013 as National Managing Partner for Deloitte’s Human Capital Consulting Practice in the U.S. overseeing the $1B operations, P&L, business strategy, and talent management. She has served on over 10 boards including Deloitte Consulting, TalentGuard, and Girl Scouts of the USA. 

Passionate about women’s leadership and advancement, Barbara served as Deloitte’s national Women’s Initiative leader and was named one of San Francisco Business Times Most Influential Women in Business from 2003-2012, culminating as “Forever Influential” since 2013.


Kathy Anderson

Kathy has had a distinguished career leading technology strategy, development and delivery in the Telecommunications, Banking and Financial Services industries. She served as the CIO of Charles Schwab Bank implementing nationwide lending and checking products. Kathy also served as Senior Vice President at Charles Schwab & Co. leading integrated technology solutions for Schwab broker-dealer functions and customer-facing channels. She leaves a leadership legacy of quality, accountability and integrity to clients, employees and shareholders. Kathy retired in 2014.

Kathy has been a member of the IWF Northern California Board of Directors since 2011. She is devoted to bringing women together to share their knowledge and experience for the benefit of other women. Kathy is also a member of the IWF Northern California Legacy Foundation Board.

Kathy is an advocate for helping adolescent girls. She has been on the GirlVentures Board of Directors since 2008 serving as President (2008–2011) and most recently Vice President of the Internal and Strategic Committees. GirlVentures is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping adolescent girls, from diverse backgrounds, build on their strengths through outdoor and leadership activities.  

Kathy lives in Emerald Hills with her husband, Rich, and puppy, Maggie Mae. Kathy has two children, Stacey and Ben, and three grandchildren—Trevor, Blake and Lauren.

Kathy’s interests and hobbies include golf (beginner), travel, reading, wine, football, baseball, women’s rights, our future generation.

Past Presidents of Our Forum

Many thanks to the amazing group of leaders of our Forum who have given tirelessly of their time and ideas to make us the vibrant group that it is today.

(2016 and 2017) Nanette Lee Miller

(2014 and 2015) Rebecca Barfknecht

(2012 and 2013) Sheryl Barden

(2010 and 2011) Cynthia Eisenberg

(2008 and 2009) Nannette Griswold

(2006 and 2007) Susan Cook Hoganson

(2005) Sylvia Kwan

(2003 and 2004) Sue Sprunk

(2001 and 2002) Barbara Creed

(1999 and 2000) Barbara Rambo

(1997 and 1998) Jeanne Allen

(1995 and 1996) Nina Gruen

(1993 and 1994) Susan Passovoy

(1992) Linda Moriarty

(1990 and 1991) Fran Streets

(1988 and 1989) Susan Shaffer

(1986 and 1987) Michele Hughes

(1984 and 1985) Nancy Stark

(1983) Anne Carol Brown

(1981 and 1982) Susan Bird

(1980) Judith Johnson

(1978 and 1979) Lorraine Legg



Contact us at iwfnorcal@gmail.com           1040 El Camino Real #205, Burlingame, CA 94010            415-227-9987