IWF Northern California



Key Tenets

Annual Report (2022)

IWF Global 



IWF Northern California provides unparalleled access to extraordinary women leaders who come together to inspire, support and share all aspects of our lives.


IWF Northern California cultivates a vibrant community of accomplished and diverse women leaders to form and strengthen relationships, fuel intellectual curiosity, and encourage life-long personal development.  

Key Tenets

 Leadership   Inclusion 
As women leaders who are recognized as top achievers in their respective fields and endeavors, we celebrate each other’s success. 
Diversity is our strength and through our membership and curated events, we create an inclusive safe environment where we respect and embrace our differences.  We are a true sisterhood representing collective values and interests. We serve both the IWF member community and the external community where we live and work, with a shared goal of giving back, including advancing the next generation of young women leaders. 
We bring together multi-generations of women leaders and enriching relationships that develop and flourish over time.  
We create an intimate place where we can learn, share stories and experiences without judgment, and find inspiration from each other. 


Meet IWF NorCal's leadership here.


Learn more about our members and IWF NorCal membership here.


International Women's Forum (IWF) Global

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

The International Women’s Forum (IWF) is an invitation-only network of the most accomplished women in the world. IWF connects women leaders across every professional sector in support of each other and the common mission of advancing women’s leadership and championing equality worldwide. Established in New York City in 1974, today IWF is comprised of over 7,500 preeminent women leaders in 33 countries and 74 local Forums. IWF is the only organization of this scale that builds significant relationships between C-level women across countries and careers. IWF members are inventors, entrepreneurs, CEOs, heads of state, academics, scientists, astronauts, Olympic athletes, artists, filmmakers, financiers, philanthropists and more.

Every member of IWF has a demonstrated commitment to its unifying mission: advancing women’s leadership and championing equality worldwide. Together IWF members are shaping a future in which leadership has no gender and the next generation is inspired and equipped to transform the world.

Promoting Leadership 

Each year, IWF invests in making women stronger, smarter and more influential through its Fellows Program, a year-long, intensive leadership development experience. The Fellows Program was launched in 1994 and annually convenes approximately 35 Fellows from around the world for a total of 20 days. The program offers customized leadership training for high-achieving women leaders on their path to the C-suite. 

Honoring Our Role Models

Since 1985, the International Hall of Fame Awards Gala has been the most important annual event for the organization, honoring the women leaders tackling urgent issues facing the world. The awardees are transformative figures whose contributions to society are outsized on a global scale.

Since 1987, the Women Who Make a Difference Awards have celebrated the tremendous accomplishments and contributions that IWF members have made to their communities and the world. The annual awards are presented alongside the International Hall of Fame Award.

Global Conferences

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

IWF Overview Video from on Vimeo and the IWF Brochure.


IWF Northern California History

Historical Documents

Letter to the Editor, October 1977 Working Woman

Women's Forum West 25th Anniversary Booklet

IWF NorCal 40th Anniversary Report (2019)

2020 Annual Report 

2021 Annual Report 

2022 Annual 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).


Contact us at iwfnorcal@gmail.com           4580 Old Ranch Way, Folsom, CA 95630            415-227-9987